Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Discussing Work Ethics

At work today, I had a discussion with a colleague about the general work ethic of folks. Our discussion centered around well-educated people who would refuse to do a particular job because they felt it was "beneath" them to do. Part of the discussion follows:

Colleague: I dredged and swabbed out a commode a couple of weeks ago, when we had a group of people here, one of whom obviously was not accustomed to indoor plumbing and didn’t know that you can’t put the contents of a whole roll of toilet paper in there at one time. (My co-worker and I) do it all! I don’t have much patience when a teacher tells me she didn’t earn two degrees to __________________ (fill in the blank). If it needs to be done for the good of the agency, by gum! Do it!

Me: I agree about the work ethic of many people these days. We get people who apply here all the time, but they don’t actually want to DO anything… We asked a few local kids if they wanted to earn some summer cash. They were excited until they learned it would yard work. They were going to get paid very well, but they said they were not about to do any kind of ‘work’ for the money. You have got to be kidding me! Around here, we do pretty much whatever needs to be done. So far, the only line I have drawn is pest control. Sorry, but there is no way that rat-killing falls under any type of jurisdiction where I’m concerned. That’s why you can hire people to do that! Aside from that, I have cleaned toilets, changed out high-wattage light ballasts (without having any idea what I was doing), painted walls, you name it. The way I see it, anything that makes your workplace better overall will help you (well, me in this case) overall. It amazes my kids that I’ve worked at Mickey-D’s, Pizza Hut, and had a ton of other jobs (some were rather nasty) before doing what I do now… I told them they are expected to go through similar experiences when they get the right age. There is nothing wrong with doing any kind of work, no matter what it is as long as you do it to the best of your ability. No matter what you do throughout life, everything will add to your overall experience and knowledgebase. Some of it will be useful throughout life, and some will fade in time, but it is all worth doing and doing (as you said) honorably.

In addition, I've worked for at least two bosses that have their own Master's degrees and would be the first two people to grab a wet cloth and start scrubbing the floor if it needed it! You do what needs to be done. I have a saying that I made up long ago: "Do what needs to be done, and you won't HAVE to do anything." I don't care if you have three doctorate degrees. If the toilet paper needs to be changed - change it.

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