Employee of the Month

Photo by  Jeff Sheldon  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

My dad taught me how to be a valuable employee.

“90% of it, is showing up,” he told me countless times over the years. His advice, which he insists was not original, was sound, nonetheless.  

As a military brat, I was also taught to be punctual, put things away, and walk on the right side. You wouldn’t find our family haphazardly roaming about as we walked the trails at Yellowstone park like some families. Nope, we’d be lined up, single file, on the right side, like good little soldiers. 

I applied a lot of what I learned growing up into my working life. My performance reviews have supported my assessment that they translate into desirable attributes of an employee. 

On occasion, I’ve been the recipient of employee awards. I proudly displayed the certificates and acrylic trophies in my cubicle. They brought a moment of happiness at the recognition, but that faded quickly. They became nothing more than dust collectors. How I felt about the job I was doing was much more important. So I tried hard. 

I strive to be the sort of employee I would want working for me. That very idea got me thinking. Why had I spent my entire career trying to make someone else's goals a reality? Was it really worth all the effort or was it a waste of time?

My girlfriend used to say that no one has ever had “Best Employee Ever” carved into their gravestone. She was right. 

Sure I’ll still show up at my day job and be the best employee I can be. Some things can’t be easily unlearned. Plus I wouldn’t want to disappoint my dad. But my focus has changed. 

I’ve decided to put that good work ethic, that dedication to detail, that willingness for hard work, to better use. I’ve decided that I will be my own best employee. I will show up at my desk every morning at 5:30 and I'll write. I'll face the challenges that come, with a positive attitude and unrelenting determination. 

But I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned while working for others. I might not have been able to get this far without building up some of the very skills I need to accomplish my goals; being a self-starter, showing up both physically and mentally, and working hard even when it went unnoticed. 

I’m nearing the completion of a major rewrite of my first novel, Seeing Red. It hasn’t been easy but it’s a lot more rewarding than any of my previous jobs. It's work I love doing. 

I've put in more hours, working for myself, than I care to count. I've worked nights, weekends, holidays, while on vacation- all without earning a single cent. But it's okay. I'm up for the employee of the month and I'm pretty sure I'm a shoo-in.