When I was working at my last job in legal aid, I had wanted to print out the above picture and place it at my desk. I had the intention of working really hard to be the best representative I could be, and work so hard that I would change things. Just like Leslie.
Well, that didn’t happen. For some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to decorate my cubicle with personal things. There were no reminders to be awesome or faces of characters who inspire me or photographs of loved ones. I didn’t even bring my custom-made mug with pictures of my dog. Maybe it’s because I knew deep down inside that this wasn’t the job for me and I would be leaving soon. Maybe it’s because I actually didn’t want to try that hard to make a positive difference. I think it was both, and they were connected.
Leslie Knope tries so damn hard and puts so much effort into her work (she gets like 3 and a half hours of sleep every night!) because she cares a lot about what she does. She loves her hometown of Pawnee, and will do whatever it takes to make it a better place. And she is also completely herself. Her decisions come from a place of integrity and sense of justice, and she’s willing to sacrifice herself in order to do good for the community (like with the recall vote in season 6).
I would love to find my inner Knope. I’m no Gryffindor or bureaucrat, and I’m certainly not as out-going or energetic as Leslie. But I do make a big effort in my work, no matter what it is, and I care about what I do. I want to try to be as passionate and hardworking as her, and hope that I too will make a big positive impact for others. I just have to find my Parks department-equivalent. And maybe a Ben Wyatt-equivalent, but that’s a post for another day.
And as for decorating my workspace? Well, I’ve started to do that at home. Among my to do lists, I have a statement with my intention, “Sharing stories to inspire empathy and kindness,” and I’m planning on adding inspirational quotes, including the Leslie Knope picture. And yes, the mug with my dog is there, too.