Friday, May 23, 2014

A Tale of an Exemplary Employee

In August of 2009, my husband found a temporary job at SCKEDD (South Central Kansas Economic Development District).  I'm not even sure what his title was but the job he was hired to do was pretty menial office work.  Filing, answering phones, mailing letters, etc.  At that time, he had a Bachelor's Degree and was enrolled in the fall semester at WSU to pursue his Master's Degree.  That the work was beneath him (as far as education level) is an understatement.  But he did the work cheerfully, always doing more than what was required of him, and he gained the respect of his boss.  In December, SCKEDD offered him a permanent position.  Since that time, he's been moved to the SCKEDD warehouse, promoted to office manager, financial manager, and finally Controller, a job that he will assume on June 2.  I want to use my husband as an example of what an exemplary employee looks like. 

First, if you want to gain the respect of the people you work for and with, you have to be respectable.  This means: don't gossip, be on time for work, be at work as much as you possibly can (some people are notorious for calling in "sick" and they can't be relied upon), and don't complain about your job or other employees to anyone at your work.  Keeping your mouth shut is highly underrated.  If Daniel needs to vent, do you know who he vents to?  Me.  Not his boss, not the lady that has the office next to him, not the guy in the warehouse that he befriended.  If there's a valid concern, he will discuss it with the proper person but venting comes home with him. 

Second, you have to do more than just the items listed in your job description.  Why?  Because you have to prove that you are capable of handling more responsibilities and you're willing to take them on even when no one has asked you to do them.  This is huge.  While Daniel was in school for his Master's Degree and then studying for and getting his CPA license, he had his eye on the Controller position at SCKEDD.  It was the highest position in his field at that company and it was what he really wanted to do.  All the way along, he assumed job duties that no one else wanted to do.  He volunteered to do countless tasks, knowing that it would make his job more secure and give SCKEDD a reason to promote him.  Another thing that he's really good at and is continually doing is improving things.  He's a tinkerer and his motto is, even if something is working well, it can always work better.  He's always improving systems, trying to make them more accurate and less time-consuming. 

I know that some people will think that Daniel is just "lucky" and that's why he's done so well at SCKEDD.  Luck has nothing to do with it.  Now, was he blessed with bosses who recognized his abilities and a company that rewards hard work?  Yes.  I know not all companies are like that and some amazing employees are stuck because of bad management.  But in my experience, that's not the majority of cases.  The attitude these days seems to be that somebody (God, the government, my employer, my parents, whoever) owes me something.  Might I bust that delusional bubble and say that that's just not true.  Nobody owes you anything.  You have to work, and work hard, for what you want.  If you show up late for work most of the time (or even sometimes! there's rarely a good excuse for being late), you're obviously not a responsible person who cares about their job so why would your boss promote you?  And you complainers... do you think your whining deserves a raise?  Daniel says that there are many jobs he's done himself over the last few years because he knows that if he asks someone else to do them, he'll get a bunch of whining.  And this whining about having to do something that's "not my job" comes from the same people who whine about not getting a raise... imagine that.  My husband works late almost every day (I don't even call it late anymore... it's now the normal time he gets home).  He's worked Saturday's in the past and he'll be putting in at least a half day on Saturday for the next few months.  It's what he has to do to make sure his job is done well. 

A side-note: because Daniel does work a lot, when he comes home, he's home.  He leaves his job at the office (except for a short time of venting if he needs it but that's definitely not a daily occurrence) and is a wonderfully attentive father and husband.  I'm so grateful that our son has such a godly example to follow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Squirrel

This past week, my 14 month old son decided that he was going to go from two solid naps a day to one.  Up until now he's been sleeping an hour or two in the late morning and the same thing in the late afternoon.  But now when I put him down for a second nap, he won't sleep.  He's still good... no crying or screaming or anything.  He just plays with his animals and waits for me to come and get him.  I finally decided after a couple days to put him down for his one nap right after lunch.  He's good and tired by that time so he falls asleep quickly, sleeps soundly for a couple hours, and then is up and ready to go again until he runs out of energy in the evening.  Of course, this means less time to do things without him but I'm trying to include him in more of the chores around the house anyway so it's not all bad.

