According to Stats SA, as of the second quarter of 2013, there are 52,98 million people living in South Africa and the unemployment rate for the same period is 25,6%.
I have been saying for a while, I was going to address being a “good” employee in South Africa on Facebook. And I have sat down a few times to write a bit of a rant about the young up-and-coming newly employable population in SA for a while. Unfortunately, every time I sat down to write a rant about their attitude, or their sense of self-entitlement, or their slap-dash attitude, or their smartphone addiction, I realised that all of these irritating traits applied just as much to me when I was and up-and-coming employee, more than a decade ago. Well, didn’t that put a dampener on my rant?
When I first became a teeny-tiny part of the film industry, back in 2002, I was lucky enough to land a job on an international feature. I was beyond green; I was lumo green: terrified, learning on the job, desperate to please and did I mention terrified? And I couldn’t understand why the production team gave me such a hard time. Literally, tears every “day” (we were shooting nights), as they lambasted and abused me over the phone about something I had done wrong out of total ignorance (call sheets, DPR’s, time-sheets, call times, crew bookings, gear bookings, cast calls, you name it…). I thought they were the devil and they hated me. What I’m starting to grasp an inkling of now, is that they were just really busy and really frustrated with my attitude.
Yip, because despite being desperate to please and terrified, this didn’t translate into humility, but rather a slightly arrogant attitude and a penchant for pointing out when other people had made (what I thought were) mistakes, in an attempt to show my worth. It couldn’t have been pretty. And the “breaking” of me (I’m pretty sure we can just go ahead and call it that), that followed, wasn’t pretty either. It wasn’t a great reaction to a less than great situation, but its what happened. It took me years to get over it, but I might just have placed the last nail in the coffin of acceptance these last couple of weeks.
Because as I find myself becoming more and more of a “boss” person, I am having to find my own way to deal with up-and-coming attitudes. How I navigate this process is a story for another time, but in the meantime, here are some hard and fast rules its NOT OK to break, if you wnat the job:
1. Be on time, but don’t be a clock-watcher.
2. Do your work with the most attention to detail and professionalism that you possibly can. Especially the jobs that you believe are beneath you.
3. Smile, take an interest in everyone you meet (yes, even the courier guy), make eye-contact and say thank you.
4. Separate your personal life from your work life AKA Keep home at home AKA Be consistent in your work attitude.
5. Do what you care about. It shows in the way you work. No-one wants to employ the person who is only interested in that salary at the end of the month. Or if you don’t care about what you do, work so hard and you do your job so damn well out of a sense of personal pride, that no-one cares.
6. Listen and read. First time, every time.
All of this is my opinion, based on my experience…here are a few traits other people think are important:
What would your most important traits be?
Meantime, here’s an awesome pic of my cat, Radar Love..OMG, now she would make the worst employee EVER!