CAREER Smart

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Just the other day, I had the opportune chance to meet a young man working at a fast food establishment. Many people would consider it a menial entry-level job. What impressed me about this young man was that he was treating this job as if it were the most important job that could be done. This led to a conversation between the young man and me. He shared with me that it was very important to him to have integrity, and perform his job to the best of his ability.  

I shared with him that it is essential to keep that attitude and that his work ethic would carry him far.  There is that old saying “any job worth doing, is worth doing well”. He shared that they were just put through their annual inspection from corporate. He was proud to say that they were able to “ace” the inspection and added that his goal was for them to have the cleanest and most well-organized facility within that franchise.

After I finished my meal and left, this young man asked me if everything was good with my meal and that he hoped that I enjoyed my visit. All of this positive activity led me to do a Facebook post, and I tagged the general manager of a Freightliner dealership that is right down the street from this restaurant. The following day, I was at the dealership and I shared with many of the managers there that it would be a good idea to take their lunch break at this establishment and take a good look at this young man as an employee prospect.    

This is how I have always conducted myself at work, and I continue to use this model since being self-employed since 1996. I still remember many people in my younger years saying to me that I was “Doing too much without it being my responsibility”. Doing more than only my job responsibility over the years has led to countless opportunities over my working career.  

It is not just how you do your job, but also how you present yourself while you are doing your job. Many years ago, I adopted wearing a nice uniform while conducting my business. This has paid off in great dividends, as I had customers tell me that they appreciated how I represented myself and them, while I delivered their products.  

Several years later, after the adaptation of the nice uniforms with the embroidered logos, I was challenged by a business friend of mine to add a tie to my uniform. The idea at first seemed ludicrous, because I was a flatbed carrier and needed to chain, tarp, and strap loads down to secure them to the deck of my flatbed trailer on a regular basis. I ended up taking that challenge and purchased a tie to wear with my uniform shirts.

The customer's reaction was far better received than I would have ever imagined. The nice thing was that when I was putting my best foot forward making a delivery at a consignee, they would often call back to the shipper and have positive reviews to share with them about “this truck driver that delivered” to their location wearing a tie. The tie did not make me any better than my fellow drivers. However, it did provide a visual cue when customers remembered the manner in which I performed my duties of service.  

In my opinion, the key to success is to always put your best foot forward and never settle for “That's good enough!” Represent yourself and your job in a manner that will leave a positive influence on the customers you are serving. The return on investment from this practice will far exceed most anything else you can do with your business or career.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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