I saw something pretty sad this morning.  I went in to get Josiah up and when I opened his blinds, there was Oreo out in the yard, playing (read: torturing) a young squirrel.  I don't know that I've mentioned Oreo before so I'll tell you about him.  A few months ago, I noticed this pretty, black-and-white kitty hanging around in our yard.  He was thin and dirty and had obviously been involved in some battles with other animals.  I started putting some food out on our deck for him and he'd come up and eat after I went back inside.  Every day I worked on taming him and now he begs for attention when I go outside.  He's put on some weight and isn't near as dirty and I think he's staying out of trouble (for the most part) because he spends most of his time in our yard.  This has created a small problem though because my other two cats hate him.  They're always hissing at him but they're both pretty cowardly so they do it from the safety of the inside of the screen door.  I like Oreo but I know he's still a half-wild cat so I'm careful around him, I always wash my hands after I pet him, and I'm not overly surprised when he gets his own supper.  But catching a squirrel?  It was sad.  When it comes to cats catching anything, I always try to get the poor critter away from them.  Both of my cats are well-fed and Oreo certainly isn't starving anymore so they don't need to eat birds and mice and squirrels.  Anyway, I went running outside and scared Oreo away.  The poor little squirrel dragged himself over to one of the trees.  He painfully tried to climb up but fell back to the ground after only getting a foot up the tree.  He hobbled around the base of the tree, trying to find a hiding place.  I wanted to keep an eye on him to make sure Oreo didn't come back but Josiah and I hadn't had breakfast yet so I went back inside and we ate.  By the time we got back outside, the little squirrel had disappeared.  I looked for awhile and even let my cats outside but neither of them found anything.  He must've either crawled away or got up into a tree.  Some of you may wonder why I didn't just kill the squirrel, since it was obviously in pain.  Well, that's a tough call to make.  I know from a lifetime of being around cats that a lot of times, their hapless victims are more stunned and scared than anything.  If he was still sitting out there after a couple hours, I would've probably done something about it.  But since he was gone, I can only hope he's off in a hole in a tree somewhere, tending his wounds. 

My sister and bro-in-law brought over a kids pool for Josiah a couple weeks ago.  The weather has been cool recently but today it's supposed to be mid-90's so I set it up outside and put a few inches of water in it.  Hopefully by the time the kid gets up from his nap, the water won't be so cold and he can play in it.  Heck, he'd probably play in it if there were ice cubes floating in it!  I've very quickly realized that my son feels neither heat nor cold. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Yesterday was my second Mother's Day.  Although it's designed as a day to honor mothers (and rightly so... you should especially honor your mother on that day), I spent most of the day thinking about how honored and blessed and how much of a privilege it is to be a mother to my young son.  That God would see fit to entrust one of His precious children to me is amazing.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that without His grace in my life, I'd be totally unfit for the job.  Every single day, I make mistakes as a mother.  And that fact would crush me if it weren't for the more overwhelming fact that God makes up for my shortcomings.  He won't disappoint my son or let him down the way I will.  He loves my son much more than I ever could and I take comfort in that.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meriwether Lewis

This morning, I finished "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West."  Although I enjoy most books that I read, rarely do I find books that suck me in like this one did.  I was very sad when it ended - not only because it ended tragically but because I was left wanting more.  As good of a writer as Stephen Ambrose is, it's just not the same as actually seeing what the men of the Expedition saw... and that's what I want. 

The story ends tragically with Meriwether Lewis' suicide.  He had a lot of debt, drank heavily, probably suffered from attacks of malaria and the effects of syphilis, was mostly likely a manic-depressive, and, most depressing of all for him, believed that his beloved country and government no longer believed in him or trusted him.  After coming back from the Expedition, Thomas Jefferson appointed him Governor of Lousiana Territory.  For someone who had lived with and constantly conversed with Lewis for two straight years before the expedition, Jefferson's decision was a grave error of judgment and he should have known his friend better than that.  Lewis was no politician.  He was an officer, a woodsman, a hunter and fisherman, an adventurer.  For two and a half years during the Expedition, Lewis was pushed to the limits, physically and mentally.  He used every bit of his knowledge to describe and document the prairies, mountains, rivers, birds, fish, animals, and Indians that he encountered.  He made celestial observations so latitude and longitude could be pinpointed along the way.  He led his men in such a way that they were willing to follow him into the most dangerous situations with complete confidence in his ability to keep them safe.  His mistakes were extremely few.  One can't help but wonder how long Lewis would have lived if, rather than becoming a politician, he went back out on another expedition.  Leading men through the wilderness was what Meriwether Lewis should have been doing. 
And now I'm on to my next book, "One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd."  Evidently the book is about a thousand women who volunteered to marry into the Indian tribes in the west to help civilize them and turn them into normal American citizens - the government's idea of course.  I've never heard of this program before so I'm excited to start reading.  Should be interesting!