Fireside: Nobody, Anybody, Somebody

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

Colossians 3:22-24

Any hiring manager for any business has to learn how to evaluate people in a relatively short amount of time. A decision to hire the right or wrong person can make or break a company’s budget in the long term. An interview is the smallest commitment but carries the heaviest implications.

There are many attitudes that manifest around the interview table. A good interviewer will do their best to bring out a candidate’s real skills and weaknesses.

I’ve conducted several dozen hiring interviews, and I’ve coached hundreds of young people on preparing for their first job. I’ve found that what is required of a good employee is plain-old good character.

I’ve rounded my philosophy to three alliterated words: value, vision, and vocation.

Value says nobody can do my job like me.

I’m looking for a certain level of confidence in a coworker. This confidence evidences more with maturity, age, and experience. However, it can also show up as eagerness to learn, and good listening skills. It is reassuring to know you are working with someone who has been there, done that. They will be invaluable.

They will say, “I’ve never worked as a loader before, but I have hauled bags of leaves cleaning out my own yard, and I’m sure I could learn this.”

Conversely, this attitude can ferment into arrogancy. The attitude, “I was looking for a job when I found this one.” No matter how capable a person is, if they are an insufferable jerk, you may be better off without them.

Vision says anybody can do my job.

Which leads to the next quality, which is actually the sum of several: leadership. Whereas the valuable person can DO a job, the vision person can LEARN and TEACH a job. They have a meek attitude that doesn’t overstate their value. Their prudence forsees their limited lifespan in a job, and plans for their signing off as well as their signing on.

They will say something like, “When I’m finished as a loader, I want to train my replacement so he can be as safe and efficient as I am.”

The opposite of this mindset will empower an employee to create an unnecessarily complex job that is neither efficient nor teachable. In an effort to be indispensable, a person with wrong vision only makes their job overcomplicated and basically impossible. They’ll do it so they can look good by making others look bad. “I don’t know why he has a problem filling in… this job is so easy I could do it in my sleep,” does not give the boss the warm fuzzies.

Vocation says somebody ought to do this job.

If any would

not work,

neither should

he eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:10

This is the want to. “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” is the adage that describes value and vision. Vocation says: “This well-worthy thing is what I want to do.” It answers the life-long search (for many) of what they want to be when they grow up. Payroll, working conditions, retirement, safety are all side issues when you have someone who is called into a vocation.

You can tell the person with vocation in their heart by what inevitably comes out their lips. “You know, when I think of making a difference, keeping my town clean and getting paid to do it makes me happy.”

Maybe not quite that sappy, but the emotional side will show up, or it won’t.

You can’t fake a lack of vocation. People who try are awkward and cheesy. They overplay their enthusiasm. This person is the most dangerous, because they can ace an interview, and never show up for the first day on the job. They’re flaky.

Let’s face it: everyone must work to eat. But life is about more than working so we can eat and work more.

Nobody can do my job.

Anybody can do my job.

Somebody should do this job.

Value. Vision. Vocation. Learn them. They will make your work- and your life- a joy.

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