March 18, 2012

Work Ethics


I’d like to think that I have good work ethics.  What does that mean?  To me, it means that I do my best and put all my effort into what I do.  I care about the tasks required of me, I spend a good portion of time in preparation, try to get to my work a bit ahead of time so as not to be unprepared, and to stay behind when necessary.

In my earlier life, I learned something from my father, which I might add, being a teenager at the time, I wasn’t about to take to heart anything that my parents told me.  As a teenager, of course, I knew more than them about the world and how it works.  They were old.  They didn’t know how things were.  Sorry mom and dad.  Now that I am at the stage of my life where you were back then, my opinion of your life is a lot different.  I understand things better now.  I realize that you were only trying to do the best that you could and wanted to pass on your knowledge to me.

Back to my dad.  Please understand, dad, I love you very much.  Having reached 50 myself, I can appreciate what you and mom were going through.  Granted, I don’t have children, I don’t own a home or car, and fortunately, I am not over my head in debt.  The one thing I remember you saying when I got my first job was (and I paraphrase this, as I can’t remember the EXACT wording), “… you should not enjoy your job… you should go in, put in your time, collect your paycheck, and go home…”

At that time, I had a job that I truly enjoyed.  Granted, it wasn’t the greatest of jobs in the world, but for me, living on my own, earning my own money for the first time in my life, I loved this job.  I would go into work early at times, stay later when asked, even work through lunch hours when it was very busy.  At times, I even went with our delivery person on weekends, delivering our product around southern Ontario.

I enjoyed the people, I enjoyed the work, I enjoyed earning my own money.  Sure, like anyone else, I was happy when payday arrived and I got that cheque made out in my name, paid my rent, paid my bills, and still had a few bucks left to do with as I pleased.

Over the years, I have always kept this quote of yours in my head.  I’ve always thought it to myself, that if I could not enjoy the job that I do, then it was not worth doing.  ‘One man’s poison, is another man’s food.’  I may not find a particular job fun or enjoyable, but someone else may.  So, why stay in a job where I was unhappy or didn’t enjoy myself?

Over the years since then, I have had many jobs – shipper/receiver, clerical assistant, administrative assistant, manager, and now, teacher.  I am proud to say, that I have never been let go of a full-time job – EVER!  Yes, part-time or seasonal work, but then, that is to be expected, and was expected once hired.

I am also proud of myself in that all my full-time jobs over the years, have lasted for years… not just months, but years.  Job stability shows potential employers that you are a stable person.  Now, I’m not saying that each job was easy, or that I got along with everyone at the beginning, but once you’ve put in a year or two, interpersonal relations with your fellow staff and the manager becomes easier.  There is nothing more satisfying in knowing that you and your fellow staff are working together for a common goal or purpose.  In my case at times, it took away the ‘homesickness’ I felt at times, being so far away from my family.  The people became a surrogate family for me.

So here I am in Taiwan.  As most anyone who has read my earlier blog entries, or even those who know me, know that I have been in Taiwan for a little over 10 years.  My ARC (Alien Resident Certificate) has been approved until September 2014.  That means, that once this ARC comes up for renewal, I will have been in Taiwan for almost 12 years!

Now, I have had a lot of employers over these years, but the main task or job, is to teach English – which I have done, consistently (save for a few weeks of holidays here and there) for the better part of 10 years.  I’ve also prided myself on the fact that I have had the same ‘full-time employer’ for years.  I have since changed my ‘full-time’ employer, but I have been with them for over 5 years now.  Sure, that may not seem like a lot, but, half of my life in Taiwan has been with them.

The beginning times were a little shaky, but then again, that is to be expected.  Whenever a new employer or boss comes into a workplace, there is always tension.  I don’t care what the job is!  Think about your own lives and jobs.  Whenever a new manager or boss comes on the scene, don’t you think badly of this person?  They do things differently, they expect different results from the employees… basically, they disrupt the status quo!

Now, think about yourself.  When you went into that new job, didn’t the other employees look at you disdainfully?  You were asked to perform tasks that others weren’t doing?  You may have even had a fall-out with a fellow employee or a customer?  But eventually, things calmed down, and everyone started to get along and continue the tasks required.  Things back to normal.

Over these many years of my working life, I may not have been the model employee.  I wasn’t a pushover to others – especially fellow employees.  Sure, I respected that my boss or manager were exactly that.  However, I did expect from them, that if I respected them, they should respect me.  Even though I was a junior employee, respect is a tw0-way street.  You want me to respect you as a manager and perform the tasks you want of me, then you better respect the work that I do for you!

So, when I was given the opportunities of being a manager or boss, I respected my staff.  As much as I had tasks that I had to perform at my level, I would never ask an employee to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.  I also made a point of showing my appreciation to them for the jobs they did.

Now though, I am in a unique position.  Yes, I still have a boss, and perhaps in a way, a manager, and yes, we’ve had our initial ups and downs, but things have leveled out.  I can’t express properly, how I feel doing the job I do now.  It is incredible seeing kids grow up learning my language.  Seeing them as small children barely able to say ‘hello’ in English, to now, 10 years later, and being able to chat with them as I would anyone back home.

It is great and makes me feel good, when I walk into school and have, not only my fellow teachers, but students saying hello to me – in my language!  Yes, I still do have my ‘off’ days, but there are some work ethics that I still hold dearly.  I rarely take time off, I put 110% of my time and effort into my work, I am always prepared for my classes, am able to readjust my plans if the need arises, I’d like to believe that I have a great rapport with my fellow educators as well as my manager and boss.  I only take off time when absolutely necessary, I try my best to be at work early, and stay later when requested or necessary.  I’ve also put in extra hours for special events or occasions.

Although I may not always show it, or say it, I do hope that the people I work with realize, that I appreciate each and every one of them, and I hope that we have many more years to share with each other.  In my heart, I consider you all my family and you have all made me feel at home, away from home.

That’s it, that’s all… for now!


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