In last week’s column, I mentioned four things I have said to my grandchildren in the way of advice. They’ll work for your kids, too, and for those you love who are not biologically yours. Basically, I suggested they choose a job they love so they won’t dread going to the office or the field every day, and I said that they should never be afraid to ask questions when they don’t know the truth involved. I also hinted that exploring new paths (within reason, of course) is a good idea to enrich your life, to learn exciting new things and meet new people. The fourth thing I added was please not be known as a lazy person. It seems that some teens and young adults are just born with a lazy streak a mile wide.
I once had a girl under my supervision in an office environment that I monitored very carefully before approaching her with a stern warning. I was amazed to determine that this very attractive young lady who was intelligent and could do the work assigned to her actually thought that putting on her pretty clothing, doing her make up just so, and coming in to the office to work was her job. She seemed to think that sitting at her desk, making conversation with officemates, talking on the phone with friends, and taking breaks and lunch hours were what we were paying her to do. She had an unusual entitlement mentality, and finding out when she got her off days and vacations were some of her first priorities. I complemented her on the good things she had done, but told her in no uncertain terms that she had a job to do for the company and that it would be a good idea to get doing it. She seemed stunned. Shocked as she was, she did tighten up and produce work for a short while before relapsing into her old habits. She soon looked for another job, and we were not sad to see her go.
So, I will share a word of advice my Mama Cole gave me when I started my first job. “Give a man eight hours work for every eight hours of pay he gives to you,” she said without a smile, and she meant it, too. Don’t be lazy on another man’s dime. With the advent of cell phones, computers, tablets and other devices, way too much time is spent on Facebook, the Web, and in conversation that has nothing to do with business. Is that fair to your employer? This is akin to not being lazy, but it primarily involves your career.
Along this same line, do not steal from your employer. Most would think this is basic and that everyone knows it, but folks push the envelope about office supplies, equipment, travel, expense accounts, and car mileage. I’ve seen it over and over in big companies and in small mom and pop stores, as well as in ministry. If it is not yours, then don’t take it or use it for personal matters. It is stealing and it is wrong.
Make time for yourself each day. “Meditation” is a word that is largely absent from our vocabularies today. Learn to enjoy some quiet time every day or evening. Turn off the TV, turn down the radio or CD player, clear your mind, and simply breathe. Make plans, thank God for what you have and what you’ve accomplished, ask, “What’s next?” and mentally chart your course. How can you ever get where you want to be if you do not know where you are going?
Don’t give up when you make a mistake. If we are wise, we learn from our mistakes, and for some of us, making a dreaded mistake can be one of the best things to ever happen in our lives. When you do make a mistake, learn to admit it and take responsibility for it, but don’t give up and stop doing anything. You have to be willing to launch out from the shore to catch the biggest and best fish.
Life is a series of learning adventures. Enjoy the ride.
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788 or at brendacannonhenley [at] yahoo [dot] com