Monday, January 25, 2010

Always give it your best

I learned a valuable lesson from my dad when I was about 13 years old. I had recently began working as a dishwasher for Mornings Restaurant and I was at home one day complaining about making only 75 cents and hour. I was trying to save up and buy myself a 10 speed bicycle to get me to and from work. I lived several miles from the restaurant and the bike I had my eye on was a beautiful bike that cost around $150.00 brand new. It was my dream bike! A Schwinn 10 speed, a top of the line bike. The only problem was that at the rate I was going it would take a year of saving to finally be able to afford it. I was working part time, maybe 12-15 hours a week at the most. and at .75 per hour... well you can see how long it would take me if I didn't even spend a dime of what I brought home each week.

Anyway, I'm sitting at home and for whatever reason that I don't remember right now, I began complaining to my Dad about how ridiculous it was that I only was getting paid 75 cents per hour. I guess I thought my Dad would have sympathy on me or something. Boy was I wrong. He immediately reminded me that it was only a few months ago that I was thrilled to have this job. He remembered me coming home so excited that I was going to be making 75 cents and hour and working about 15 hours a week and that now I would have some spending money in my pocket. He reminded me of the joy I had in going to work and the fun I was having doing this work when I first started this job. Now after only a few months time, I'm sitting here complaining about it! What he said to me next I've never forgotten. Dad said, "Steven you made a commitment, an agreement, to give it your best for 75 cents an hour. Now quit your complaining and live up to your end of the agreement. It's either that... or quit!

I was shocked. I wasn't expecting that! But at the same time I did feel guilty for the way I was acting. He was right. It wasn't until I realized that one of the other dishwashers made $1.00 an hour that I began to feel that I wasn't paid enough. Never mind that this other guy had been there longer and had earned his way up in pay. I was feeling like I was just as good if not better than the other guy, yet I wasn't making as much. It just didn't seem fair to me.

Over the years I've used that same phrase with others that I've worked with. When a co worker starts to complain about what they make an hour, or they complain about what they make compared to someone else. It's always good to think back to the day you landed the job. Remember how good it felt to be employed again after a long time of no income? Have you forgotten how tough those days were? Remember how excited you were that first day and you could even envision a career for the future if you worked hard and gave it 100%. What happened? Why the change of heart? Whenever I get to feeling this way I always think back to one of my first lessons about work from my Dad. Son... You made a commitment with Mr. Morning to give it 100% for 75 cents an hour, now quit complaining and you follow through on your end of the commitment... or quit! I chose to stop complaining and get back to honoring my commitment. It was amazing how much happier I was when I realized that this job was good. I was working when others weren't, I had money in my pocket when others didn't. I'm thankful for my Dad. I'm thankful that he didn't support me when I wanted to sulk, whine and complain about my job.

If I just described you... Stop your complaining and follow through on your commitment to your employer. You made an agreement to work for so much money an hour. You weren't mislead in any way. They're following through on their part of the deal by paying you what they owe you for the work you have given them. You owe them 100% effort on your part. If the job is not what you had hoped or dreamed it would be then get out of it or work hard to make it what you want it to be! You can always quit and go somewhere else, but until you do, give it your best.

Oh yes... I finally did save up enough money for my bike. I was right, it took me almost a year to earn enough money to buy that bike, but was it ever worth it! I ended up working with Mr. Bud Morning for almost two more years. I never complained again, instead I worked even harder to prove to him that I was worth more than the 75 cents he was paying me, and by the time I quit I was making $1.55 an hour! More than any other dishwasher ever working for Mr. Morning at that time. He also hired me to do other odds and end jobs around the resturant which allowed me to earn even more money. Mr. Bud Morning was a great man, he was a great business man, and because I stayed with him I learned so much from him about work ethics and commitment. I honestly believe that first job of dishwashing and how I reacted to it, set the foundation for my success in other jobs later on. Because of my follow through and commitment to endure and see other jobs through when it got tough sometimes, I was always able to acheive great results. Thanks Dad for the lesson you taught me that day, I've never forgotten it.

"Always, give it your best."

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts on this: Giving it your best sometimes requires focus. Instead of focusing on what you don't have focus on what you do and be thankful for having a job, especially when others don't have a job at all. By giving your best Steve you help others as well, such as the patrons, the cooks who need clean dishes, etc. and that hopefully makes the business more successful for all so you can feel a sense of accomplishment. My first job was as a bag boy at a private grocery store and although I did not like the cold, the heat, the rain and wished my job was 100% inside, I was able to meet many customers/people and learn from them. In addition I did receive tips from the patrons whom I did make feel welcome and that I appreciated their decision to buy groceries from us.