Probity and Industry

City of Kansas City, Mo. City Hall

One of the best features of the Gee Whiz Factory, our offices in downtown Kansas City, is easy access to the urban culture of a busy, thriving city. Lunchtime walks are more than healthy. They can be emotionally and intellectually inspiring.

A recent stroll took me to City Hall, where I noticed an inscription on the lobby balcony that opened my eyes and my mind for the new year. The inscription reads in part: “The greatness of a city depends . . . upon the probity and industry of its citizens.”

Being a wordsmith, I wondered what those words – probity and industry – truly mean. Merriam-Webster.com reports that probity means “adherence to the highest principles and ideals,” from the Latin word probus, which means honest. Industry means “diligence in an employment or pursuit; systematic labor especially for some useful purpose of the creation of something of value.” Part of the origin includes the Latin word struere, which means to build.

One typically wouldn’t call the offices of a marketing communications firm a factory. Taken in the context of the City Hall inscription, it most certainly is.

At Trozzolo Communications Group, we do not punch time clocks in the classic, factory sense. Instead, we complete timesheets documenting our work. Included is a section labeled “billing comments,” which is designed to be a description of the work we have completed for our clients or the company.

That section is my opportunity to self-evaluate my professional effort. If I am to fulfill Kansas City’s definition of a great city, I must ask myself these questions when I complete my timesheet:

  • Have I adhered to the highest principles and ideals of my work, which is communicating about the goods and services of our clients?
  • Have I been diligent in my employment and my professional pursuit?
  • Has my labor been systematic (which I take to mean effective and efficient), and has it been for a useful purpose on behalf of our client?
  • Have I created something of value?
  • Has my effort been honest?
  • Have I built something?

At the Gee Whiz Factory, we don’t make ladies hats or distribute medical devices, as previous generations of Kansas City laborers did within these walls. But through the discipline of timesheets and the creative inspiration of those who built City Hall, we aspire to sustain their legacy and enlarge their efforts to build a great city.

—   Michael Grimaldi, Senior Communications Consultant

P.S. Like I did at City Hall, perhaps you know a cultural, economic, charitable, educational or civic location, object, event or topic close to the heart of your hometown, your work or your life. Please share in the comment box below.

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