I think most people would agree they could get a little better at managing their money. Let's face it, life is tough, the economy is (cue record scratch noise here), well who cares! It's really only our individual economic state that matters to us, right? Don't get me wrong, I love our country and I want the economy to be healthy and for everyone to have a job. But at the end of the day, if I'm in debt and feeling broke, that just sucks.
Work Hard; Play Harder.
Think about how our society views debt. For starters, we have a $17 trillion National Debt. What example are we setting for the millennial generation when we raise the debt ceiling every time we max out our limit? Not only that, according to a report last week in TIME called Americans Are Taking on Debt at Scary High Rates, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated that American consumers are in debt to the tune of $11.52 trillion. That includes mortgages, auto loans, student loans and credit card debt. So, if their parents are $11.52 trillion in debt and the country is $17 trillion in debt, what message are millennials receiving? I know my own parents used to say, "Save up, and then spend it." Today the slogan seems to be, "Got Debt?"
I have to be honest, I didn't always get the message my parents were sending. Sometimes we stereotype our parent's spending habits. Parents can be good at planning or spending, or saving, but kids can view it as being a tight wad, thinking, “My mom is so cheap.” Sometimes kids rebel against that. I didn't have a credit card when I was in college, but when I graduated and discovered them, I didn't get just one. No, I got six! Every time I was asked if I'd like to save 10% today by getting a credit card I said, "YES! Sign me up!" I bought a $30,000 Toyota MR2 T-Top Convertible sports car as my first car out of college... with no money down. My girlfriend went to Liverpool, England for a semester and I went to visit for a week. All paid for on credit. (Although, she did eventually marry me, so maybe that wasn't such a bad move.)
I made every mistake in the book. I even bought a second car with no money down. A Nissan Pathfinder, because...you know...I needed something to drive in the winter. So my two car payments were higher than my apartment rent. I lived paycheck to paycheck. The bigger my paycheck was, the more I spent. Paying the minimum on my cards, missing a payment, you name it. And when I paid late, I was rewarded with a rate increase from 12% to 24%. Six credit cards at 24% interest is not easy to get rid of.
Spend it while you've got it.
Listen, I get it. We live in a world of easy access and instant gratification. Spend it, and then work to pay it off. It seems, these days, most people work for their creditors. When was the last time we paid cash for something that cost more than $20?
What about student debt? No job, but hey, a free tee-shirt for filling out a credit application my first day on campus? I'm in! The credit card companies know you'll get a job eventually...right?
Be careful. It's easy to say, "I've had a hard day / exam / semester... I deserve to treat myself." Most people only look at their credit card statement at the end of the month. Ever say to yourself, "Wow! I spent that much?" I think most of us have been taken by surprise one time or another.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against credit cards if they are used for important expenditures and they are paid off at the end of the month. But, hyper consumption is not okay. I have seen so many students get in over their head with credit card debt. I can even understand why. There is so much stuff to buy these days. And marketers have certainly figured out what makes us want to get that new must have widget. What cracks me up is that we stick our noses up at any app for the phone that costs more than a buck, but will spend $9 on lunch at Saladworks without hesitation...because, you know, it's good for you. I do love Saladworks.
However, if you make $45,000 per year, assuming you are taking home around $30,000 of that after taxes, you'd have to work for 40 minutes just to pay for your lunch that day. That's probably okay occasionally, but maybe a bad idea every day. And if you are stopping at Starbucks on the way to work and then later buying lunch, make it a full hour of your workday spent on those two decisions. Just food for thought.
Lunch → $9 → $9 x 30 days = $270 per month x 12 months = $3240 per year = $64,800 in 20 years.
Bring lunch → FREE → invest the $64,800 = retire with dignity as the interest from your money compounds over time.
I cringe every time I hear someone say, "You'll always have a car payment". Today, I have no debt. It has opened up the opportunity to save and give at a whole new level. Here is where I started.
