While working in a small company, from time to time I had to drive a delivery truck. It was one of the 3-ton pickups that you see on the roads of every city.
As a senior team member, I could pick my route. Usually, I would take a single-stop large delivery. So I can start early, avoid traffic and get home fast.
It was a rainy spring morning. I spotted a young fellow hitchhiking on the road. So I stopped and picked him up.
Here is the conversation we had:
Me: “So, where are you heading today?”
Him: “To the University. I am doing my Bachelor’s in Electro-Mechanical Engineering”
Me: “O, great! How is it going ?”
Him: “Good. I’m halfway through, hope to finish next year.”
Me: “Amazing! Do enjoy your time as a student. It is for sure the best time of your life.”
Him: “You went to University as well?”
Me:” Yup. But I studied Economics.”
Him: “And, what happened?”
Me: “Well, nothing special. I finished my studies, got the Diploma and started working “
He looked at me. I was in a full Company provided uniform. Dark blue jacket and cargo pants with Company logo. Sports shoes. Driving a delivery truck.
He went silent.
And this is what I told him and l keep on telling my team:
- Don’t expect a fancy office and secretary because you have a diploma. This happens in movies only.
- Don’t be shy to jump in and do a task “below your pay grade”. Especially in small privately held companies the owner will appreciate it.
- Wear the uniform with pride. It feeds your family, after all.
Later in my career, I participated on several occasions in “Walk a Mile in my shoes” events. We would spend the day with one of the operational teams, working side-by-side with them. This made us understand their challenges and problems. And on the other side, the motivation of the teams shoots up. The frontline workers would feel understood and appreciated by the management.
Never ever look down on your co-worker, no matter what is his role. Only if you both give your best, the Company can thrive.