To help a high school group raise money for an upcoming trip, I had several “cleaning night” fundraising events at Finders Keepers. I’ve always believed that earning money is a life skill that cannot be learned too soon and when I was asked to “give” money to help these kids afford the trip, instead of declining outright, I arranged this opportunity to earn money for those who were interested. My Dad was like that and he was a very successful businessman and role model. I really miss him.
On cleaning nights, the students are given tasks including vacuuming and dusting, among other chores. One night I had given vacuums to several participants and instructions for where to plug them in and the areas to cover. About 10 minutes later, one “vacuum-er” had stopped and her vacuum was off even though her area was not finished. I asked if everything was okay and she said yes. When asked why she wasn’t running the vacuum she informed me she had gone as far as the cord would let her go.
She did not have the initiative to find another plug and keep going and that’s the scary thing! I quickly instructed her to find another electrical outlet so she could keep going and I tried my best to hide my annoyance at this lack of work ethic and problem -solving skills.
Unfortunately, this is common. So many people can’t problem solve at even the most basic level and literally “stop when the cord runs out”, never searching out another way to finish a task or tackle a project. These teenagers are the next generation of workers for employers in this country and they’ve got to learn how to get things done by identifying a problem AND a solution. They need to learn not to quit. They need for their parents to show them how to get things done, not do it for them.
I have a daily debrief from each employee who works and in it, they are to describe a problem they solved (big or small) or an example of taking the initiative. Their responses (or lack of) gives me insightful information. I have several employees that help keep things running smoothly because they try to solve challenges or make positive changes every time they work. They figure out how to look for another outlet, so to speak. Those are the keepers.