Hello and good day!
The quickest way to earn respect is through hard work.
And the quickest way to lose respect is through being lazy.
That is my opinion anyhow, and I have seen it play out too many times to count.
I got kicked out of college at the end of my sophomore year for bad behavior, mostly for drinking too much and causing a ruckus. It is funny that I ended up on that path, because I am naturally a very calm and respectful person.
People make all kinds of weird life choices when they are young, but I digress.
The school had given me about 15 warnings before finally expelling me. They kept giving me the benefit of the doubt because I was a hard worker. My professors loved me. I was one of the best students in every class.
I had a part time job on campus and those people loved me too. Because I was a hard worker, I had earned the respect of the administration and that put them in a conundrum.
Had I been a lazy bum, it would have been a no brainer.
Take a look at the picture.That is the pre-dry room in our cacao processing facility. It is where we leave fully fermented cacao to rest before taking it out to the dryer beds.
My brother Brian is a meticulous task master. After every lot of cacao leaves this room and is put under the sun to dry, our team scrubs these beds clean. It is not fun work. It is menial and monotonous and it is so hot and humid out in campo. The work is taxing and sweaty.
But it must be done or the remains start to smell foul and flies start to come around.
I managed our facility for a while when Brian was burned out and needed a break. He'd been away from his family for too long and his body needed a rest. I was supposed to come in and manage our team.
Only problem was that I'd never managed anybody before.
I told Brian that I was concerned that the guys wouldn't like me and respect me. Brian told me not to worry. He knew that I had a good work ethic and as long as I worked hard and was a good dude, the guys would like me.
I decided to work really hard. And I decided to do every job. Even Brian wasn't doing that. But he didn't need to, he had already put in enough hard work to have won everybody over.
Brian left and I was assigning work.
For the first few weeks I assigned myself the most grueling jobs and I saw a lot of eyebrows go up. Then for a while, people just watched me go at it. They got a chuckle seeing a big old tall gringo hauling two big buckets of fermented cacao out to the dryer beds on his shoulders. Most people only hauled one at a time.
I grabbed scrubbers and scrubbed tables like there was no tomorrow. One job that nobody wanted to do was replace the metal bowls beneath the fermentation boxes. Swarms of bees come around when you are processing cacao. They are looking for the sugary mucilage that surrounds cacao in the husk.
Early in the fermentation process, a lot of mucilage drips out of the boxes and onto the floor.If you let that happen, the acidity from the mucilage ruins the concrete floor.The acidity eats the floor right up and then we have to do a lot of repaving in the off season.
To keep that from happening, we put wide, shallow plates underneath the boxes to collect the run off.Bees come and sit on the edges of those plates and go crazy on the mucilage.When the plates are full, somebody has to get up under there and change them.
It is a 100% guarantee that you will be stung at least once, but more than likely you'll be stung a lot. It is a crappy job. And I was scared of bees prior to managing the facility.
One of the guys came over one day and pointed to a full plate.He asked who should change it out.I told him that I would. Somebody handed me a clean plate and I got right up in there and the bees stung the bejesus out of me.
I did several boxes and the next day I assigned the job to myself again, and the next day, yet again. It got such that the team had to step in and offer to do it themselves. It was making them feel bad to see me get stung so much.
And when people voluntarily start offering to help you out, you have won their respect. You don't have to ask them to work hard. They do it because you are doing it and they want to help you.
On the other hand, we had one guy who always showed up late and didn't work hard at all. The team was always complaining about him behind his back and making fun of him to his face.
He got no respect and was eventually fired.
When Brian got back from resting, he was impressed by the espirit de corps and told me that I had done a perfect job. That felt pretty dang good.
And I've always carried that lesson with me.
It turns out that hard work is the easiest way to earn respect.
And easy work is the hardest way.
If the team knows you're willing to do any and every job yourself, you don't have to boss people around or really manage at all. People will be happy to do whatever you ask them.
But if you are lazy and soft, you'll have to fight and motivate and cajole, because the team really won't want to help you out. There is a decent bit of irony in it. The hard way is the easy way and the easy way is the hard way.
This picture got me to thinking about that.
The end result of all the hard work is pretty dang good chocolate.
Anyhow, I'm running out of steam a bit now so I am going to sign off. I thank you for giving me a moment of your time.
I hope at you have a truly blessed day!