Posts Tagged ‘Work Ethic’

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I found myself complaining the other day about something I now don’t even remember what it was about but it got me thinking about fundamentally why my first reaction was to grumble about the issue in the first place? Have you ever done that before? When something happens the way you don’t want it to your first reaction is to gripe about it? It can be about small or even stupid things like “why don’t you do this right?” or, “why can’t you put this away correctly?”…But the fact I was doing this got me thinking about complaining or the idea of complaining for really no good reason at all.

I think you would agree with me that there are people in this world who should be complaining or have a more valid reason to complain. For example, when you don’t have enough food to feed your family or when you have lost your job through no fault of your own…those are the folks that should be complaining. But what I find interesting is in some cases, these are the people who don’t say anything. They just go about their business and go on surviving. If they lose their job, they work to find another one. If they can’t feed their family, they find another job to make some more money to help. Please don’t misunderstand me here, this is not a commentary on work ethic or our society, it is my observation that when the going gets rough, there are people out there who simply DO and don’t complain about it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mark Woodard speak about his life experiences and his insatiable desire to be positive and to persevere, no matter what his circumstances. Guys, never in my life have I heard someone who should simply complain about his life and what has happened to him. Quick summary, when he was 10, a shotgun went off and blew half his face away. After many surgeries, he survived but he was totally blind. After receiving a 7-figure settlement, his drug-addicted mother stole most of his money and later on, a girl friend would steal the rest. Through many various struggles as a ward of the state, fights, adversity like I have never seen before, this guy struggles on. He won’t even think of quitting. He is now 25, and working to get a degree to teach blind people skills that he had to learn on his own. What I find inspiring is his perspective because complaining is not an option to him. He simply keeps persevering no matter what the odds are stacked against him. As I listened, I found myself asking what would I have done in his situation? Would I have persevered in the face of so many obstacles, or just given up? The fact that I began this blog with a confession that I was complaining about something unimportant made me realize that I wasn’t proud of myself in this area. Mark has somehow learned how to be content and persevere no matter what he faces in his life…and he can’t even see. Then I remembered something the Apostle Paul said in Philippians that brought the answer to me in a way I could understand:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Suddenly I feel really stupid about complaining about anything. Sure, I have faced adversity in my life…we all have. But the key is understanding how to be content and NOT complain. The key is to keep on seeking God and persevering with all of our might…even when it makes no sense for us to do so. God has promised to never leave us or forget us…

 

Let me leave you with this very simple thought:

 

No matter what your circumstances may be, there is always something to be thankful for…

 

Until next time guys…

A good friend of mine called me today hopping mad…well, maybe just frustrated but certainly not a happy guy. He was on his way to Los Angeles driving on a rainy Saturday morning to solve a problem that should never have been. You see, he is the man in charge of his project and he assigned someone to handle a job which in this case, was to cover up the roof of this unfinished building with plastic to thwart the coming rain. His employee performed the job similarly to how many people I have seen recently perform theirs…poorly…and as a result, the man in charge was forced to give up a Saturday of his life to solve the problem. Needless to say he was frustrated and he called me on his way up to the job site to vent. As the conversation progressed we started discussing leadership and how important it is to really anything that needs to be accomplished. From the football gridiron, to building anything, anytime there is a task that must be completed by a group it is the quality of the leadership that makes it happen. Now I’m the first to admit that leadership will only get you so far, you MUST have quality people in order to be successful. When you don’t have them, you end up doing what my friend is doing today…fixing someone else’s mistake and that affects everyone. Remember the old saying, ” you are only as strong as your weakest link”? I think we all know that statement to be true.

Recently I was watching my young son playing the game Madden NFL but he was doing it with a small twist. He turned off the games salary cap and was forcing trades thereby ending up with the very best players for his team. Now whenever he plays, he has an all-star team. He has Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady all on the same team? Can you imagine having the very best employees available all on your staff? For those of you who have worked in your industry for a long time, I’m sure you have worked with people you really enjoyed and there was a reason for that. Like me, if you were in charge, it’s because they knew their job and they cared about what they produced thereby causing you to admire their work ethic…or selfishly, because they made you look good…right?