I love these two questions from Thomas J. Stanley's book The Millionaire Next Door.
1. Do you have a clearly defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, and lifetime goals?
2. How much time do you spend planning your financial future?
"Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging? They look like they don’t even need to jog, which is why they look so fit. People that are wealthy are they same way. People that are not financially fit do little to change their status." - Thomas J. Stanley
So what do we need to do?
For starters, have a spending plan. Affluent people look at their finances at least once per week. Look at your expenditures. Write them down. If you like clothes, that's great; plan for that expenditure. How much can you spend per month on clothes? If you like to eat out, how much can you spend per month on restaurants? Part of the problem is that we tend to forego planning where to spend our money. Taking the time each month to budget and then checking in once per week to see how you're doing will get you on the right path.
The other half of the missing equation is that we don't track what we spend, so we get caught off guard. Here's my challenge to you. For the next 10 days put yourself on a FAST START to managing money and TAKING CONTROL. Write down every penny you spend in a notebook. Keep it with you. Even if you buy a gum-ball for a quarter, write it down. Better yet, do this for the next 30 days. Add it up at the end of the month. This will help you find where you are overspending. You might be surprised to find out that you are pretty much single handily keeping your favorite convenience store in business. Just so you know, that's not your responsibility.
Who becomes wealthy?
Looks can be deceiving. Two of our newly promoted, fresh out of college, district managers approached me at a conference. They were checking out my suit. One said to the other while dusting off my shoulder, “See what our top executives can afford?” To which I replied, "I got it at Joseph A. Banks." Don't get me wrong, I have some $1000+ suits, but I'm in sales and I won a few 5 star shopping sprees in my day. When it's my money, I prefer to look good for a lot less. Be careful of people that look like a million bucks, maybe they have it, but more often than not they are all hat and no cattle.
According to Dr. Thomas Stanley's research, 80% of America’s millionaires are 1st generation rich. (So, you're saying there's a chance) ... why not start now!?!
Most people don’t retire with what they wanted because they keep putting it off. After I graduate college, after I get my car paid off, after I get married, after I get a house, after we have our first child, after we have our second, after they graduate college, after my daughter gets married, once the mortgage is paid off...then I'll start saving more aggressively for retirement.
Talk to your accountant or a financial advisor about your options for saving for retirement. Depending on your annual income, you may be able to invest your money into a Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, SEP, or one of several other investment tools. These vehicles can have huge tax advantages. If you are young and just getting started, a family member's trusted advisor will likely offer you the advice you need to get the ball rolling. If you want to interview several financial advisors, check out 10 Questions to ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor from Forbes.com.
The Path to Financial Success
1) Have an emergency fund. The goal is at least three months of your total "must have" expenses. Meaning if you lost your job, the things you wouldn't get rid of, like food, rent or mortgage, utilities, etc. If you have debt currently, and no emergency fund, put $1000 in a savings account as soon as possible for now. Don't have a $1000 for now? Sell some stuff that you don't need. Get the emergency fund started. Then tackle the debt.
2) Handle debt carefully. It's not the end of the world if you have debt. It took time to get in, it takes time to get out. The more aggressive and determined you are, the faster it will disappear. And the faster you will turn your financial future around.
3) Balance savings with debt reduction. Being good at saving is just like being good at racking up debt. It's not like you have to save a boat load all at once. Just save a little every week (10-15% of your take home pay for example). Soon you will be amazed at how much you have saved. Kinda like being amazed at how much you put on your credit card last month.
4) Set some goals. When will you be out of debt? When will you have a three month emergency fund set up? When will you have $5000 invested? When will you hit your next investment milestone: $10k, $25k, $50k, $100k and so on.
5) Get educated. I listened to audio books about investing, read money magazines, and watched CNBC until I understood the lingo. You should understand where your money is going, how to avoid unnecessary fees, and how to make your money work for you. I did this when I was in debt. Even though I wasn't ready to start investing yet, it kept me motivated to get to the point where I could start working on my investment milestones.
