Hey folks. It has been a while since I have posted anything, but I thought compelled to revisit a subject I have written about before, namely, work ethic. Or, lack thereof. People never cease to amaze me.
As part of my various ventures involving my love of music, I own a couple of venues which also happen to be restaurants and bars. I opened the first one about five years ago; the second, four years ago. I did so not because I truly love music and enjoy making people happy. Either through food – which I am indeed a foodie – or through entertainment; or simply an environment where people can call home. I did not open these places thinking I was going to get rich (far from the case). I did so because I wanted to provide a place where musicians could put their talent on stage, and where people with smiles would hopefully come see said musicians.
What I have learned in the course of five years is that there is a sense of entitlement like I have never seen before when it comes to service industry employees, and least around here. I don’t know if it is the industry, the location, or the generation(s). But in all honesty, I have never seen such a consistent lack of motivation; a lazy, complacent attitude, and people needing consistent needling (i.e. “staying on their ass”) just to do the very basic aspects of their jobs. And I mean these are easy jobs. Don’t get me wrong. They are not all like that. But there are a lot who are. Many, many. Let’s not forget thieving, dishonest people too. There are a lot of those as well.
Let me provide a few examples. I have had employees ask for a raise after showing up late every single day for months on end. I’ve had them ask for a raise, simply because they actually showed up to begin with. I have had folks simply not show up at all, then show up the next day expecting to still have a job. Then there are the ones that you give chance after chance, and try and coach them into performing their jobs better – who then quit without notice, and publicly spew on social media about how it was not their fault and that their boss is an ogre.
I’ve had people change their electronic times sheets (thinking they are smarter than me – a computer geek) – just to straight-faced deny it when they are called to the carpet and then (again) publicly bash the business that they were screwing. I’ve had other people who have decided that the alcohol that I pay for is their property to do as they please. Give it away, drink it, not ring it up and pocket the money, and on and on. Food too. Oh yes, lets not forget that. I mean – it is utterly dumbfounding. And they will still claim innocence when caught red-handed by the video cameras that record non-stop. Say wha?
What I cannot fathom for the life of me is why people work so incredibly hard at being dishonest and lazy and bad, when, in actuality, if they worked hard and focused on their actual jobs, then they world would be their oyster, as they say.
And not only that, a job – a chance that someone has extended to them – is not important to them and they move from job to job on a whim, rationalizing that it was the “big bad boss’ fault”, and that they did nothing wrong in the first place. They move on, incorrectly assuming that it won’t catch up with them. They are wrong. Remember what “assuming” does.
Maybe it is just me, but I have always believed if you work really hard and you are ethical, then you will get ahead. I will never, ever believe anything different either. Unfortunately, there are those people who are constantly trying to take advantage of people who want to take the high road. Trying to take the short cut. To cheat. That’s life, and that is the way it is. However, I do believe in “do unto others,” and I think that if people stay focused on the good, eventually, the good will come back to them. Karma.
I’ve said it before. There are NO short cuts in life.
None. Zip. Nada.
Those folks who continually look for the easy way out are going to end up destitute, lonely and without anyone supporting them. The reason for this is because entrepreneurs like myself look for people who are self-motivated, honest, hardworking and above all, with good work ethic (and ethical in general). If you screw up, just take the blame for it, learn and move on. Don’t blame it on your co-workers or make excuses. Own up to your own shortcomings. Lord knows, I have. There have been many mistakes I’ve made along the way. Still do. That’s called being human.
But the one thing I can say is that from my very first job, I was not lazy. I took pride in my little carhop job at Sonic when I was fourteen years old (no I did not wear skates). So much pride in fact that I was promoted to the kitchen, and then night manager, before I even hit sixteen years old. I have always been ambitious, and never asked for anything that I could not earn myself. I’ve worked hard to show my bosses over the years that I have ambition and I am smart, and will learn and grow. In my earlier years, I got fired from a few jobs because I thought I was smarter than the boss (I was – haha – but at that time I didn’t understand how politics of business worked and how to utilize that to legitimately get ahead; I didn’t know how the world worked). Chain of command. You dig?
I started my own business(es) because, in all honesty, I got tired of getting fired because I knew of a better way of doing things and my supervisors wouldn’t even entertain the idea for fear of being outsmarted.
But unlike my past bosses in those case – I personally look for employees that are indeed smart and have great ideas. I may not execute on every idea presented, but the sum of the total is better than the mind of the (one). I like the idea of surrounding myself with people who are smarter and more creative than myself. I want them to be motivated to do amazing things – because then my company can do amazing things.
It is important to note – before I got too big for my breeches, so to speak, I was very, very good at performing the basic requirements of the job. This is key to anything and it is one of the first things I learned in the Air Force.
In basic training, we had to fold our underwear in six inch squares. No kidding. I thought, at the time, “this is idiotic.” But in hindsight, it was all about following direction.
This is key. To everything.
If you as an employee cannot follow direction, and follow through, then you won’t stand a chance. This was by far one of the most important things I learned. Once I figured it out, I was a geeky rock star by the time I got into technology. I would zing through my basic job – whatever it may be – and then make the extra effort that would afford me the opportunity to get ahead. And I got promoted. Repeatedly. Not because I just showed up and happened to be a warm body. I knew damn well that I was not entitled.
And herein is the basic difference in the mentality. If you cannot do your basic job, yet you want to impress someone with your various ideas and try to take the quick way to get ahead, I can tell you now, it ain’t gonna happen (imagine please my mother rolling in grave because I am using the word “ain’t”). No supervisor – no real boss, no owner or CEO, wants to hear you tell them how good you are when the basic elements of job performance are not getting done while you are making excuses all along the way.
My simple message – again – is that there are no short cuts.
THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS.
You have to work hard for what you want in life. Guys and gals like me, well, we notice that hard work. Most people in business will too. Sure, every now and then you get someone who may not. But myself, growing up basically and entrepreneur since day one, we get it. We thrive on innovation and ideas, and not having to worry about the basic stuff being done. I take comfort that I can indeed be creative because I can rely on people to hold up the foundation. If you are unreliable and inconsistent, forget it. You could be a rocket scientist and on the cover of Rolling Stone every day of the week, but if you are unreliable, forget it.
I digress, however. Not everyone is like that. I’m fortunate to have a few good people around me in my endeavors that are ethical and who know what it takes. Folks who have been around for quite a long time, because the do get it.
In the restaurant and bar business – just like music, or ANY business – work hard, live clean, be honest, earn your keep, and don’t think you can just impress people with your shining personality. We can see through you in half a heartbeat. If you want to change the world, it is super simple. Work hard, and prove it.