Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Were Your Early Jobs? What Lessons Did You Learn?

As Labor Day approaches, I am reflecting on some of the jobs I held early in life when I was new to this country, and what lessons I learned that continue to serve me to this day. I like to share some of them with you as well as like to request you to share also.

My early jobs, included newspaper route, dish washing, cleaning offices, warehouse clerk, store clerk and pizza maker. Here are some of my lessons:

1. Good service pays: When delivering newspapers to the elderly up in Johnson City, NY, I used to make it a point to always deliver their paper right to their door. As a result, when came time for collections, I was frequently invited in for milk and cookies, had many great conversations, learned a lot, developed many friendships, and invariably left with great tips too, consisting of nickles, dimes and quarters. Big money for a kid in those days.

2. Everyone counts and everything matters. No job and detail is too big or too small. Imagine, for example, great servers and greeters, nice clean surroundings, and tasty pizza-but delivered in dirty dishes. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.

3. Be dependable. When someone doesn't show up, others have to carry the load. Be the solution, not the problem. Others are counting on you.

4. Help others succeed. Always be asking "How can I help you?". Look for opportunities to serve, both internally and externally. While don't expect it, my experience is that when you help others, they will help you when you need it.

5. If you make a mistake, just apologize and ask "what can I do to make it right?", and then just fix it. Don't play the blame game for no one wins. Make it right and everyone wins and very importantly you feel good knowing you did your very best and that you did the right thing.

6. Be an expert in what you do. Once a customer came into store asking for a shirt with European cut. Not having any idea what that meant, boy did he chew me out-and I deserved it. Know your stuff for then you know what questions to ask, to determine what the customers really want, and then help them get it. For example, this guy didn't want just a European cut-what he really wanted was to be comfortable and to look good.

7. It's OK to ask for help. Not everyone knows everything. Asking for help in not a sign of weakness but of strength.

8. Dignity of labor. No job is beneath any one. Never ask others to do what you wouldn't do yourself.

9. Talk less, listen more. This leads to new learning, to new growth.

10. Treat everyone with respect. We all have similar dreams, we're all human, we all matter. It's takes everyone to make this world go around.

What Were Your Early Jobs? What Lessons Did You Learn?


Rajiv Vassanji said...

Hi Vinay,
These was great tips, and i have always followed these tips whole my life. I do have also a blog in wordpress, and my mission is to inspire people through other people stories and some fun parlor to make someone laugh. I will surely keep visiting your blog more times.
Love and Light. Rajiv from Africa.

Vinay Kumar said...

Thank you Rajiv. I went to check out your blog but as it's in a different language, I wasn't able to read it. Would have loved to read it. In any event, stay in touch. Take care.