There are six of us sprawled out in one of TKO’s twelve-passenger installation vans. It’s roughly 11am (seven hours after work started), and we’re cruising towards the retail district in Terre Haute to take care of an important item on the day’s agenda… lunch! A decal installer’s essential lunch. Our destination is hotly debated. It’s tacos vs fried chicken, but I don’t give a bean-stuffed burrito where we’re headed because I’ve got a peanut butter sandwich and leftover chili in my lunch pail. Decaling wears a body down, and lunchtime is all about resting and refueling.

Refueling the Soul

Many hard working professionals rely upon keen observation and unrelenting effort to power their upward ambitions. Pursuing career goals provides new challenges and keeps things fresh, but it can also be a lot like chasing shadows. In protest, we may choose to shift our focus from the destination to the journey… the daily tasks and trials to be encountered and overcome. On the journey, it’s the people we’re with and relationships we develop that matter most. In the working world, we journey with our coworkers. SO, every day, we’re presented with a set of interwoven responsibilities and objectives from which problems arise and solutions are generated. Energy is exerted. We must replenish. Time for some grub!

Those Who Install Vehicle Graphics Together, Eat Together

At TKO, installers work in crews. We ride to job-sites in company vehicles and take our lunch breaks together, but during my first few weeks of training, I chose to eat alone… BIG mistake. Because I’d failed to realize the importance of a shared meal to the TKO installer culture. Don’t misunderstand… it’s not like guys were acting hurt, but I could sense they weren’t sure what to think of me. Likewise, I had no good way of relating to any of them. Installing decals requires focus and rhythm and doesn’t provide many conversational openings. So, even though I usually bring my lunch, I decided to join the daily fast food conquests. Strangely, forty-five minutes of grunting, chewing, and chuckling have a way of building camaraderie and trust, which makes the journey together a little easier.