By Ken La Rive
What makes a good worker is complicated. Objective observations of a modern American worker can not be viewed from their perspective or point of view alone, nor can it be understood entirely by the institution he may find himself. Work ethics and motivation are taught, perhaps as far back as mother’s knee, and the institution may or may not be fertile ground for the “average” modern American worker. For a successful company to nurture a successful employee, a common ground must be attained, and one based on a framework established and built long before. Our basic work ethics is truly an American heritage. There is an actual science in existence, a floor plan made thousands of years before the Industrial revolution, taken and molded into what we now find ourselves.
I refer to “average” in a somewhat negative way here, as it is found that just a small portion of the actual work force, in this year 2006, has sufficient fortitude to make creative and insightful things happen within the framework of a particular institution. We have been damaged by what can only be called “myopic liberalism,” and it has come to the point, unfortunately, where most young workers do not have a full grasp of their job description, or what potential they may attain as well. The great majority is seen by management to have little or no creative savvy, long term goals, and that most will do far less than expected. Leaders overwhelmingly agree that if left unobserved, workers will become progressively unproductive, and that most of those observed will take constant supervision.
What fire we have in our hearts for a productive life was put there long before we knew ourselves as individuals. It was placed there by parents, coaches, and teachers with mostly good intentions, and though the possibility may exist that they are somewhat flawed, nevertheless it defines who we are, how we view life, ourselves, and the directions we so choose. It is the foundation that all else is dependent, and nebulous ideas like love, success, joy, and happiness are doors we may find open or shut. Our attitude, the way we look at life and our place in it, is the foundation where all else is built.
I once listened to the final words of a man who was going to the electric chair. He had killed his girlfriend and her lover in what was determined to be a blind fit of rage and passion. In essence, those last words were “I didn’t know I loved her so much.” To him, killing her and her lover seemed justified, and an act of love… Love was not viewed as an unselfish process of emotion, but a selfish one where the welfare of another takes no precedence in the action.
It seems that this man went to his death with justifications that most would consider twisted ideology, a blinkered sense of purpose, and self awareness that may even be regarded as a type of insaneness. It isn’t for the good, common or otherwise, and he went through life with a harsh reality that was taught to him by the circumstances he found himself. Though this is an extreme example, it can certainly hit home that all of us have bits and pieces of wrong thinking that can pull and push us in directions that we may not even be aware of. It is indeed pitiful not to realize, but the combination of non-caring is horrific. Surely, this man on death row did not want to finally see his life was a farce, that there was in fact a higher, insight-giving purpose that could have propelled him through life on sound legs, and a heart of joy.
There are but a few good men in this world, that is a given. What man would we build a statue to? Could it be a leader who could pull to him and direct the many hands it takes to get a job well done? Or is it instead that individual person who draws together with many others of like will and mind, to achieve a goal? Could it be that both are needed for the long haul, where creativity and insight is born?
Leaders today, and throughout history as well, saw good labor to be fragile at best, and very rare indeed. It well seems to most modern leaders that the work force is overwhelmingly lazy and self-centered, has an inability or abject unwillingness to hold an attention span long enough to get the task completed without periodical and peripheral supervision to keep them on track. And then there are those who attempt to “get up and over” by any and all means of hook or crook, or by the use of bribes as an enticement for others of like mind to assist him in his slipshod endeavors. These individuals weaken the system in the short term, but never survive for very long. Justice is incorporated into the American system, and though the liberal process has undermined it to degree, by loop-hole justice, unaccountability, and frivolous law suits, the system still works. It is expensive however, and inevitable that corruptive processes will attempt to take hold in a free society. One must remain optimistic that justice will endure, and that our youth will overcome these negative devices that has harmed them by due process. Uneven competition where one group is given the edge over another is one thing, school systems pushing the inept through is another, but there are corruptions coming from our legal and government institutions that will right itself. It is inevitable.
A supervisor is in the process of transcending these hooks that hold most to moral servitude, and blind ambition, as the world will get out of the way for a good and trustworthy man who knows where he is going. Some will succeed and some may not on the first attempt, and for a myriad of reasons. Those who lost were perhaps pulled back by what was previously considered his peers, but they can not be entirely the blame, no matter how pitiful or selfishly evil were their jealous intentions. Let it be said that jealousy lurks in the hearts of fools, and those who can not climb by their own devices will use this is a prop to justify their own failings. They would rather see a good man down than to see one winning, or pursuing endeavors considered “out of the box.” However, it must be admitted that a supervisor who fails could probably not overcome what it took to succeed from the inside out. He lost faith, or couldn’t sufficiently develop it. After all, those who follow willingly are mostly pulled by what the supervisor has inside. A supervisor is at the forefront, by example, and followers are just that.