6) Find a financial mentor. Someone that has done what you want to do and take them out to breakfast or lunch. Ask for advice. They'll love sharing it. Don't you love sharing your opinion on things you're good at?
7) Most importantly, TAKE ACTION! There's an old saying I love. If you keep on doing what you're doing, you'll keep on getting what you're getting. If you're not happy with the way things are going, do something about it. Make the commitment to take your financial life to the next level.
Finally; give. In my opinion, if you want something, you first need to give. Whenever you feel “short” or in “need” of something, whether its money, a smile, love, or friendship, give what you want first and it will come back in buckets.
Taking a mental break and in the mood for another great blog from author John Wasserman? Check out 6 Awesome Reasons to Choose a Career in Sales or Leading the Habitually Unpunctual. A new blog is posted every week.
Oh...and check out my book No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses: How to Get and Make the Most of Your First Real Job - proceeds go to a great charity, Children's Dyslexia Centers, Inc. Thanks! You Rock!!
If you are the type of person that wants to break free from the cubicle... If you love an adventure, but also want total control over your future… You really should consider a career in sales.
Shawn Achor, author of the Happiness Advantage states, “Those of us who believe we have control over the outcome of our fates have a huge advantage in work and life.”
I love, I mean LOVE, sales as a profession. Here are 6 Reasons You Should Consider a Career in Sales, and What to Look for:
1) Sales is for Those Seeking the Thrill of Victory
I am passionate about competition. But what’s great about sales is even if you don’t like to compete with others, you can always compete against your previous best. Best day, best month, best quarter, and best year. Personally, the thrill of beating my friends, yet the maturity to cheer them on and celebrate their wins makes what I do all the more fun. Like a video game. Video games are always more fun when you compete with friends, even though you want to beat them into oblivion.
Oh, and the exhilaration of breaking a sales record. Being the best that’s ever been. Every year in our company, and probably most sales companies, somebody somewhere breaks a record of some kind. It could be by a seasoned veteran (aka. old dog like me); sometimes it’s a new pup. Doesn’t matter, the records are there for us to demolish. It's a humbling experience to share that with your team as you reflect on the efforts of each individual. I give them all the credit. And when we miss, it's a reminder that there’s always an opportunity to improve and grow.
Some other cool perks include:
-Opportunities to be recognized for your efforts on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis
-Surrounding yourself with great, like-minded people
-The intrinsic rewards of adding value to your customers lives
-Incentive Trips to places like Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean, etc.
-The communication skills & the experience
- Super Bonuses. Our company gives a “Super Bonus” to each sales manager every 3 years of either $10K-$20K-$30K-$40K- $60k-$80k-$100k depending on performance. These kinds of bonuses are not uncommon in sales. And they are totally awesome!
2) Sales Professionals are Rock Stars in their Field
The number one misconception about sales is simple. People go into sales because they are looking for a job. Sales isn’t a job, it’s a profession. You get professional training, wear professional attire, and receive professional experience. For many corporate recruiters, when they see a resume with a solid sales background, it’s guaranteed interview.
While it takes years of training to become a Doctor or Lawyer, I can teach someone to sell effectively within a few short training sessions. Because of this, sales attracts all kinds of people. Good and bad. However, those that treat sales as a profession instead of treating it like a means to an end will make the most of the experience.
Think of sales as a profession this way. When is a Doctor a Doctor? The answer is always. If you have a relative that is a Doctor, and you need medical advice, you’re going to ask them at the next family gathering and they are likely to give you the advice on the spot.
When is a Lawyer a Lawyer? The answer is always. If you have a neighbor that is a Lawyer, and you need legal advice, you’re going to ask them while waiting at the kids' bus stop in the morning. They’ll answer you... if, they understand the power of networking. And because they did, you will eventually refer a friend or relative to them.