Well the reality is we can’t have the very best people because they tend to get spread out amongst our competitors. Remember that part is all about the money. So what do you do to succeed with the group you have? You, You, You have to put forth quality leadership and get the most out of your people possible. Isn’t that what good coaching does? They put people in the right places in order for them to succeed thereby helping the company or team succeed. Don’t force that square peg into that round hole…you will regret that move…

But let’s get back to the beginning. My friend assigned a job to someone and that guy did that job poorly. This guy either has a good work ethic or he doesn’t. You can try to teach work ethic but I have found that to be difficult because many times it is how the person was raised that gives him his “approach to a problem” mentality. Unfortunately, in our world today, where we are struggling to stay in the black, companies just don’t have the time to spend on people who can’t simply step in and be productive. For me personally, I will give you one warning and then I must move on to the next person. That may sound harsh but my company’s success keeps many people employed and I will not allow a poor work ethic to spoil that success.

I will end with this. As a Christian, we are told in Colossians 3:17,

Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Simply put, not just in our words, but in our ACTIONS, which is our work ethic, we must commit all our efforts (especially work) to Christ and we, you, will be successful…So keep your head down until the job is finished and done right…

Until next time guys…

For those of you who remember rising before the crack of dawn, or were chased by dogs, or who struggled against windy and rainy days and also had to pay for the windows you broke…all to deliver the morning paper, this blog post is for you you.

I had an overly large response to a post I wrote a few weeks ago on the subject of work ethic which got me thinking about my own life and why I feel so strongly on the subject. I struggle mightily with lazy people or people who put things off until the bitter end and as you probably can guess, I tend to be the opposite of these types and therefore get frustrated when I see this behavior. That being said, why do I feel the way I do about work ethic? Where does one learn work ethic? I wrote in my first post that work ethic must be taught in the home with our children. They need to see you up in the morning (or whatever shift you work) and doing what you have to make ends meet around your house…That being said, even though we grow up with strong parents who are an example that still doesn’t guarantee you, or your children will have a strong work ethic. Like me, you probably can trace your work ethic back to another person who you respected or maybe, like me, it was the job…

My time as a Paperboy taught me work ethic. When I was a kid, my brother and I both got paper routes at the same time. My brother took one in the afternoon and I took the one in the morning. He didn’t particularly like getting up early and frankly neither did I, but for some reason, I could do it so I accepted. My brother didn’t last very long working his route, but I have to say I think I may have quit to with his circumstances because his route consisted mainly of apartment buildings and people were always moving out and not paying him. Back then, when that happened, the paperboy always got screwed. Me, well I ended up having a paper route for all 4 years of high school. It gave me spending money and bought my first car, but it did require me to get up, everyday, 365 days a year, at 4 am to fold, load my bike, and ride 15 miles on my paper bike to deliver to 115 customers.

Now you ask, how could an early morning paper route, teach you work ethic? I thought I would list some of the good and bad things I recall about being a paperboy below just to give you an idea of the “everyday” with an explanation after.

Early Morning Wake up
I think I mentioned the early mornings earlier. 4 am was required to have the necessary time to fold all of the papers, load and deliver them to 115 doors, or in some cases, specific areas on their porch so they didn’t have to look for it. Then I would come home, shower and get ready for school, pretty much all before 7am. Getting up everyday forged inside of me a necessity to just get the job done quickly and correctly so I could forget about it for 24 hours until the following morning. Saturday mornings were great too because I could come home and sleep some more…and that was a luxury. Bottom line, I look back on 4 am risings and realized I must have really wanted that car…

Over Sleeping and Panic
Along those same lines as above was the panic rattling on my bedroom window by my paper manager when I overslept…and that happened occasionally. When the reality of that moment would set in, the immediate panic would also come. We have all overslept so you can relate. How am I going to accomplish my morning routine with 1 less hour to work with? I always found though, that as long as I kept myself cool, controlled and efficient, I was usually able to make the deliveries happen in time and still make school. That was a HUGE lesson…

Paperboy Economics
Part of my job as the paperboy was to collect the money at the end of the month. I had a receipt book I would fill out with 115 names on it and what they owed, then I would have to come home from school and go out in the evenings on my bike and collect. This either went well or not. Sometimes, I would never catch people home but yet my bill was due to be paid by the 5th so if I couldn’t collect enough what was a paperboy to do?…sound familiar right now? Sometimes I would have to discuss the latest broken window, or the fact that their dog was chasing me or…every now and then…they would give me and extra dollar or two for a job well done…I liked that. In fact, if you wanted your paper in a certain spot each morning, and were willing to give me an extra couple bucks or maybe even a Christmas bonus…no problem. I learned the value of effort will convert itself into money, people just have to get to know you…

