Two amazing things happened today.
Both of them are the result of RESPECT.
Respect does not cost a thing. Yet, oddly enough it is the one and only thing that can determine if a person stays in his/her job…marriage…friend group…team…club…organization or not. Respect matters more than money, benefits, or time off. It is the single most important factor in everyone’s mind when you come down to the nitty gritty of what people truly want out of life.
The honest fact is: People leave perfectly good jobs (and marriages & friendships) with perfectly good benefits because of the lack of respect he or she receives for their efforts day in and day out. Many times these people reach a point of no return after putting in years and years worth of time, work, and effort.
Because a person is only going to be disrespected for so long. Eventually, every single person reaches a point where they realize that they must have respect. Don’t believe me? Be honest with yourself about why you left a job…a marriage…a family…a church…a friendship…a club or organization. Run that list through your mind and I am willing to bet that the core reason for why you gave up is because of a lack of respect.
It honestly blows my mind that people…all people employers…bosses….managers…team leaders…CEO’s…owners…people in the drivers seat of every company, industry, organization, and place of employment…pastors…husbands…wives…children…friends…partners of all kinds miss this simple truth.
Everything that involves staying…involves respect. It really is that simple.
Lately, I have struggled with staying at my job. I want to do something different. I am just so tired of problems and issues and never seeing progress. Like many of you guys, I have a nearly impossible job. Some days I just REALLY want to run out the back door screaming. Thankfully I have not done that (yet) and probably won’t for another 10 years or so; but today something remarkable happened that just might have the power to make me stay.
As I was walking with some of my students I glanced up and saw our new Superintendent at the top of the ramp. He was smiling and watching the students as they waddled along in a straight line (We were pretending to be penguins at that moment in time!). Anyway, when he saw me his expression changed. He asked me how today was going so I said, “It’s a pretty good day today”.
He looked directly at me and said words that none of my other three superintendents has ever said to my face, ” We prayed for you, your helpers, and your students in my office yesterday. I know your job is hard and I wish I could change that for you. Please know that no matter what, I and everyone else in my office is praying for you”.
That was the moment everything changed for me. That was the exact moment in time when I told myself, “Maybe you can do this for a few more years. Maybe this job isn’t so terrible after all. Maybe you are making a difference. Maybe it does matter that you show up every day and give it all you’ve got. Maybe, just maybe someone finally realizes how hard it is to just show up.”
I was, am, and forever will always be amazed that at that particular moment it hit me: the man in charge of our whole school system had stood in his office and prayed for me. He had actually stopped what he was doing; asked those who were with him at that moment to join him; and he humbled himself before God on my behalf. That was the only way he knew of that he could try to help make my job easier.
Guess what? Today, for the first time this school year it was easier. It wasn’t filled with compete chaos. It wasn’t filled with tantrums and tears. It wasn’t agony watching the clock drag by all day long.
It was pleasant…and easier than any day I have had thus far this school year. Before that moment on the ramp, I would have dismissed this day as a fluke. Just a lucky break ya might say. Just a day where the stars aligned and everything worked out without me going completely insane.
That moment on the ramp changed my perspective. I realized that today was a good day, because my boss went to God asking him to make it so. He is a man who truly believes that God cares about the unbelievable situations me, my helpers, and my students have been facing lately. His respect for us lead him to stop what he was doing and pray specifically for us to have a good day today.
And, The Lord answered his prayer.
About an hour after this amazing moment on the ramp, I got a call from Heath. Tomorrow was supposed to be his last day working at a job he has literally hated for the past few years. Respect has always been expected from the employees, but rarely earned by those in charge. Heath had reached the point where he was fed up and he was quitting his job after working his tail off for over twelve years.
Before turning in his notice, Heath and I decided that we would be okay with him taking a job where he was going to make less money; with less chance for advancement; work more hours; and have to re-learn a whole new set of skills in an industry that he has not worked in for a very long time. Why? Because he was DONE with the lack of respect he was being given at his current job.
When I answered the phone today he said, “What should I do?”
“Pray.” I said. So, we did.
It appears that after he turned in his notice his boss started to realize what an assesset Heath was to the company. He started to ask why he was leaving and what it would take to make him stay. This week his boss has actually been in total panic mode because he knows that finding someone with integrity who is honest and hardworking is not so easy in today’s job market. He told Heath that he had been praying…and fasting…and now he was demanding to know what he needed to change in order for Heath to stay. He also did what most employers do when they want people to stay in a job they hate: He offered him more money.
When bosses do that after an employee is fed up with a lack of respect it comes across as a complete insult. And, that is why Heath turned him down every single day for the past thirteen days when he offered him more money.
As I listened to my husband talk about the offer that he had received this morning, I realized that his boss was missing the point completely. The reason Heath was leaving his job wasn’t because of money. It was because of his boss’s and (others in the company) total lack of respect for the work he did everyday. It was the simple fact that nothing Heath did was ever good enough. No matter how many sales he had. No matter how many customers he had. It was never going to be enough.
I saw this coming a year ago. I tried to get Heath to stand up for himself when I realized that a lack of respect was the reason he was so unhappy with his job. But, for whatever reason it didn’t dawn on him until two weeks ago. Today, it dawned on his boss.
Guess who is not going to change jobs now? Guess why?
God saw Heath’s struggle. He saw the way the company was treating him everyday. He heard our prayers when we asked him what he should do. He answered our prayers today. Heath’s boss has a new respect for him as an employee and as a person. I have a new respect for him as a man and my husband. Heath has a new respect for himself as well as a brand new outlook on life. All because of a little respect.
I am hoping that anyone who reads this will hear me when I say it does not matter how much money you pay someone. It does not matter how many bonuses or incentives or time off you give someone. If a person doesn’t feel valued or respected for what they are doing everyday there WILL come a day when they walk away.
It matters how you treat people. How you make them feel about the job they are doing will determine if you get good work or crappy work out of them. If you value everyone’s job and have respect for the person doing that job (no matter how insignificant it is to you as the boss) your employees will remain loyal. They will show up. They will do whatever it takes to get the job done. They will try harder when they need to and they will learn from their mistakes. They will give it all they’ve got and the company will prosper.
This same principle goes for marriages…and families…and friendships…and churches…and teams. Give God the respect He deserves. Put Him first and humble yourself before Him in prayer with every situation you face. He sees your struggle and He knows how it feels to be disrespected among men. (Do I even need to mention the evil that has taken over New York?) He wants to help us, but we must respect Him for who He is and what only He can do. He is more than a conqueror. He is the KING OF KINGS and the LORD OF LORDS. Nothing is impossible to Him.
Once we have that fact straight, we can try to be more like Him by giving regular ol’ people the respect they need to keep going when the going gets tough.
It really is that simple.