Trinity wasn’t the kind of girl who would readily take “no” for an answer. “Mr. Jones, I really need a raise and besides, I’m the best worker in the warehouse.”
Her boss had a different view. “Did you listen to anything I just said?” He pointed to her copy of the review on the table right in front of her. “You’re late more than anyone. You chat too much with the drivers, which slows them down. And it appears you’re not carrying your share of the workload.” He wasn’t sure if he should continue but then felt the point needed emphasis. “You’re the first we’ll let go if things get any tighter.”
“Well, at least I try harder than anyone! And I haven’t been late in a week.”
“What about this morning?”
“That was only five minutes!”
Jonesy was tired. These annual employee interviews were the worst part of his job. “Look, you’ve been given two verbal and two written warnings. You know I’ll need to let you go if you get one more.”
“Give me a raise and I’ll be the best worker you’ve ever had!”
Jonesy had been around long enough to know that not all young workers seem so entitled. Yet, he couldn’t help but reminisce about when he was her age. He and his coworkers were a different breed. They helped each other. They worked as a team. Sure, they played pranks and sometimes got chided if they came in hung over or if they were arguing too loud about sports or music, but they always got everything done and were rarely late. “That’s not how things work.”
“Look, I’m a single mom. And my car needs repairs that I can’t afford.”
If only she was as passionate about working as she was about asking for more money. And then he had a realization. In retrospect, it seemed it occurred the instant before she remarked on a related topic.
“And don’t forget I got us a new account!”
Maybe she could be in sales? “Well, technically, you referred that client to sales and they took care of the rest.”
“I pre-sold him. All they had to do was sign him up.”
It was a small account. But in all his years, that was the only time any new business ever developed from the warehouse. It was all because she chatted up an insurance adjuster who was inspecting the remnants of a minor electrical fire in the fuse box from a few days earlier. It annoyed the other employees because it seemed she preferred to talk more than work. But it was obvious she was talking about the company since afterward, she brought him over to get more detailed answers about their products and services.
“Did you know you could make more money in sales?”
“But I don’t dress like they do.”
Jonesy chuckled, “Yes, they present themselves a bit more conservatively. But more importantly, they come to work on time.”
Jonesy underscored the point: “They get paid to talk to people.”
For the first time, she didn’t know what to say.
“Of course, if they don’t bring in enough business, they’re out of a job.” He suspected his next point would challenge her bravado. “The reason they get paid more is because they deal with a lot of rejection. Most people can’t do what they do.”
“I can do anything!”
“Well, if you come to work on time for the next few weeks, I’ll put in a good word for you.”
Three years later, at the company’s annual holiday dinner, Trinity was awarded “Top Salesperson of the Year.” She used her two minutes at the microphone to thank Jonesy for seeing her potential. She concluded with, “And I don’t come late anymore.” This elicited plenty of audience laughter since she had drummed up company-wide support to convince their CEO to implement a flexible schedule, allowing many employees to arrive later, and stay later. So, she was well-known as the woman who got the company to change its scheduling so she could be late every day without violating the rules.
by George Alger
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