The RT’s son recently got a job at a local burger place. Since it was his first job, the RT thought he should offer some fatherly advice about work and work ethic. As the RT pondered these pearls of sage advice, he decided that they should be committed to writing and shared.
The following are principles that are guaranteed to help you succeed in life.
The RT learned them from a skinny kid who went to work for the Cotton Belt Railroad as a telegrapher when he was 16 years old, then retired 43 years later from the same railroad as Superintendent – a position that was called President when he started. That skinny kid/successful railroad man was the RT’s Daddy (aka Papa RT) and he was, is and always will be the RT’s role model.
Some of these principles were shared verbally. Others were lived out in Papa RT’s own life. And the rest come from the RT’s personal observations and experience while applying them.
These principles don’t guarantee that you’ll be rich or that you’ll have everything your heart desires. But they do guarantee success in the real-world sense of the word. They will make you feel good about yourself and what you do. They will create an environment in which you can make a difference. And they’ll make a better you.
Here they are, in some vague semblance of order:
- Nobody owes you anything. That’s right … Nothing. Nobody owes you a job. Nobody owes you insurance. Nobody owes you retirement benefits. Nobody owes you a raise. Nobody owes you a promotion. Some employers offer these things and some don’t. But regardless, you’ll have to work for everything you get.
- It’s not about you. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Get used to it. Your job on this earth is to work and serve and take care of others. Focus on what you can do for others and you may find that your needs get met along the way.
- Work hard. Don’t be idle. Do your job. Do the other guy’s job. Do jobs nobody else wants to do. Do all that’s asked of you. Then do more. If something needs to be done, do it. Don’t wait to be told. Show initiative.
- Stay busy. When you’re on company time, you work for the Company. You don’t check Facebook. You don’t do Snapchat. You don’t talk on your phone to your friends. You work for the Company. You do your job. You do what the Company asks of you – unless it’s illegal, unethical or immoral.
- Make yourself valuable. If you have idle time, learn the other guy’s job. Make yourself more valuable to the company. Minimum skills equal minimum pay. Increase your skills, your pay will follow. Build your skills and learn the other guy’s job so you’ll be the most qualified when the Boss needs somebody to fill a more responsible role.
- Respect the Boss. Remember that the Boss is not always right, but he or she is always the Boss. And that makes them right in that moment. Unless your name is on the door, you don’t call the shots. The Boss does. Be respectful – all the time.
- Be on time. No, be early. Stay late. Come in on weekends. Work until the work is done, not until the clock strikes 5pm. Clock-watching is for those who don’t want to succeed.
- Be honest. Completely honest. Honest to a fault. Prove to the Boss that you can be trusted with little things and he or she might give you bigger things.
- Admit your failures. Tell on yourself when you screw up. Take whatever comes, then get up and get back at it. The only time you are a failure is when you don’t get back up.
- Be careful with your mouth. If you work hard and prove yourself, you may earn the right to provide feedback. But don’t be surprised if the Boss puts you in your place if you offer comments before that time comes. Especially if you smart off in so doing.
- Be an adult. Don’t expect your boss to coddle you, motivate you, encourage you or understand you. Work is not a daycare – it’s a job, where you are expected to perform. Do your job well, and let a job well done be your motivation.
- Do whatever it takes. Eliminate the phrase “that’s not my job” from your vocabulary. To be successful, make everything your job. If you see a piece of trash on the floor, pick it up. If the sink in the bathroom is a mess, wipe it down. If there’s no coffee, make some. Nothing should be “beneath you”. Show the Boss that you’ll do anything to make the Company successful. Then he or she might let you do something important.
- Support your coworkers. Don’t cover for a slacker, but help coworkers when they need it. Show the Boss that you care about his or her reputation – and the Company’s – enough to do someone else’s work, if necessary. Be a leader among your peers. Raise them to your level; don’t drop to theirs.
- Make things better. If you don’t like the environment in which you work, change it. Be the change you want to see. If the company doesn’t appreciate your efforts, then find a new place to work. Don’t complain.
- Life is not fair. You may do all of these things and not get a single thing for your efforts. But know that you did your dead-level best and determine to keep trying. Stay at it and it will pay off.
- Hard work always pays off. Even if it doesn’t come with a raise, a promotion or recognition, it makes you stronger. It makes you a better person. And that, my friend, is the real definition of “successful”.
There you go. Papa RT’s secrets for success. They worked for him and they’ll work for you. And they’ll work everywhere – not just at work.
It’s never too late to start applying them.
Best, The Rambling Texan