When is a Sales Person a Sales Person? The answer is always. Yet so many new Sales people try to make it a job. You don’t punch in and out of a profession. My wife is a Math Teacher, and if someone in the family needs help with their math homework, she’s always happy to help. People have a passion for their profession. Same thing goes for Sales Professionals.
If you are one of the best in your industry, you will be lionized like a Rock Star. Oh, and when is a Rock Star a Rock Star? The answer is always.
3) Sales is the Highest Paid, Hardest Work there is…
…or, the lowest paid, easiest work there is.
It’s the lowest paid if you don’t get off your tail, generate the leads, make the calls, and expect success to come easily. It’s the highest paid if you are willing to work hard. However, don’t all professions require you to work hard?
A career in sales gives young people a chance to move up quickly in income year over year. It’s not uncommon for someone to jump from $50k to $75k to $100k+ in income in his or her first few years. I know quite a few 20-somethings that earn six figures. They are all in sales.
I’ve lived in a community where my neighbors were Doctors and Lawyers and Accountants and Engineers and so on. But the highest upside and incomes belonged to the neighbors that were Sales Professionals and Entrepreneurs. (currently I live in a community where most of my neighbors are farmers…they work pretty hard at their profession too!)
According to Success magazine 70% of Fortune 500 executives either started in or are in sales right now.
4) Sales is About Making a Positive Difference
As a Sales Rep you deal with customers. It’s about serving others and adding value to their lives. This creates long lasting success in any profession.
As a Sales Manager you deal with customers too. Your customers are your Sales Reps. Just like a Senior Executive’s customers are their Sales Managers, and so on. The same rules of serving and adding value apply. It’s the only way to sustainability. Isn't that what it means to be a professional?
The sales profession, when done right, is about helping people get what they want. When you do that, you too inevitably get what you want. But you have to keep their needs ahead of yours, or they will see right through you. Not to mention, making customers happy is very gratifying.
Sales is not about twisting people’s arms, handling objections or tying people down. It’s about helping people. The most powerful tool you have to help people is to simply ask, “What’s motivating you and how can I help you achieve it?”
It’s an opportunity to effect positive change in people’s lives. I love sales as a profession because I get to inspire people everyday. Everyday I get to come up with creative new ways to add value to their lives. It’s fulfillment at its best.
5) Sales Teaches Mega Skills
Some people make the decision to pursue sales for 2-3 years simply to get the outstanding experience that selling provides. These people leave their sales experience light years ahead of their peers as they transition into other jobs, grad school, or even start their own business. In fact; many business schools require 2-3 years of experience before entry. And companies love to hire people with sales experience—it blows them away.
Typically when you are in sales, if you work hard, you can move up quickly. Eventually even managing your own team. What makes that experience so valuable is the responsibility of recruiting and training a team, managing a sales force, preparing business plans, orchestrating a marketing plan…these things look great on a resume’ by themselves let alone combined together in one position.
What separates the experience even further is as a sales manager you get a serious taste of what it takes to run your own business—what it takes to run your own show.
Even college students that take a sales position for their summer break, have opportunities to move into sales management positions their second or third summer. Some students start their own business while in school, gaining tremendous experience. Maybe they want to be a Doctor or a Dentist and have their own private practice; they will need to know how to run a business, which is not taught in medical school. Maybe they want to have their own engineering firm or manufacturing firm or sales company; they will need to know how to run a business. Maybe they want to be an Architect or an Advertising Exec or an Internet Specialist or Attorney and they want to run their own show; they will need to know how to run a business.
Money Magazine reported in a study of affluent Americans who were asked what career path offers young people the greatest potential for financial success…
15% said working for a small company
15% said working for a large corporation
15% said a profession like law or medicine
46% said starting their own business
The same study reported that of affluent Americans, the average income of someone who did not run their own business was $67,500 where a business owner earned an average of $87,500 and the net worth of the average affluent non business owner was $84,625 vs. $245,950 for the business owner.
