The mail lady asked me if I would hire her son for a summer job at Tornado. I was a bit taken back by the question since the extent of my discussions with the mail lady are about what snacks we have in the office or why nobody was here for a few days when the mail was delivered.
Now here’s the twist: She went on to tell me that her son is addicted to drugs. She said “he’s stoned most of the time” Yes, I woke up this morning and decided I wanted to hire somebody who’s work ethic must be the pits. What’s worse is she’s ok with this. She said so… “just as long as it is on the weekends.” Insane!
It’s certainly surprising to me that people don’t try to hide facts like this when they’re telling you about qualifications for a job. A few months ago I interviewed a web developer and everything was going great until he told me that he had his contractors license taken away from him by the state of California. Saying he had to “leave California.” I didn’t probe further and immediately wrote him off my list of potential candidates.
These are two rather extreme examples of something I wanted to talk about. A mentality I’m calling the “employee mentality.”
I touched on it briefly in my last post about developing web applications.
What is it? Its the difference between people who go to work just for the paycheck and those who think like an owner and strive to create value and do a better job. People who work for more than just a paycheck. It’s called the owners mentality because business owners tend to go the extra mile with customer service and services for clients.
“Owners” are the people who accomplish two, four, even ten times as much as their peers. To be an owner you don’t have to own a company. In fact, many owners don’t.
In the case of the mail lady’s son, she’s obviously of the opinion that having a warm body in the office is better than nothing and inherently creates value for me. The faceless company. This is completely wrong. It’s wrong for a small business and it’s wrong for a huge company (where people like this often hide).
The owners mentality is difficult to describe. You either have it or you don’t (although you can learn to have it). I think one of the best tests of an owner mentality is when someone is involved in a project and it’s doomed to failure (or so everybody thinks) and one person rises to the occasion and saves the project (and the client) and sees the value of the long term client relationship (rather than the immediate reward).