Learning Lessons

By Charlie Daniels | January 10, 2014 | 3:30pm EST

When I go I to a fast food place and find a sullen teenager behind the counter who acts as if they're doing you a favor just to take your order and that they'd rather be having a root canal done than what they're doing, you start thinking, "Kid you may as well get used to doing this job because, with your attitude, you're never going to rise above it."

A few years ago, I was at an airport, standing at a car rental counter with a lot of other people who were trying to rent a car and get on with their business with three young people who were in bad need of a Dale Carnegie course, listening to a young woman behind the counter explain to somebody that she had to work late while frustrated customers were waiting on service.

Needless to say, it took a long trying time to get a rental car.

I haven't done business with that rental agency since then. I figure, if they don't have any more regard for their customers than to expose them to this kind of indifference and incompetence, I would give my business to someone who would appreciate it.

There is a very dangerous and damaging attitude amongst a lot of our young people: that the world owes them something, that they should be able to just show up with a lackadaisical attitude, do just enough work to get by and draw a paycheck and get promotions right along with the guy who busts his hump for eight hours a day and gives a day's work and a little extra for a day's pay.

I knew long before I entered the work force that I would be working for a living all my life and was taught at home that you should do a good job at whatever you attempted to do - that, if you were going to take on a job, to do it well regardless of what you were being paid.  If you agreed to work for a certain price, you did what needed to be done in a timely fashion. Nobody forced you to take the job and if you're going to take the man's money you were obligated to give the man an honest day's work.

I also knew that entry-level jobs were not supposed to be careers, only the first stepping-stone on the way to better things as you proved by being efficient at lesser things that you could handle the responsibility to manage bigger things and be rewarded accordingly.

I also knew that, if I could make myself valuable to one employer and he was not willing to compensate me accordingly, there was another employer who would.

I have nothing against unions; in fact, I belong to two good ones that have done a great job of regulating scales, protecting the workplace and helping to ensure my future. But they don't force people to hire me, much less keep me on if I'm not doing the job they hired me for.

I am responsible for procuring my own employment; setting my own price and providing the caliber of performance that would make them want to bring me back again and again.

I also know that if I demand such a price that the promoter can't make money, he will not have me back again and that of his own volition, the union cannot and would not force him to pay more than he can afford.

All my musicians belong to the union, but if they can't or won't do the job, I can fire them with impunity, no questions asked. I can't have weak links and the unions don't expect me to.

I don't, and never have, had a "union mentality" or an attitude that if I was not efficient, industrious and was disruptive in the workplace anybody could protect me from the ax, and that's as it should be.

When unions protect laziness, inefficiency and slackness in the work place, they are not doing their membership any favors. The label Union Made used to be proudly displayed on a variety of articles and meant that that the product had been produced by workers who took pride in what they were doing and you could expect quality with anything bearing that label.

What it all boils down to is that, if you want to get ahead in the world, you need to look in the mirror and see the person whose responsibility it is to get you there.

You want to make something out of yourself? Well, there is no yellow brick road, but there are a few proven principles that work when energetically applied.

Be the first one to get there and the last one to leave, never be late and be willing to stay around after the whistle blows if there's a need.

Always be willing to say, "I'll do it" - and when you do, do it right.

Learn all you can about the business you work in and be ready and qualified for a step up when the opportunity arises.

Try to get along with everybody, since courtesy and friendliness go a long way and make you an approachable, open person fellow workers and superiors like being around.

If you're in a position of dealing with customers, remember that they are the lifeblood of industry, the ones who pay your salary, and treat them like royalty. When they return and seek you out because of the way you treated them before, and when it happens often enough, you can bet it will get the bosses attention.

It's out there for you if you're willing to go for it, if you're willing to sacrifice and take responsibility for your own future.

Opportunity never knocks the door down, but if you listen hard enough, you can hear its gentle tapping.

What do you think?

Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

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