The Honest Employee

Categories: General

My Dad told me a story many years ago when I was a wide-eyed kid looking up at him ( I was probably 9 ) that I think most people don’t really think about.

He told me that honest employees will always make less money. He didn’t tell me this to set me off down a path of distrust and rebellion.

My Dad worked for the Government as a maintenance man. He would travel Alberta going from site to site and keeping the day-to-day operations running for the telephone company. Back then everything was analog and required a lot of buildings in a lot of small towns.

He had good pay, and his pay increased depending on how far from home he got. He received a gas allowance, hotel, and food allowance. Really it was something like $150 a day on top of your pay.

A lot of people are paid a salary, at least when it comes to programming, designing, or even corporate work. In many cases, you won’t get paid overtime.

Let’s compare two scenarios or employees A and B. Employee A works from 9 am 5 pm with 30 minutes for lunch while Employee B has the same schedule but shows up at 9:10 am leaving by 4:55 pm.

Over a normal year, Employee A will work for about 1950 hours without including time off or holidays.

Employee B will work 1885 hours a year, that’s almost 2 weeks less. Seems easy to get away with that, doesn’t it?

What makes this even worse is that Employee A whose personal goals align with the companies he works for is thinking about work after hours because he is truly interested and engaged with his work. It would be almost impossible to measure the “free-thinking” time of employee A.

Meanwhile employee B who’s a bit late to work, and leaves a bit early. Totally shuts off after hours, because it’s just a job. They have no invested interest in whether project X ever gets completed.

Something that I read in a book by Simon Sinek – Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.

Rings true to what my Dad told me so many years ago. Finding these employees for most companies might be a challenge. Finding your A’s and B’s among your team should be a priority and see if the B’s are maybe under-motivated and offer them the chance to adjust. But knowing who your A’s are is just as important.

Adam Patterson

Adam Patterson

User Interface Designer & Developer with a background in UX. I have spent 5 years as a professionally certified bicycle mechanic and ride year-round.

I am a husband and father of two, I enjoy photography, music, movies, coffee, and good food.

You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!