Unfortunately there are few, if any, classes in school designed to teach you how to start, manage, and maintain your own business.
There isn’t a class in school where you have hands on experience hiring, training, and managing people and then developing your own organization.
Most people have to figure it out on their own. Getting your start in sales is a great way to learn the tools you’ll need to make your business grow.
6) Sales is a Stepping Stone for Entrepreneurs
A Study done by the US Small Business Administration said that one out of three new businesses fail in their first two years and half fail within four years.
Half of all businesses fail in their first four years! And these people go into it thinking they know what they are doing! Many of these people are well-educated, highly skilled professionals—but they don’t really understand what it takes to run a business.
-In sales, you...
-Learn professional phone skills and presentation skills
-Learn how to build a network of customers
-Build relationships on many different levels
-Surround yourself with other energetic, motivated professionals
-Work in an atmosphere of personal growth and professional development
-Get mentored by other top sales people in your organization
-As you advance, build your own organization—train and develop your own sales force
-Have a meaningful impact on the lives of your team members
-Get rewarded with monthly, quarterly, and / or annual bonuses
It’s all hands on experience and it's the experience that can make the difference between success and failure in business.
What to Look for...
While no company is perfect, there are a few things to look for if you’re going to go for a career in sales. First on the list, you want to find a company that is on the cutting edge, that’s leading in their industry and innovating new programs. You not only want a company that stands behind you, but one that has a great product, great customer service, and great support. A company that is willing and able to throw dollars into new programs.
Look for a company that has opportunities for you to advance in income and in responsibility. This should be a staple in sales, but you’ll have to earn it. It takes time, perseverance, and hard work.
Look for a company with integrity. And I mean a company that has a culture of always doing the right thing. If mistakes are made, you want to work for a company willing to do what’s right to keep your customers happy.
And finally, the people you work with, and for, make all the difference.
In Good to Great, Jim Collins says, “The people we interviewed from great companies clearly loved what they did largely because of who they did it with.”
“Studies show that the more team members are encouraged to socialize and interact face-to-face, the more engaged they feel, the more energy they have, and the longer they can stay focused on a task. In short, the more the team members invest in their social cohesion, the better the results of their work.”
Ask the people that work with the company you are looking into what the culture is like. If it seems like the people you meet are not happy working there, chances are you won’t be either.
As you rise from sales rep to sales manager, remember, what a sales manager does is help people operate at peak performance and achieve wins that they will draw upon for the rest of their lives. I promise, you will be remembered for that.
Sales offers all the benefits of being a leader, a coach, a team player, a team builder, a mentor, and a business owner all wrapped into one! If you are the type of person that wants to break free from the cubical… If you love an adventure, but also want total control over your future…
…you just might want to look into a career in sales.
Taking a mental break and in the mood for another good read? Find more blogs from author John Wasserman on JohnsShorts.com. A new blog is posted every month.
Oh...check out John's new book Deciding to Thrive now available on Amazon - 100% of the proceeds go to a great charity, Children's Dyslexia Centers, Inc.
"After reading over 200 books on leadership, self help, coaching, and mentoring I finally put it all together in one book. Deciding To Thrive is the distillation of what I learned about the nature of happiness, the meaning of success, the purpose of money, and the all-essential 'why' that helps great entrepreneurs create companies." - John Wasserman
There have been a number of changes to our culture over the past few years. We seem to be gravitating to a society that defines success through images on social media. The number of likes, retweets, or revines one gets for their 6.5 second video seems to be the new badge of honor. And of course most people portray their social status to be pretty amazing online. It makes me wonder what's next. Hopefully something that actually recognizes hard work. Like an app that high fives you for a job well done. Now that would be awesome!
When I speak to fellow business owners, there are a few culture shifts that stand out. Young people come to work these days often lacking a basic understanding of the dress and behavior that’s expected in the business world, and required to be successful in it. They simply lack the most basic training on how to act, talk, and socialize in a professional environment.
