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5648.jpgRespect  is a word with a great number of meanings. You hear forms of the word “respect” in many places. Here are some examples: Doesn’t he/ she have any respect for themself? That truck is hauling a respectable load! ______ always dresses respectfully! Respect your elders! That uniform demands respect! Respect your heritage! Respect the law! Respect their work! Give your respects! Be quiet out of respect! Show some respect! Respect is earned! Respect your boss! Respect the danger! Respect the environment! Respect your parents! They don't treat me with respect! RESPECT, RESPECT, RESPECT! The list of ways the word “respect” used is respectably long.

 Where does respect come from?   

Can respect be attained by demand? I suppose respect can be demanded by a customer with the threat/fear their business will be taken elsewhere. Is that respect in this case, or is this simply market forces at work? For example, is the waitstaff at the restaurant treating the customers with respect for fear of the possibility of no tip, or do they truly respect the patrons?

Should respect be expected? As a customer, it would seem acceptable to expect a certain level of respect if for no other reason you are paying for it. Let’s step away from being a customer for a minute and use the example of a community park. There are many uses for a community park such as picnicking, recreation, dog walking, exercise, and many other activities. There is a dog exercising area and some common areas with picnic tables in the community where I currently reside. Throughout these community common areas, there are stands with plastic bags for the pet owners to clean up after their pets. These areas are used by people to picnic and play games, so cleaning up after your pet should be done out of respect for your neighbors.

There are many areas that are used in this same way mentioned above, at the travel centers, we frequently use as truck drivers. It would seem fair to expect that as a driver, it would be safe to walk the grounds of a travel center without fear of stepping in pet excrement because you expected the pet owner to respect everyone else by cleaning up after their pet.

Should an employer expect respect?

Let's say you own a trucking company and you buy new trucks. Would it be fair to expect the drivers to respect your equipment by keeping the interior clean, and driving them in the manner prescribed by the company? It seems if you see shoe prints on any other place than the steps floor, or catwalk this would be a sign of disrespect. I once saw a driver standing on top of the hood of a brand new truck while cleaning their windshield. Can you imagine buying a brand-new piece of equipment and having someone standing on the hood?

Should a customer expect respect?

If a customer provides a break room or bathroom facilities, would it be fair for them to expect those facilities to be respected? Why is it common to see graffiti on the walls of the bathroom or dirty footprints on the wall from people propping themselves up with one foot against the wall? Is it that hard to understand why the customers we serve often quit providing extras like this?

Should an employee expect respect?

As an employee, it would seem correct to expect respect if you are doing your job as directed by your employer for the wage you agreed upon before accepting the job. If an employee does not feel as though their wage is enough for the job they are performing, it's time to negotiate the terms of their compensation package. If the two parties cannot agree on the remuneration terms, it's time to seek another place of employment. This is not a time to lash out in a disrespectful way. Nothing is gained by acting disrespectfully by either party in this situation, and it's best not to burn bridges you may have to cross again in the future.

Demanding respect!

We have all seen people who demand respect. The question is, are the people who demand respect actually getting respect, or are they just being pacified so they don't make a scene? I have witnessed customers at a store or restaurant throw these kinds of tantrums demanding respect. Most of the time, they could have had their grievance resolved by talking to the management in a respectful tone.

I feel it's always best to talk things out in a rational manner, whether it be employer, employee, customer, vendor, or merchant, in which I do trade with. Once the conversation turns to yelling or screaming, both parties involved will probably not end up with a mutually beneficial resolution. 

Earning respect!

Respect earned is the most rewarding form of the word in my opinion. Respect is earned in the workplace in many different ways such as always being on time for duty, performing tasks as directed, treating others with respect, being a team player, raising up others around you instead of undermining your co-workers, keeping your workspace clean and organized and in general terms, aiming to make the employer profitable.

Earning the respect of a customer is important just as it is with an employer. Doing what you say you will do, when you said will, and as you said, will go a long way to gaining the respect of a customer.

Gaining the respect of customers has been the cornerstone of success that I have enjoyed as an independent Owner-Operator at Albert Transport Inc.

In closing, let's think about everything we do on a daily basis in terms of respect for the trucking industry that we earn our livelihood in. How do we get the respect of the shippers, consignees, the public, and the government? It is my opinion that this type of respect must be earned by displaying ourselves in the most positive way while plying our trade on our nation's public highway system by doing the right thing. It takes thousands of drivers doing the right thing to overcome the mindset which develops after someone in our industry does something to tarnish it. Let's leave the spots we take our rest periods in as clean or cleaner than before we occupied them. Let's follow the rules of the road, i.e., the lane we belong in, the speed we are supposed to be doing, and slowing down to safely navigate construction zones. Basically, let's show how good we really are.‘Til next time, respectfully signing off.

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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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