While working a part-time job during college, my dad taught me a valuable lesson that I remember until this day. I shared with him how I had managed to get my FULL break at work. I would get my food first and THEN go clock out! This saved several minutes, especially when the store was busy and I had to wait. My father was not as impressed with my resourcefulness as I was and proceeded to tell me that I was stealing from the company. We debated for a few minutes, but in the end, I listened and changed my habits.
Over the years this philosophy concerning theft has deepened within me. According to Webster, a thief is one who steals. Not only do I believe that theft is literally stealing another’s material possessions, but it can also refer to misuse of time and simply being dishonest. Let me give a few examples.
Every day I witness the theft of time and money. Employees are paid salaries to do specific jobs, and when those employees arrive late, leave early, do not do their jobs, or do as little as possible, they are in fact stealing not only time, but wages. They are earning money for services NOT rendered.
In the school where I work, teachers conveniently arrive late and leave early, especially when the prinicipal is away. It’s as though they have a right to. And yet contracts are signed at the beginning of the year stating the exact times that we must be at work and how much time is alloted for breaks. Another common sight is to see teachers standing in the halls talking for 30 min. at a time, while their students sit unattended in the classrooms or teachers that sit behind their desks texting, facebooking, etc.
There are other salary workers who are given a bit more flexibility in their schedules. Some have specific days that they are to work, but there is really no set amount of hours other than a minimum. Here the danger lies in an individual feeling as though he has all the flexibility that he desires. Days are swapped around, hours are fudged, and if something comes up that is more interesting or family related, that individual simply “takes the day off” as if no one will notice or care. What is worse is thinking that the employer is all forgiving and will overlook it, or just plain stupid.
Then there are the part-time employees that work for minimum wage. While some are attentive to their customers, many have the attitude that the customer is there to please them! Please wait while I finish texting or taking my smoke break please…And they wonder why they can’t keep a job?
I am sure that virtually none of the above would consider themselves to be theives, and yet that is exactly what they are . It is more than having a good work ethic…it is having excellent character.