top of page

Just a Sander

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

There is a scene in the 2007 movie, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium starring Dustin Hoffman, where a rigid accountant show’s up at a magical toy store to assess the books of the shop. Standing there, the accountant (played by Jason Bateman) states, “This is just a toy store.” To which a child responds with, “Oh. Your a “just” guy.”

Fast forward. I was touring a sign manufacturer. I had worked in the sign industry as a designer. I was amazed that my designs could be transformed into letters on a building, unique shaped structures, and sometimes beautifully crafted monuments or sorts. Art to part at its best.

As I walked around the large facility where these craftsmen and craftswomen were shaping metal, carving wood and bending neon – the young president of this company shared a story with me that took me back to a lesson from Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.

He told me that the company has weekly meeting with the entire team – office and shop. Around 60 people. They share the goals for the week, report on the previous week’s accomplishments, celebrate anniversaries and recognize new Team members.

This particular weekly meeting, they introduce a new, young team member, Jared. Surprised by the applause and recognition, Jared simply replied, “I’m just a sander.”

“Just a sander.” These words stuck with the president of the company. Bothered him. These words could have easily been overlooked or dismissed. But to the leader of this company, he didn’t want to have anyone on the team who was just a, . . . just guy.

Later that day, he went out to the shop and found Jared, sanding. They went for a walk. Looking around at all the projects in the shop, he shared with Jared the incredible importance his role played in the finished projects. "If these jobs aren’t properly sanded smooth, the paint could easily peel letting water rust the metal or rot the wood. The quality of our product would suffer and our company’s reputation would be tarnished.”

“Jared. You are not just a sander. You are our sander. Working on our projects. Building our reputation and brand,” he told him. “We take pride in our work here. Everyone’s role is vitally important.”

Making it back to Jared’s workstation, they both started sanding.

I was struck on how the president of this company recognized this small opportunity to instill pride and passion, and share the culture of what this manufacturing company possessed. Every step, person, job within the manufacturing process is vital to the company's success — even "just" the sander.

35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page