Sunday, February 17, 2013

Joe Lunchbucket's Day

"Work sucks!"

And so began "Why Work Isn't Working Anymore," and as true to today as it was when Fritz Aldrine and I published that book in 2004. The number of employees happy and satisfied with their jobs continues to auger into workplace abyss. There are many reasons - absence of meaningful work, unfulfilling workplace relationships, and for most, nomdiscernable way of ever making their work pay off, as in not having to work anymore. For many, it is difficult to find a reason to go to work on an after-tax basis if there is another alternative that will buy a table and put food on it . . .

"Joe wakes up for work. He shuts off the alarm on his phone which was taxed when he bought it, and taxed every month. He throws off his sheets, which were taxed, and rolls out of bed. His bed was also taxed.

He lives in an apartment for which he also pays property tax indirectly because his landlord's taxes are built into Joe's rent. He rushes out the door after quickly showering and brushing his teeth, all accomplished with things which are taxed at purchase, and with hot water which is also taxed.

Joe frowns when he walks out to the street and finds a parking ticket on his car, another tax. He has no where else to park. He drives to work in a car which was taxed when he bought it, and he's taxed when he renews his license to drive it, renews the registration, pays his car insurance every month, and pays taxes to the state and the federal government when he buys gas. On his way, Joe grabs a coffee and a sandwich at a local shop, which is taxed.

As Joe sits down at his desk, his boss calls him in for a chat. Joe's boss informs him that he's being laid off because Joe's (ex)employer can no longer keep so many full time employees because of new health care taxes. On his way out, Joe grabs his check, which is taxed for retirement, unemployment, health care, and income.

On his way home, Joe stops at the local grocery store to stock up with his last paycheck. He realizes all of the prices are higher than last month, taxed via inflation.

Joe is every American, and each of us have varied yet similar stories. Think of your average day, from the moment you wake to the moment you fall asleep, and think of all the ways in which you're paying for government; local, state, and federal.

Then, just think of how much more comfortably you would be living if even half of that money could be retained by you, your family, and your friends.

And finally, realize what that money is. From a penny to a one hundred dollar bill, each second, minute, and hour working is represented. This is time spent away from those things you enjoy to do, and time spent away from your loved ones. It is not your income being taken. It is your life."

Via "If Libertarians Are Crazy, I Don't Want To Be Sane"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

5 Lessons On How To Treat People

I have seen several of these anecdotes before, but not in one place. As I am traveling this night to another troubled workplace, I am reminded of the simple lessons worth our careful consideration and application inside our workplaces.

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read

The last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely, " said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant.. They
deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached.

It read:

"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying Husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient..

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the twble. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Live with no regrets, Treat people the way you want to be treated, Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt, and Dance like you do when nobody's watching.