Little is said today of the employer who grows old before his time, for lack of assistance and support in his farsighted endeavors. He sees a place his business should be, expedited in both time and energy, and a game plan for his employees to make it happen. There, under a solitary lamp that remains lit as all others have departed, he plans on wings of hope, and as a new day emerges he once again attempts to motivate, to express his insight to a mundane and ignoble worker who may think little for the corporation, but his own selfish pursuits. What manifested Socialism can there be where weakened individual character for the good of the whole goes unfulfilled; where selfish concerns are primary and is the motivational core of most. “Doing your best and the rest will follow,” is not part of the typical liberal education. These same individuals will vegetate on their couches thinking what winning the lottery will do for their pitiful lives, as one day blends into another without change, without fulfillment, without pride, without a dream or worthy goal.
The true essence of the employer is the taking on of the essence of those under his charge. There is a constant weeding out process, where workers of poor quality are replaced with the hope of a potentially higher standard. It is in the interest of the business that is the primary reason the undeserving and inept find the door. Even those who have found themselves somehow “married” to the company, by governmental quotas, or nepotism, that bubble will someday pop and carry even these un-proficient workers to the street.
I have known true leaders, and my heart goes out to them as they tried to find fulfillment for dreams that sometimes go unnoticed, or unappreciated. I have also known the laborer who gives his heart and soul to his job for the responsibility that lays heavy on his shoulders. There are those who would rather patch his work boots with “duck tape” than to spend the money he considers needed by his family, and in silence. Our Country, our civilization, has been in constant need for both these men, and they are wanted everywhere. Without them no goal would be accomplished, and no dream aspired.
What man can take unto him the will to be honest and sincere, in a world that is mostly the opposite? What man can give frank assessment of a situation, and be open and unafraid enough to admit he doesn’t know, but with the fortitude enough to go forth and find out, or, if he thinks himself right, will not stand down. Who can have what it takes to accept others for their failings, and yet walk their talk to a degree where people will emulate them, inspired by example. There are men who can see the positive aspects of a worker, and by insight, utilize and motivate them to help themselves, without the need for threats or injunctions, but a force motivated for company good. These men are rare, so rare that once found they are rapidly propelled to the higher reaches of management, where responsibility is given, or rarer still, are found capable of formulating their own companies, where under their umbrella of dreams, utilize the system and their hard work for a higher potential.
Note: This is part of a recent letter I wrote to a new friend who had sent me an observation about the differences between GMC and Toyota. It expands what is written above, and shows that though we have our problems here, there is nowhere else on earth better… at least none that I have found.
“Japan was taught world capitalism from us after WW2. We gave that to help them get in step with the 20th century. Don't sell America short. We are at the top of the food chain for a reason, and if we fall it will be for a reason too, in my opinion, by liberal socialism’s anti morals and ethics, and anti accountability.
Japan does not have the same mindset as America. We are a land of individuals, where they pool together socialistically. Though we seem to be going this way by some liberal ideas and standards, something is sacrificed in the process, and it is against the basic premise and mindset that makes us so special and successful. Few people in Japan can attain a semblance of success unless born into it, or hand picked at an early age. A late bloomer, like me for instance, who didn't do well until collage, would have had little chance at success in Japan, and I would work a labor job to the end of my days.
I choose America, where a man can come from humble beginnings to seeing his company in the Fortune 500 by the time he is 30. An American can find that the cheese has moved, even later in life, and redirect his endeavors for a new plan, finding doors opened by hard work and hard won insight. In the long run socialism will fail, as it is not in man's nature to be handed anything, but to work, for his family, though now rare because of its systematic destruction by liberal ideals, a semblance of security and the longing hunger of unfulfilled dreams. Hunger is a great motivational factor for working, for food as the base, but also for the finer things in life that I have only seen America supply.”
Only by traveling can one get a true perspective of America. There is no place on earth like it, and we should safeguard it for our children’s children.”