Would You Hire You?

Are you worth the salary you’re earning?  Do you really give it your all, or are you just showing up for work?

I was in Houston last week and had a waiter who impressed me to no end – I wanted to offer him a job.  His work ethic was impressive, genuine and, I’m sure, rewarding (I certainly tipped him well).  I call his work ethic that of the “Eager Beaver.”

Eager Beaver

She loves her job (or she’ll look for a new one).  She wakes up every morning eager to make a difference.  She’ll work overtime, bring work home, and she genuinely cares about earning the money she is paid.  She believes in giving more rather than receiving more  Her attitude is positive and contagious.  Loyal and motivated, she takes the initiative, and is generally quite successful professionally.

Is this you?  If you’re wondering, ‘Why do more if you aren’t being paid for it?’ perhaps you’re more of a “Literal Larry.”

Literal Larry

He has his job description memorized.  His thinking is very black-and-white and he doesn’t feel the need to give anything more than is asked of him.  His favourite expression is, “It’s not in my job description.”  He arrives at the workplace at 9 a.m.  If he arrives early he will read the newspaper or surf the ’Net until his exact starting time.  If he isn’t being paid extra; he isn’t going to do anything extra.  He’s usually quite cynical about “the company.” While he performs the tasks required of him, he will typically not offer more than what is expected (unless he’s compensated for it).

If you’ve ever had a job you didn’t like, you probably were a Literal Larry.  It is hard to be motivated when you’re not happy.

On the way home from Houston, I was in the Chicago airport, when I ran into a “Bear Minimum.”  She watched the other waitresses run around, the customers wait unnecessarily, and pandemonium strike as the restaurant began overfilling, while she read her magazine for 45 minutes.  It was her break.

Bear Minimum

She gets paid for showing up.  She has trained everyone in the office to avoid delegating to her; she complains about everything, and is generally avoided by her co-workers.  Bear Minimum is not stupid; she knows her rights, and has her union steward on speed dial.  A master at intimidation and avoidance, she is often referred to as “invisible.”  She manages to do nothing, yet surprisingly she is never disciplined, or fired.  She has long tenure, and no motivation.

Here’s an interesting exercise. Take a look at the number-line below.  Where are you on this professional continuum?

Eager Beaver                                          Literal Larry                             Bear Minimum

10           9           8           7           6           5           4           3           2           1

Are you comfortable with where you fit on this line?  If you are to the right of seven, ask yourself why.  If you are below seven, you are probably unhappy professionally and need to consider why you continue to work where you are. I’m not trying to get you to quit your job today, but be honest with yourself: Would you hire you?

If a potential employee told you, in complete honesty, that she was only a five or six, would you even consider hiring her? Would you spend your hard-earned money paying someone to do the bear minimum, who was not at all motivated to do a great job?

I would have hired my waiter in Houston.  I would have fired the waitress in Chicago for lacking a sense of teamwork.  And if I were less than a seven on the scale, I would look for a new job.

Have a good work ethic.  Hire others who have a good work ethic. And refuse to accept anything less.

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