A friend of mine who is an apartment manager in Utah has been busy training his replacement.
The replacement, a young guy, in his 20s went to my friend complaining he didn’t feel “respected.”
My friend noted that replacement boy hadn’t earned respect. He was doing the bare minimum to not get fired, never volunteered for extra work, had to be told to do every little thing and wouldn’t do anything unless told to. Left every day right at 6 p.m. whether the job was done or not, and basically schlepped along to get his check.
The kid’s response?
“So you’re saying a man is defined by what he does? I just do this for money, I’m not define by my job.”
See, I say “no, you’re wrong.”
Yes, a man is, in fact defined by what he does.
Jesus may judge a man by whether or not he believes in Him, but I have to judge a man by his works.
If your work is crap, YOU are crap.
If you do not respect your work, you respect nothing — your work is how you keep a roof over your family’s head and food in their bellies. Nothing is more worthy of respect than that.
I see the former attitude, rather than the latter, more and more often among youth. Frankly, most of us had that attitude when we were young. But most of us grew out of it by our teens — at least in part because we had fathers who taught us different.
My dad once said to me after I’d done a bad job on a chore as a young boy: “Son, I don’t care if you dig ditches for a living, you damn well better be the best ditch digger in the world. If a job is worth doing it’s worth doing right.”
I only sort-of understood that a seven. But at 45 I realize just how utterly profound that is. I don’t fully agree with the Japanese idea that the process is more important than the result — although I admire the tendency to turn everyday tasks into an art form — however I see the merit in the idea.
Too many today see only the result they want but not the process that gets them there, so they get sloppy, take shortcuts — and end up with shoddy results and wonder why.
Whatever the job, true craftsmanship is the product of making the process nearly as important as the result. Doing things carefully, paying attention to detail and doing it right — simply for the sake of doing it right — will give you the result you’re looking for.
This is called “work ethic” and it seems to be sorely lacking today.
All IMHO, of course.
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.