You’ve probably heard the complaints about the Millennial generation: spoiled, over-protected, entitled. I’m less judgmental. The problem, in a nutshell, is that Millennials grew up in the age of the reset button and the helicopter parent. If you’re losing in that video game, you just hit the reset button and start over. If you don’t like what’s on TV you can just flip through the channels until you find something better. If you get a bad grade, your mom or dad might just call up the teacher and argue to get it raised.
Our problems begin when young people show up on our doorstep dressed for the beach instead of business, or they think an 8 o’clock meeting starts whenever they can get there, or they are pretty sharp on paper, but have trouble differentiating the way they acted at school with the way they should act at work.
I've had countless opportunities to train new people and while times have changed, the basics stay the same. Since you can't hit the reset button after your first day on the job, and you certainly won't be coddled by your boss, here are a few tips for our young executives in the making, and perhaps some helpful reminders for the rest of us.
The Business Dinner
1) Do not order the most expensive thing on the menu. New-be orders the lobster and everyone else orders a burger...ouch.
2) Wait for everyone to be served before you start to eat. And if you really want to step up your game, wait for the boss to take the first bite (unless the boss forgets rule #2 all together, in which case, still wait for everyone to be served).
3) Break the bread versus shoving it in your mouth. You will look classy.
1) Do not to wear sneakers and white socks with suit pants.
2) Wear white t-shirts under your dress shirts (one of my own mistakes 20 years ago), especially when you are wearing a white dress shirt.
3) Make sure your belt matches your shoes.
4) Watch a video on how to tie a tie so you look like a pro.
5) Do not wear mid riffs, short short skirts, or show a lot of cleavage. Do not take cues on attire from your favorite TV show, especially if it runs on MTV.
1) Men, do not to say "chicks" ("so John, I had these two chicks in my interview and...") or even "girls" for that matter when referring to the "women" or "ladies" that work in the office.
2) Do not to share stories of drunkenness or smuttiness when talking to the receptionists.
3) Do not to tell off color, off gender, off sexual orientation, off race, creed, or nationality type jokes...ever.
4) Do not swear. I have a swear jar at my office. One dollar for the first offense. One dollar for the second offense. Five hundred for the third. I've collected many first and second offenses, but have had no third offenses to worry about.
5) Be early for work versus late. I've been known to lock people out of a meeting for being late. Today I have a softer, yet more effective approach which you can check out in a previous blog called, Leading the Habitually Unpunctual.
The good news is that I’ve also taught many people how to balance their check book, how to check their credit score, how to increase their credit score, how to open a ROTH IRA, how to negotiate rent for office space, how to negotiate everything because everything is negotiable, and how to write a business plan that works.
I've had the pleasure of working with thousands of college-aged men and women, teaching them how to master the basics of business. Treating them with this level of care and respect has allowed me to retain the very best in our business while helping the others go out and use that training to make money, grow their self-confidence, and advance quickly in their careers.
Final tip: if you want to advance quickly in todays workforce you must add value to your company. Look for cost effective ways to improve efficiency and / or productivity. Bring in a new client or volunteer for that new project. Do your homework and be proactive vs. waiting for someone to tell you what to do next. In other words, act as if the business you work for was yours. People will notice.
If you're on a mental break and in the mood for a good read, check out John's Shorts. Tune in next week for the latest blog. (Do they still say, "tune in"?)
If you’re serious about success, however you define it, you should know what’s going on in my head or that of the one you work for. Your new boss, whoever he or she is, will probably be older than you by enough years that there’s going to be a generation gap. I’m only in my early forties and it amazes me when I think that I graduated from high school before the Internet, smart phones, or instant anything except maybe oatmeal. Today we get impatient if we have to wait 45 seconds for a reply to a text message. Dane Cook has a great skit where he talks about how in the year 3000 everything will be instant. You'll be able to teleport instantly from one location to another and prepare a meal in an instant, but the DMV will still take 9 seconds. "9 seconds!", he screams, "C'mon, I gotta be to work in 3 seconds!"
