This I Believe

Gary - Alanson, Michigan
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I was sitting in the employee lounge, early one day before work, when I heard the usual chitchat starting to ring in my ears. I questioned why I continually put myself through this. The last 15 years have not been easy listening to the continuous finger-pointing, the reckless unsubstantiated accusations being tossed about, and the ever typical it’s not my job. I tried to dismiss it, but today I couldn’t. I’m usually not thin skinned about anything at work, but their voices stuck to me like we were two pieces of Velcro. Maybe it was time for a vacation I thought? A few Months later I came across a quote, “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” the situation took on a new meaning.

I could see the focus being shifted away from hard work and being placed on simple greed. It looked like they somehow replaced being leaders in their own lives to become slaves to someone else’s? Everyone wanted a paycheck but no one wanted the responsibility.

I don’t attend a lot of managerial meetings because I generally work evenings. However, I do have an occasion to bump into the owner of the company. Being a familiar face to me, I stopped him one evening and asked what he thought of the ideas that were presented earlier? He said, “It’s always about the money.” Not understanding why he said this, I walked away confused. Shortly after this, I was down wind of a managerial meeting and it smelled like something had died. These people didn’t appear interested in the work either. It appeared that management and labor had finally run this ship a ground.

It took the better part of 15 years with this company, but I did connect the dots. It led me to I believe that there was only a handful of responsible people keeping this ship afloat and one day that wasn’t enough. I’m not implying the owner of the company was responsible for this cancer, but I will say this, the greater the opportunity, the greater the responsibility. Had he somehow stopped believing in the work and had become a slave too?

For me quotes like, “The buck stops here” have a tremendous amount of significance. This company doesn’t exist any longer. Nor do many others across America just like it today. To me this is saying, “The buck doesn’t stop here” and hasn’t for quite some time. Have I been content to settle for a paycheck without accepting the responsibility becoming a slave also? I believe I’ve been given a choice. Am I interested in becoming my own leaders or am I more interested in becoming slaves to ideologies that violate my core values? The choice has always been mine to make. The buck does stop here!