I had to go to the DMV last week to register my car.* The clerk who helped me with the paperwork was friendly and efficient. As she reviewed my papers and typed in all kinds of data, my eyes wandered around her desk. I noticed an office newsletter stuffed in a paper sorter with a masthead that read, “DMV Hump Day News.”
Now, I’ve used the phrase “hump day” a time or two in reference to Wednesday, that midway point in the Monday-Friday work week when the start of the weekend feels within reach. But it disheartened me that the DMV would name an official office communication after "hump day."
The implication of “DMV Hump Day News” is an office culture that views work as dreadful and futile. Each Monday, like Sisyphus, employees clock in to push the rock back up the hill. By the midway point in the week — "hump day" — the work eases up as the rock rolls down the hill on its own… until Monday hits again and the cycle restarts.
Working at the DMV probably isn’t thrilling, but even “Hump Day News” glosses over the meaningfulness of their employees' work. Christian theology tells us there is intrinsic value in the work of DMV employees. Few jobs offer workers the opportunity to serve so many Denverites face-to-face. While some DMV transactions can be done by mail or online, much of the work is still done the ol’ fashioned way.
Lastly, DMV workers serve our city. Well all benefit from the license plate system — it allows us to report a stolen vehicle, track down a hit-and-run motorist, and issue Amber Alerts for missing children. And the taxes they collect support the city’s largest operating fund, which provides over 200 programs to Denver residents.
How about using your wait time at the DMV to reflect on the intrinsic value of work? You may leave with more than a newly registered car.
* Free tip: Get there 10 minutes before the branch opens and wait in the line that’s forming outside of the doors. Even counting that time in line, I was in-and-out in less than 20 minutes.