When it comes down to the basics in common decency I believe and treating people with respect is essential if you want to get favors and respect in return. When I started my summer landscaping job for my father, I had four different houses to tend to and work for each week. They were in a retirement community in Las Vegas, Nevada.
One of the houses belonged to the H’s. I worked four hours a day at their house to make a “river” of rocks going around the house. Every day before beginning my work, I would knock on the door of the house, greet them, and let them know I was about to do my four hours for the day. After about two weeks of this procedure I started to get free food from them along with the payment of eighty dollars a day. By the end of the summer, I got a six hundred dollar bonus in cash from them because of my hard, respectful work for them. In the end, just getting along with the people I did landscaping for was worth the friendly greeting each day so I wasn’t stressed.
With my other three houses, I did the same thing but with one in particular. I would water the plants once a week so they would grow nicer which was only about ten minutes of free unpaid work a week. By doing this for a while the residents noticed and began to bring me free ice cold delicious water each day without me asking. I would bring a bottle of fresh cold water but receiving more fresh water everyday was truly a treat. Especially when the summer of Las Vegas rarely went below one-hundred degrees. So me doing extra watering once a week, resulted in free ice cold water to drink, and then led to a good relationship with the people I worked for.
After about a week I realized that this kindness results in a good relationship with the people who pay me or even a treat. Since obviously this worked after a week of working for my third house, I began to play a little bit with the dog they had in the backyard. It didn’t slow down my work. I was doing such as leaf blowing all the leaves each day to keep the rocky and cacti garden neat looking. Being playful with the dog each day didn’t go unnoticed. So after a while, when the owners of this third house had to go to the store or leave town. They would pay me big bucks to either watch the dog for a day while they were at the store. Or drop by a couple times a day when I came to work in order to give the dog some attention, food, and water. Just for working at the same time they were gone, I got paid double per hour, but when the residents were out of town this twenty dollars per hour turned into an additional one hundred dollars per day for keeping the dog alive as they were out of town. Obviously this method has worked in my experience by being kind to people especially to the ones who pays you money for the job you do.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.