I walked in to a Discount Store to purchase some mini notebooks to give as gifts. The parking lot was extremely full, which should have given me a clue, but this store is located at the end of a shopping plaza, so I attributed it to the other stores as well. When I opened the door, the burst of cool air was refreshing to say the least, and as my eyes adjusted from the brilliant sunshine, I took in the layout of the store. I was shocked and surprised to see only one cashier, and it only took seconds to scan the line and realize that it branched out in multiple directions. There was a minimum of 25 – 30 people waiting in those lines. For one cashier. Three other registers were there, but they were vacant and unused. Then the poster board that was unprofessionally written and taped on the door came to mind. Help wanted now, cashiers, stockers etc. I realized that the poor lady behind the cash register was quite possibly the only employee there. It dawned on me that she hadn’t put herself into this predicament but that she was using every skill she had to survive it. Needless to say, I turned and exited the store, the need for my purchase was not enough to entice me to stand in that line!
As I left the store, and walked to my car, another potential customer spoke up, she too had done just as I, entered the store, observed the situation and left. I have no clue how much business that Discount Store lost that day. Most likely because of their incredibly low prices, I would guess they didn’t lose customers; just that they will return another day.
But it got my mind to thinking. What if?
What if it wasn’t so cheap to shop there?
What if people didn’t know to expect some sort of line?
What if enough people decided not to shop there because of the line?
What if that cashier’s word wasn’t her worth?
I am currently reading Launching A Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward (Which I will refer to as LLR) so that would explain why some of these thoughts popped into my head.
One line that stood out tremendously with this experience was: ‘As the saying goes, “Your word is your worth and your worth is your word.” ‘(From LLR)
Now, just in case you are having a bit of trouble seeing how this all fits together, let me connect the dots for you.
This Discount Store has a schedule for their employees. I can only assume that they schedule based upon the expected dollar flow for that day, time and of course season. Most companies will hire and schedule within a range predicted by past profit and loss figures, with some variation due to current trends in the economy. This means that while they will have enough employees to handle the demand, they won’t have multiple extras standing around getting paid with no work to do; since this would diminish profits. This being said, any employees that do not show up for work will cause a gaping hole, a job not being done without it laying more responsibility upon those that do show up.
When one accepts a position as an employee, they are in essence giving their word that they will be there when scheduled and will do the tasks assigned.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that more and more often people don’t realize the actual commitment they have.
It is beautiful out, and someone suggests doing something fun, so off they go. The person that was supposed to be working thinks briefly of their job, shrugs it off, and goes to do the activity instead. No realization of the turmoil it may cause.
The question then comes in to – why?
Honestly, I think it is as Chris Brady is known for saying, “they don’t know what they don’t know, and some of what they do know isn’t so, ya know?”
I believe that most people don’t ‘no show’ or ‘call off’ or even ‘quit’ their jobs to intentionally cause problems or pain to others. I believe it is more of not realizing the impact. I believe that people are convinced that it is ok, and they deserve to take time for themselves, and that they really aren’t that important at work.
Oftentimes we are so self-focused, that we fail to notice how what we are doing affects others.
For example, take a man that works part time for another man. It is a handyman type of work. Circumstances arise outside of work that lead this man to move his family out of state. The decision is made rapidly, things need to be sold, arrangements need to be made, this move will help them in a number of areas; it isn’t a bad change. Since the position is part time, and at times is very inconsistent, the man doesn’t think twice about leaving. But he also doesn’t consider how this abrupt loss may affect the company. The owner of the company contacts him to let him know his schedule for the week, and he says ‘Oh! Sorry, I can’t work this week, I am leaving. So, actually, I guess I quit. Sorry, this isn’t normally like me, but I have to do this.’. Now, here is the owner of the company, that placed a bid for this job, expecting that the employee would be working. Suddenly he has a job, and no one to do it. The employee didn’t think about this. He never stopped to think to turn in a ‘2-week notice’ so that the boss had time to replace him.
‘How rude!’ You may think, completely uncalled for, what a poor employee. But honestly, I know this person, and when they work, their work is way above par. I would say that the work they were doing was extremely professional.
This is how I know that it isn’t just the ‘average person’ that doesn’t realize their impact, that many of us don’t realize the value that we contribute daily to others around us.
Another example is a young lady that works in a restaurant. She certainly isn’t the only employee. She does above and beyond work as well. She talks to management about a vacation that she would like to take 6 months from now and wants to make sure before any decisions are made that it will not negatively affect the company. Her first thoughts are often measured up against “how will this impact my job?”.
This got me to wondering, what is the difference?
I believe that the difference can be summed up in a couple of key areas – value, feeling that what they do contributes as well as feeling valued themselves and the other being character.
It has been said that the character of a man is the only thing that will walk back from the grave into the hearts of the people who knew him. (From LLR)
In the situation with the young lady, she had gone down a tough road for a while, and felt her character was extremely tarnished. She intentionally began to rebuild her character, focusing on integrity, honor and respect. She’s become a living example.
For the gentleman, he was focused more on the needs of his family and his commitment to them. I also believe that the boss may not have ever made him feel important to the company. The value wasn’t placed upon him, and therefore there was no value to place upon the job.
Quite possibly the reason there were no other employees at the Discount Store is because the employees may have felt that their job wasn’t necessary. They may have not felt valued. They may have thought it was ‘no big deal’ because someone else can pick up the slack, for goodness gracious it isn’t surgery! They may have felt that calling out or not showing up would only affect the hours on their paycheck and had no idea how much further those ripples would go.
Back to the cashier. I don’t know if she has any clue what a leader she is. She chose to do what was right, no matter the outcome. She most likely faced angry customers, nonstop purchases, impatient customers, no break for hours, and who knows what else while she worked away at getting the customers on their way with their items.
She did her job because it was the right thing to do.
Without the courage to do what’s right because it’s right, regardless of ramifications to self, one is not truly worthy to be called a leader. (From LLR)
So, I would like to give a shout out, not only to her, but to everyone out there that sticks to their commitment, that stays true to their word. You are important. You matter. No matter what your task is, it is important, and you have value. Thank you for doing what you do. Remember, always do your best, and do what you do unto the Lord, for He sees and blesses.
You have my word – you matter,