Category Archives: Career & Job

Everyone Should Try to be a Hero Like James Robertson

Do you ever not feel like making that 20 mile or so round trip commute to work.  What if you had to no car and didn’t live near a bus stop?  Would you walk?  James Robertson did just that.  In fact, for the last ten years Robertson has walked to and from his factory job in Detroit.  Round-trip he hikes a near marathon each day – twenty one miles – through some less-than-friendly parts of the city.  There are all kinds of legitimate reasons to miss a day of work – you get sick, the weather turns south, and sometimes life just gets in the way.  Yet Robertson has a perfect attendance record.

I saw this Under Armour commercial the other day in which Jamie Foxx quotes Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do.”

To complete the quote, “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Robertson is a great example of this.  Everyday he goes above and beyond what most people would do for a job just by showing up.  To me, James Robertson is a hero.  Someone kids can look up to and say, “that’s who I want to be when I grow up.”

People like Robertson are rare these days.  Why is that?  Couldn’t more people do what he does?  When we hear the word “hero”, we typically don’t think of someone like Robertson.  We usually envision a superhero figure or a someone who does a single heroic act like saving someone from an oncoming train, or rescuing someone from a raging river.  These types of heroes are important, don’t get me wrong, but, not everyone has the courage, the physical aptitude, or the opportunity to perform such a heroic act.  On the other hand, anyone can be James Robertson.  All it takes is drive.

So, how do you find that drive?  Find happiness in your job.  Aristotle also said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves”.  You may have a boring, dirty, exhausting job that no one else in their right mind would ever choose to do.  That’s okay. Not everyone can be a professional athlete or a movie star.  Take pride in what you do, show up on time, and strive to be the best at what you do.  Do this everyday for the next ten years and you will be happy.  In my mind, you’ll also be a hero, just like James Robertson.

By the way, the humble Robertson was recently rewarded for his hard work.  His new friend, Blake Pollock, teamed up with a Ford dealership in Detroit to give him a brand new Ford Taurus.

How Much Do You Love Your Job?

According to this Business Insider article, the Orange County Register is asking its employees to pitch in and deliver newspapers early in the morning.  Apparently the paper is having issues with their normal delivery service.  So, they need journalists and other newsroom employees to step up and help out.  According to the paper’s editor, Rob Curley, the situation is temporary.

This begs the question, do you love your job and how much?  Would you be willing to do tasks that are not in your job description to help you company through tough times?  If you were a journalist for the Register, would you volunteer to deliver newspapers?  If you worked at an office job and the cleaning crew suddenly quit, would you pitch in and help empty trash cans or clean the bathrooms?  If you were a package delivery driver and your company needed help manning the customer service phone lines, would you stay late and help out?

There are two basic factors involved in determining if you loving your job.  Do you love what you do and do you love where you do it?  You may enjoy being a computer programmer, but if you don’t enjoy who you work for and who you work with, you may not love your job overall.  Same thing goes if you love the people you work with, but don’t like what you do.

If you’re not sure you love your job, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do you love Mondays?

Do you dream about work?

Do you enjoy working extra hours?

Do you show up early and/or leave late?

Would you do your job for less money?

Do you go on vacation and, after only a couple days, can’t wait to get back to work?

If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you don’t love your job.  And, if you don’t love your job, you may not be willing to go the extra mile when your company needs you.

Want More Money? Work Hard

Have you ever seen that show on the Discovery Channel called “Dirty Jobs?”  The host, Mike Rowe, would tag along for a day as an assistant doing jobs that most people would find dirty, disgusting, or difficult.  One of the first episodes I remember watching featured a septic tank cleaner and a fisherman that fished for catfish with his bar hands (noodling is what I think it’s called).

Rowe recently mentioned that most of the people he featured on Dirty Jobs were millionaires.  That’s right!  These were people doing jobs that most people would never do and making tons of money doing it.  How is this possible?  They worked their butts off.  If you do the same, can you start making more money?  I say yes.

Now, this doesn’t mean you need to go out and find the dirtiest job in existence to start raking in the dough.  But, you can start look at what qualities make these “dirty job” professionals successful and apply them to your own job…

Out work everyone.  Get to work early, stay late, and volunteer for any “dirty” task that no one else wants to do.

Say yes.  Don’t say no to an assignment just because it sounds hard.  Accept it as a challenge and do you best to exceed all expectations.  If you don’t know how to do something, find someone who does know and ask if you can shadow them until you learn for yourself.

Enjoy your job.  It seems like most of the folks that Mike Rowe came across found some way to love what they do.  If a guy can love cleaning septic tanks, you can certainly love your own job just as much, if not more.

Be grateful for the job you have.  So what if you’re not working for one of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.  Take matters into your own hands and do what you can to make your company a great place to work.  Start laying the groundwork for a great culture.  Recognize your coworkers who work hard and enjoy what they do.  Become a mentor and a role model that others can learn from and look up to.

Do something else.  If all else fails, and you feel like this isn’t the job for you or your hard work seems to go unnoticed, find something else.  Or better yet, start your own business.  But, don’t jump ship until you’ve actually landed that other job.