I don’t watch a lot of television, but I do have a favorite show. I have been a fan of “24” since it first aired. Season 8 begins this January.
There is a line in the show that seems to come up several times every season. Most often the line is delivered by the main character, Jack Bauer. Only, Jack doesn’t just deliver the line, he usually yells it at some suspicious character, as he tries to find out who is behind yet another potential catastrophe.
Jack yells, “Who do you work for?” And most of the time he repeats the question once or twice with even more intensity. That’s because he is Jack Bauer, and he is trying to save the world.
Actually, when you think about it, that really is a really good question. Not just in the context of the TV show, but in the context of our own lives. Who do you work for? If you ask that question to a number of people you might get a wide variety of answers.
Some may just answer with the name of their company. Others might name the supervisor they work for. Still others might pessimistically say, “I’m just working for ‘the man’ like everybody else.”
Before I tell you who you really work for, let’s consider work ethic. Some people do as little as possible on the job because they feel that are not getting paid enough. They have an attitude of, “Why should I work hard when they don’t pay me enough?” And so they do enough to get by, but usually, the quality of their work is inferior.
Others do a good job, but think it is unfair that the “bosses” make so much more money than they do. They feel that their hard work is just making the bosses richer, while they have to slave away to just get by.
In the days that we are living in, many people have been laid off and are now seeking new employment elsewhere. However, wherever they do get hired, they will bring with them the same work ethic that they had before. And suppose that the new job pays less than what the old job paid, then what?
That’s exactly what has happened to me. I was laid off in December of 2008, right before Christmas. Can you imagine that? Being laid off is bad enough, but right before the holidays? That is definitely some added fuel if someone wanted to play the sympathy card and host a number of pity parties. No thank you! Not me.
Here is my point. The job I recently got does not pay me anywhere near what I was earning at the old job. So, how do I approach my work at the new job? Do I work harder and do my best only if they pay me what I was earning at the old job? No. Am I doing just do enough to get by, because, after all this job doesn’t pay very much? No.
I am just as dedicated and disciplined to do my absolute best regardless of what the pay is because that is a part of who I am; that is the work ethic that I have developed. And, I continue to learn and grow and expand my skill sets and my abilities because I am really working for myself.
Who do you work for? Very few people realize that no matter where you are employed, you are always working for yourself. If the way you work is determined by your salary, then you have a lousy work ethic, and you are limiting yourself.
Many people feel unappreciated at their job. They feel that their talents and abilities go unrecognized. That may be true. But never allow that to stop you from increasing your own skill set and abilities. If your present employer doesn’t recognize your value and worth, don’t worry; someday, someone else will.
Those who have developed a good work ethic not only perform at their best, but they are consistently improving their skills. They are concerned about improving their abilities so that they will have more to offer. In other words, they are increasing their worth and value as an employee. Improving your skills and abilities will also allow you to move into other avenues of earning money.
If your work ethic needs a “makeover,” begin today. Start changing your bad habits into good habits by remembering that you are really working for yourself. You are who you are, and you will take that with you wherever you go.
And, if Jack Bauer happens to grab you by the collar and yell, “Who do you work for?” you can simply tell him, “Me.”