By now you, you all know my weekday routine of picking up my Mobile order at Starbucks and driving to work. I am a stickler for being on time each day. Traffic and inept people at Starbucks can mess with my timetable but I must plan accordingly for it. I need to get to work on time. In addition, unlike some people I know, I like work. I love what I do. Some days are downright challenging but I rarely have a day where I get up and say I am not going to the office. There also is not a day that goes by when I do not thank my parents for instilling this work ethic in me.I am sitting in an office doing what I love – managing a student and family population in an extremely large school district. It is only the third position I have held since college. My first gig out of the gates was for an insurance conglomerate (SAT word) which I cannot bring myself to even utter the name of as it still make me shudder when I think of how it all ended. That position lasted twenty years. I learned a multitude of lessons there about people and how they operated. It was not about the business so much as it was about managing people and how they ticked. It was the perfect arena to utilize what I had learned in one of my later Business Management courses. To this day, I thank that professor who introduced me to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Recognize that everyone has the same basic need and you will receive positive results. Understand that if you work hard and recognize what other’s needs are that you will be successful. Sure, there is much more to this theory but I do not want this blog to be a weeklong. Maslow and I became fast friends. In fact, when we were redecorating our living room last year I found the sign featured in this Blog episode. “Work Hard – Be Nice”. It is that simple. If you work hard and treat people with respect – you will reach your goals. You will. Maslow was not the only man in my life to instill this theory in my blood….in my bones.
In the summer of 1979, John Eastwood and I traveled on the LIRR to his office at the World Trade Center in NYC. I had been there countless times sitting in his corner office gazing at the Statue of Liberty and hoping I’d someday work in an office like his with a staff that was more like family than his work team. He had gained the respect of his team because he treated them like family and realized that they had personal needs and goals. I later learned how much my Daddy was loved because of how he made them feel. I worked each summer with Daddy until I went to college. I learned filing, typing, telex, receptionist coverage, and even letter writing (which by the way came to a halt when I did not proofread my letter to a Distributor. Yes, I had meant to write “Dear Ken…” but it came out as “Dead Ken”. That my friends is how my legendary typos started). My dad never let me call in sick to work. My friends were going to the beach and I was hopping on a train to work. I had lots to keep me busy and I loved it. When the business moved out to Long Island, I would carpool with one of Dad’s managers who lived in the next town when he was away on business. On one particular Monday morning, I was sick as a dog. I was suffering from the…well…”cocktail flu” after having partied too much at my friend’s graduation party the night before. I was green. Dad’s manager smoked a pipe each morning on the way in. I was fifty shades of green by the time we pulled into the office parking lot. I learned my lesson that day about calling in sick. You just did not do it. I did not learn my lesson about hangovers but that is a different blog.
By the time I started studying Business Management in college I was already well versed in the working world thanks to Dad. Mommy had also jumped in with instilling work ethic during my years in Bethpage. If you wanted to stay home sick, you could but there would be no TV and no going outside to play with your friends after school. If you were sick, you were sick. In bed. No questions asked. As a result, the only time I EVER missed school was when I had Chicken Pox in the 4th grade. I truly believe that work ethic is instilled in us at a very early age. My kids now actually want jobs. They want to work and earn money for themselves. It is refreshing. I do not want this to veer political but I will say this. Kids today need to work hard to earn money. Things. Get where they are in life. No one should be looking for a handout. I am pleased to report that Jake just completed his first 30 days at his new job. He received his review and was removed from the probationary period. I asked Jake how the review went. His response is just so genuine and pure. He said, “My manager thinks I am a hard worker and likes what I am doing. I treat the customers with a smile and always ask what else I can do to help”. Jake gets it. No surprise considering Ernie is one of the hardest workers I have ever met. For years in school, he worked three or four jobs to earn money for a car. Work ethic and hard work are an extreme attraction for me…just saying.
What will happen though with our next generation? I hope they do not take the easy way out and expect to skate through life. We now live in a world of instant gratification. Will that be a deterrent? I can ask Alexa for anything I want and it will happen. She makes our lives easier but will Alexa and her tech friends help us to get the job done? I suppose to some extent but she cannot make me want to go to work. She can’t make me want to help every single family I deal with at work as if they were my own. Instant gratification works for me to make my life easier but it does not replace good old fashioned/laser focused work in my eyes. In my book, you have to earn it.
With that, I have to get back to work. I have lots to do before I climb into my car and begin the drive home. Just remember – Work Hard. Be Nice. Four words to success.