In the early 1900’s, my great grandfather made the decision to leave behind his wife and four children with just a few of his personal belongings and a hope in his heart. He boarded a boat that was going across the Atlantic Ocean, an entire world away from all that he loved and his home. He made the decision because he wanted a better life for his family and for himself.
He had heard of wealth that would allow him to do more than he could have ever dreamed of living in Poland. His children would grow up with so much more and opportunities for themselves. He would do anything to see that happen…and he did.
He worked long twelve hour days, in a hot, dirty shop, with no breaks and just long enough to eat the meal he prepared and carried in his lunch pail. He had to walk to work no matter the weather. The company he worked for had a zero tolerance absentee policy, so he knew he had to be there no matter what. If he was able to walk, he was there. His worst fear was losing his “opportunity” to give his family more.
While he was working, there was no standing around, or waiting to be told to do something. The reason he was there and living a lonely existence, 1,000’s of miles away from his home was too big. It was too important.
Whatever he could do or get done, whether it was his job or not, he did. He took initiative knowing that if he was caught standing around the company might feel that there was no need for him, and get rid of him.
Once my grandfather saved enough money to purchase a house on the South side of Cleveland and pay for the passage to the US, he sent for my great-grandmother and the children.
The first part of his goal had been reached and finally, after two years, he would be able to be with his family again. Staying committed and dedicated to his work meant even more, because now they would all be here. Again, the reason became bigger. There were no more ties to the homeland. He had to do his best each day to now give his family what he had promised them; what he had asked his wife to risk as they waited patiently for him.
My great grandfather did succeed and though it wasn’t the life of Rockefeller, he felt like a King. He had lived the dream.
I wish more people would take that approach to their work. I wish that the REASON they were working was that IMPORTANT to them.
When I speak to clients these days, can you guess what is the most important quality to their organization? YES, PEOPLE WITH A TRUE WORK ETHIC. Skills and education are very important, but it doesn’t matter what skills an individual has if they have a terrible work ethic. Companies are realizing that if someone is willing to work hard, learn and be reliable, skills can be honed!
If you think that you are entitled to NOT work as hard because your skills are so good…THINK AGAIN! Companies are looking for people who “get” why they are there. People who appreciate that work is an opportunity to do more in their lives while trading their time and skill for a fair wage to help a company reach it’s goals and meet their customer’s needs. People who take jobs are not doing companies a favor…and those who take the entitlement approach will be gotten rid of. They are too high of maintenance!
Employee’s owe it to the company to do their best, spend their time (that they are being paid for) focused on doing whatever it takes to get the customer’s needs met and help the company achieve their goals and increase profitability. Companies don’t hire people as an act of philanthropy to just give money away. They want every bit of what they are paying for. A job means that there are expectations and those expectations should lead to accomplishments for the company. You get the paycheck every two weeks in return for the time you’ve spent and skill you’ve brought to the company. If you only gave half an effort, you may get paid anyway, but NOT FOR LONG!
Sometimes it will be hot, dirty, long hours, more work than seems possible, deadlines that seem impossible. But if you “get” how every thing you do to contribute to helping the company achieve their goals by making a difference anyway you can in each working day the rewards can be endless!
A strong work ethic is appreciated and valued. Employers and Managers will bend over backwards to assist and work with YOU if you show that you have that “GREAT WORK ETHIC”. Those with the work ethic…LIVE THE DREAM…and yes, IT IS HARD WORK!!