Summary: Our work is different when we are supervised than when we are not, but our character and commitment are measured thereby. We can be Matthias, who accepted an assignment he did not seek, with joy; or Joseph Justus, who failed to get that same assignment,
When you can see your supervisor, you work. When you
cannot see him, your work style is likely to slow down. The
difference between those two things is the measure of your
character and your commitment.
When you can see your supervisor, you work diligently. You
work hard; you get the job done. You want to look good in
his eyes, and besides, if you do not do your work well, you
will be reprimanded. When you can see your supervisor,
and he is looking over your shoulder, your work style is
focused and diligent.
But let that supervisor go out of sight, and it things will
change. Once you know the boss is not watching, your work
style will become more relaxed, less focused. When you
know that the one who supervises you is out of sight, you
back off. The difference is the measure of your character
and your commitment.
What happens in a classroom when the teacher leaves?
Chaos! What happens in the office when the boss steps
away from the shop? Party time! We are different when the
supervisor is out of sight.
Some parents know that and have taken to installing video
cameras in their teenagers’ rooms. Balcony dwellers, for a
small fee I’ll tell your parents how bad an idea that is! We
are different when we are being watched than when we are
not being watched. But the difference is the measure of our
character and our commitment.
When I was a boy it was my job to mow the lawn. We lived
in a corner house, with a pretty good-sized lawn. It seemed
like there was a mile of sidewalks to trim. I did pretty well
with pushing the mower, but when it came to hand-clipping a
mile of sidewalks, I balked. I didn’t like to do that. The only
things that kept me going were that my father expected it,
and that when it was finished there would be a nice reward in
the form of a fifty-cent coin. Now I know that to today’s
generation, fifty cents for mowing a whole lawn doesn’t
sound like much. In the 1950’s, however, it wasn’t bad; and
there was something about the heft of the old fifty-cent coin,
which we don’t see much now, that really made it seem like a
great reward. Knowing that I would get that coin and that my
father expected this job to be done was enough to get me
started. But not necessarily enough to keep up me moving
to finish the whole thing – particularly not enough to keep up
me scooting along the sidewalks and working those shears
to trim that crabgrass. I delayed, I dallied, and I dragged; I
stopped to talk with my best friend across the street. I
stopped to laugh at my friend next door, who could do a
Donald Duck impression that would send you into gales of
laughter. I stopped to tie a clover chain. I lingered under the
magnolia tree to enjoy the shade. Anything I could find to do
to keep me from moving on with that trimming, I did. My
father was out of sight, and the fifty-cent reward was not
enough to keep me moving.
But – here was my problem. My father was a postal carrier,
and he had been assigned to carry the very same street on
which we lived. And so, suddenly I would see him come
around the corner, a short block away, plodding along, up