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
Sometimes, I found that simply by being the only one up, very early in the morning, I was just guilty. Blame it on the paperboy! That was never more true than one Saturday morning on my way home at the end of my route. I was peddling my Schwinn Heavy Duty, 55 lb paper bike with reinforced steel forks and wheels when all of a sudden 3 police cars converged on me from all directions. In a matter of moments, I was up against a car, being searched with literally no information as to “why” from any of them. Turns out, there was a complaint of a peeping tom and I was the prime suspect although they were not talking at the time. After a few scary moments on my part, they gave me the aforementioned reason and said, “sorry kid” and left in a “police” hurry…I learned a valuable lesson that day, take a different route home the next day…No…Seriously, don’t panic, things WILL work themselves out.

Paperboy Summary
You have heard the expression that “youth is wasted on the young” well in my example, that wasn’t necessarily the case. My time as a paperboy taught me many lessons that have served me well long into adulthood although at the time, I had no idea. I look back on the rainy mornings, or the Sunday paper which was so big, I had to stop and fold papers half way through again, or the same hills over and over again…everyday and I think why did I do that? What made me do that less than thankful, very hard job for 4 years?

I said YES…and where I come from your word, well…it means everything…

My time as a paperboy taught me work ethic…what taught you?

Well that is my experience with work ethic from my youth, what is yours? I would be interested in hearing them…

Until next time guys…

I’m old fashioned in certain ways. Its kind of funny being close to 50 and making that statement but I really think its true for at least one thing; work ethic. Do you know what I mean when I say work ethic? I’m talking about what is inside you, that inner part of you that makes you…you. Some people call it fortitude, some call it gravel in your gut. I’m old fashioned, I call it, an honest days work for an honest days pay. That’s pretty simple I think…but apparently it’s not because today’s job work ethic isn’t the same as it used to be. Anyone who supervises people knows what I am referring to here. More and more, people don’t have any vision about their future. They prefer to perform the “eight and skate” mentality and the eight hours they are present? are debatable at best.

Guys, this is NOT a political blog and I plan on keeping it that way but what I am saying is as Fathers, its our responsibility to teach work ethic in the home. That means for example, holding our kids accountable for various responsibilities around the house. Now please, don’t misunderstand me here. I am not telling you how to do your job at work or at home. I am simply pointing out that from my vantage point, the mentality of approaching work is changing in America, and frankly, I don’t like it very much. Unfortunately, I believe that “work ethic”, or, that get up in the morning and get on your knees and give God the day and then go to work and give your best, is a dying philosophy.

Now I know there are a lot of you out there that are unemployed and for that I am sorry but as I have stated in previous blogs, keep your eyes focused on Christ, keep trusting in Him, and He will see you through this trial in your life. In fact, read my previous “You are not Alone” blog post for more of the above. As I was saying, many of you who are unemployed would simply love the opportunity to prove your work ethic but you understand what I am writing about here. We need to teach our children that is imperative they give their best effort, no matter what job they are doing. Remember the Bible talks about in Colossians 3:17;
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I know, I know, that is BRUTAL sometimes. But as hard as that is to exemplify, as fathers, that’s our job in our homes because our kids are watching us. Show them whats really inside you. Show them the example of your strong work ethic each day by doing your best at your job and then helping them to understand why they need to do the same thing.

Let me tell you a short story about my eight year old son Kendrick. Like many of you, we have a dog at our house who everyday, multiple times a day, does her business outside on what used to be my green lawn (sorry, I digress) Kendrick’s job is to take care of the dogs business every Saturday and of course, he forgets, or he doesn’t want to, or he is too busy…You know the drill, kid excuses. One day I sat him down and asked him if he thought he was doing a good job at his saturday duties and he told me “yes, he was happy with his effort” (paraphrased) I proceeded to tell him that if he worked for me, I would have to fire him for that “effort, or lack thereof” and that surprised him. Now, you can’t fire your kid so don’t get any ideas, but I did remind him that its our job to our best every time we work…

The same holds true for you and me. As men, its our job to not only work hard and give our employer an honest days work for an honest days pay, but everyday, we need to show our kids the same thing. One of the greatest satisfactions for me as a father was getting the opportunity to speak to my oldest sons former employer and having him tell me he is a hard worker and that he never worried about leaving him on his own unsupervised, because he knew he would still continue to work hard, even when the boss wasn’t around.

Guys, that needs to be our testament to ourselves as men and to our children. I challenge you to build a strong work ethic in your family.

God Bless you guys…