Missing the Point

An article in today’s West Australian had Nick Marvin (Perth Wildcats CEO) getting stuck into Gen Ys for not having the same work ethic as previous generations.

He says pejoratively that they talk about having a work / life balance… as if its something to be shunned.

Marvin states, ‘the heavy focus which young employees placed on “work-life balance” was affecting the efficiency of businesses.’

Seriously?… As if the efficiency of business is the top priority…

He goes on to say: “I grew up with my parents working 12 to 13-hour days. I don’t know anyone in my organisation under the age of 24 who works longer than I do. They are obsessed about work-life balance.”

If that’s your idea of life then I’m right with the Gen Y’s. I reckon I have a damn good work ethic, but there’s no way I’m working 60-70 hours a week and claiming that as virtue. I’ll call it foolishness or ‘being trapped’, but let’s not keep the myth alive that spending your life at work is a good idea.

Maybe the Gen Y’s don’t have quite the same work ethic as previous gens (and plenty do) but maybe they can teach us how to actually enjoy life rather than work it away…

Or maybe I’m a Gen Y in disguise…

What’s It Worth?

What do you do when you run a business, turn up to do a job and discover it only takes you two minutes?

I charge $65.00 + GST for the first half hour, which is pretty much standard for retic blokes, but it always seems a bit much if its a two minute job and ‘on the way home’.

I don’t mind charging that if people get me to drive a reasonable distance or make a special trip, but last week I had two very small jobs back to back where I’m sure I could have hit the person for the full amount, but I knew that wasn’t fair or reasonable.

Job 1 was a small job for an older couple who call me every year without fail. I had estimated $80.00 over the phone. I wasn’t sure if it really was a ‘small job’, as I’ve heard that before and sometimes it isn’t a small job at all… However she ended up calling half an hour before I was to come to let me know she had lost the cash she was going to pay me. I told her I’d swing by on my way home and fix it for free as she was a regular. I ended up taking 3 minutes to replace a dripper. What would you charge for that anyway?…

Then the next job involved removing a riser and screwing one back in. Five minutes tops.

The process I take with these jobs is to tell people what I usually charge, but then invite them to choose a figure they think its fair. I reckon its a winner because no one ever feels ripped off when they get to choose the amount – and it also appeals to people’s better nature.

She chose $50.00 and we were all happy.

So I reckon that’s the answer. Put the ball back in their court and let them choose a figure they think is fair. So far everyone has been fair to generous in how they have responded. One person even paid me more than was due…

Changing the Tone… Because You Can

This week we did some work for a family in the local area who have obviously been blessed with money or have managed to earn a hefty slab of it. They live in a beachfront home which occupies the entire block of land it is built on and their backyard is the block next door which they also own.

When I went to do the quote I was greeted by two warm friendly people who gave me a family block of chocolate and a bottle of coke. A little odd I thought, but nice too… I like chocolate… Who doesn’t?…

We got the job and Danelle went down to spray the weeds before bobcat work began. She was given a block of Lindt chocolate and a drink and the kids who were waiting in the car were also given a drink and a bag of snakes.

Maybe they do this for everyone?…

Yesterday when I rolled up to do the job at 7.00am I saw Mark, the truck driver from the turf company on his forklift with a big smile and next to him a block of chocolate and a bottle of coke… Mark has been feeling the pinch lately and not smiling as much so the change was noticeable.

As I met the owner that morning he excused himself for a moment, ducked into the fridge and came out with two blocks of chocolate for Phil and I as well as two cokes… Phil was as bemused as I was initially. Unusual… but nice… I could get used to this… (or I could learn from it)

We set to work and it was a big and fairly difficult job. At morning tea time we were blessed with drinks and biscuits and then at lunch time when another helper had arrived we were each given a ‘Heaven’ ice cream. It evoked some laughter – good laughter – because it was great to be treated and quite a novelty.

We kept working until late in the day – it took an extra couple of hours to complete the work – but it was done with a sense of joy and a desire to really go the extra mile for people who had completely unnecessarily chosen to go the extra mile for us.

I discovered this morning that while I was off doing some work in the rear courtyard the owner of the home had come out to see the two guys working with me and given then $50.00 each because she had never seen young guys work so hard.

You could say ‘They are obviously wealthy and can afford it. So what?’ but that would be missing the point that they have obviously made it a conscious choice to be extremely generous and to bless people with their wealth. I have worked for plenty of wealthy people who have been nowhere near as gracious and kind so its not a function of wealth.

Its a choice to live in a way that is different.

And what it did was change the tone in the environment around them. It brought warmth, joy and happiness. Reality is we are all wealthy compared to someone else and we can all make the choice to be generous and to change the tone around us if we want to.

Again I catch a glimpse of the kingdom of God in everyday life and I am challenged to consider how I bless others in the course of life.

Because I can…