Thursday, September 18, 2008

Using The Brains You Got

I trailed a Port-A-Johnny truck in traffic for a while a couple weeks ago and was reminded of something I worked up a few years back. My friend's brilliant young son had ceased to work hard in school in favor of hanging out with friends after school and playing video games. His mother was very sad about this turn of events and was telling me about it at a backyard picnic and his response was that lots of people did just fine without good grades or college or even working very hard. So I grabbed a napkin and drew him a simple 2 x 2 matrix regarding intelligence and willingness to work hard. The guy who was smart and worked hard owned the Port-A-Johnny company and ran it from his leather appointed office and played golf with manufacturer's reps and potential customers on company time. The guy who was smart but didn't work very hard got the job in the front office answering the phones and scheduling the deliveries and the pickups and the clean outs and handling customer orders and changes and complaints. The guy who was not very smart but worked hard got to assemble the new ones and deliver the clean ones and do repairs of the clean ones and go to sites to plan where they should be delivered. The guy who was not very smart and didn't apply himself got to pick up the dirty ones and empty and clean them, and run the route to empty and clean and supply the ones that stayed at sites. Well, this might not be the actual model of how Port-A-Johhny is run but you get my point. It is good to be smart and you can't much control that but you sure can control how hard you work and that can mean the difference between a 'crappy' job and a pretty good one.

5 comments:

Paddle said...

As usual, an excellent thought. Thanks for writing it down for the rest of us. I'll go scrub the toilet now.

clc said...

"...difference between a 'crappy' job and a pretty good one." Come on - did you make this up? Well, whatever. It does make a good story, true or not.

goprairie said...

chuck, it is true. i kinda did it as a joke for the kid, but at another gathering months later, he told me he still had the napkin, and not that he took the 4 kinds of jobs literally, but that it did make him think about choices and help inspire him to work a little harder and pay a little more attention. i thought his mom was gonna cry. that he actually got something from it all and that he was admitting to it and that he was, in his way, making it a point to thank me. sometimes you get lucky and get to do a good thing. sometimes you get luckier and find out about it!

goprairie said...

paddle, i think you fall well into the A/1 square of the matrix. go send an email and play some on-line golf from the leather sofa instead.

clc said...

This "crap" is just too good to let go. Check out Andrew Sullivan (always good for insight on just about anything): Is he shitting us?