We are all volunteers in the workplace.

26 02 2015

“Men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage – they’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry.” ~Rita Rudner

A funny quote from one of my favorite comedians.  Must be true, too – I have an earring, and I’ve been happily married for just over 20 years!  There’s a story behind why a “grown up” executive-type-dude might still be wearing an earring:  I spent 3 years in the Army, and during that time, I, along with my fellow soldiers were, indeed, Government property.  One soldier who got a bad sunburn while at the community pool in Germany got convicted of “destruction of government property” – namely, himself, and was busted down in rank, with a lot of extra duty.  So I wasn’t allowed to get my ear pierced while in the service.  More specifically, I could get it pierced if I wanted to, but couldn’t wear an earring on duty, and anyone with a pierced ear knows that you have to wear the first one for several weeks for the hole to be permanent-ish.

The veryday I got out of the Army, I got my ear pierced, because I was back to owning my own body.  I keep it in to this day as a reminder that no matter how bad work gets, going to my job is my own choice.  No matter how stressful, crummy, dramatic, etc.  my job might become (occasionally), I always have the option to quit.  Our civilian jobs are all voluntary – we exchange some of our time for money.  Not only should we remember that as workers, but as leaders, we MUST remember that our teams volunteer to work for us.  Treat them right, and don’t give them an excuse to leave, because the best will always be the first to leave a crummy situation.  That’s why you’ll rarely hear me give an order.  Instead, I try to phrase it as polite request.

Speaking of pierced…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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