Millennials, you may disagree with how some business people think about your generation, but you should know that they think it and try to anticipate the prejudices they are likely to have. The less like the stereotype you appear, the better your chances of being offered opportunities. Always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
You might want to read “The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace,” by Lynn C. Lancaster and David Stillman. Some of it might make you mad, but there’s a lot of wisdom in it, if you can read it with an open mind. For example:
“While Millennials bring many skills with them to the workplace, they are not always the skills their bosses and co-workers had expected. In fact, nearly 70 percent of Traditionalists, Boomers, and Xers in our M-Factor survey agreed that Millennials are ‘lacking in some basic skills.’ These mismatched expectations are causing some of the most painful workplace gaps.
Many are shocked by the things they have to teach Millennials. As one Xer put it, ‘The things they struggle with just seem so obvious. I can’t tell you how often I want to look a Millennial in the face and say, What were you thinking?
When working with Millennials, [executives should] take the time to communicate baseline expectations about working in your culture, such as etiquette, forms of address, how to treat clients, what written communication should look like, how mistakes are handled, and the other basics that form the company’s operating standards. You are bound to uncover interesting gaps in understanding."
In training our young recruits, we put a lot of emphasis on chalking the lines—describing the dress, behavior, and so on that we expect. Honesty is an important aspect because our recruits start out on the honor system. One of the techniques we’ve used to illustrate ethical dilemmas is a story that’s been passed down in our management over the years.
An armored car driving down the highway hits a bump and, unbeknownst to the driver, the rear doors open up and the money starts flying out. The truck drives on and there’s money scattered everywhere.
People are stopping their cars and jumping out. There are two types of people: the ones who shout, “Free money!” and grab as much as they can; and the type of person who says, “Somebody’s lost their money and we have to make sure it gets back to its rightful owner.”
We teach our reps to think and make the right decisions, and make them instinctively. So, the first question I ask is, "Which type of person in the story are you?"
The second question is, "How long did it take you to come up with the answer?" When your ethics are in line, the answer is immediately clear.
Young people take their cues from those they know best, their families. Success may depend on the ability to make good choices on the fly when the boss (or parents) aren’t around to advise. We need to make sure we are setting a high standard, especially when it comes to integrity.
She just stepped out.
I've seen people do things like when someone calls that they don't want to talk to, they say, "Tell them I'm not here." My father was in law enforcement so all my life, I was never allowed to say something like that. Nor should we. What message does that send. It will definitely carry over into other areas of life.
Have you ever walked out to your car from the supermarket, with your children hanging off the overflowing shopping cart, and discovered a box of cereal in the bottom rack that you forgot to pay for? Some people think, “it’s no big deal, they can afford it”. My wife had this happen recently. It was a pack of gum. She didn't feel like going back to pay for it, the kids were being crazy. However, she knew that the opportunity to teach our kids to always do the right thing was far more important, so back she went, kids in tow, to pay for a 50cent pack of gum.
It’s human nature to have the urge to cut corners now and then, sometimes just for the expediency of time. Most business crimes (embezzling, kickbacks, Ponzi schemes) begin rather innocently when someone “borrows” money from a business or uses customer money to cover a pressing financial need or debt. They tell themselves they’ll pay it back later and no one will be the wiser, but later comes sooner than they think and they have to keep “borrowing” to keep from being discovered.
Whatever gain you get from cutting corners will never be worth the price of a guilty conscience, or worse if you get caught doing something seriously illegal.
Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote, "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office."
Words to live by.
- John Wasserman, Author, No Shorts, Flip Flops, or Sunglasses: How to Get and Make the Most of Your First Real Job
by John Wasserman
Proceeds benefit Children's Dyslexia Centers