By Amber Kinloch
There are Many Types of Good Workers
It’s hard to pin down the definition of a good worker. People have different talents and gifts, as well as different styles of working. Creative types can be disorganized (and if you try to organize them, they get stressed.) Orderly types can be thrown off their game when a crisis occurs. Extroverts are geared towards social environments. Night owls gladly burn the midnight oil.
This is good! We need souls of every bent, for each reflects a unique facet of God. Still, certain basic traits mark a good worker whether they crunch numbers, style hair, or mine coal.
What Makes a Good Worker
1. They’re competent.
St. Josemaría Escrivá remarks: “I cannot see where is the integrity of a person who does not strive to attain the highest skills of his profession and to carry out properly the tasks entrusted to his care. It’s not enough to want to do good; we must know how to do it and to do it well” (Christ is Passing By, 50).
A painter knows all about the different kinds of paints, as well as how to prep different kinds of surfaces and paint them. The clerk at the grocery store scans items quickly and efficiently, and stows them neatly in bags. A teacher not only knows about her history or science, but also how to engage students and adapt her teaching style to meet their differing needs.
2. They keep growing and learning.
My younger brother, a mover, was telling me recently about a new method he learned for moving bulky safes. Similarly, doctors attend conferences, read medical journals, and keep in touch with other doctors about the latest progress being made in their field. Even parents will tell you about how they’ve learned new tricks with the arrival of each child.
3. They use their time well.
A good worker is punctual. Shop owners open their stores at the advertised hours. Factories have orders shipped on time. Good students devote plentiful time to study and meet deadlines. Likewise, the office worker knows when it’s time to stop work and go home to his family.
4. They finish tasks.
Many begin a job with enthusiasm, only to abandon it as soon as they grow tired or difficulties crop up. Not so with the good worker. He finishes the task he’s working on down to the last detail, whether it’s a set of math problems, polishing a car, or drafting a proposal.
5. They’re patient.
Things go wrong every day. The car breaks down on your way into the office. You’re tired after a bad night’s sleep. An urgent telephone call stalls your work. The words or ideas aren’t flowing for a creative project.
A good worker takes a deep breath, murmurs a prayer, and gets on as best he can without undue haste. He stays calm amidst the surging sea. If he needs help, he asks for it. He doesn’t let others’ bad moods sour his own.
6. They look outward.
A design consultant sees that her client’s stressed and takes time to listen to them. A grocery worker helps someone find an item on the shelves. A baker donates time and money to a homeless shelter. The list goes on and on.
Even the loneliest night owl can be of use to others. They can attend to some small task and save their colleague trouble on the next shift. Maybe they brew the coffee for an early bird, or get the laundry done. Love’s ingenuous at finding ways to help.
7. They’re just.
Good employees give their best without letting themselves be manipulated or shortchanged. Good bosses pay fair wages, have clear expectations, and know how to be flexible when their employee calls in sick. They do not play favorites. They hire the best person for a position.
Good employees and their bosses work with the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They do not compromise on their morals, nor sell their souls to earn more money or attain a certain position.
Those selling goods or rendering services charge fair prices. They do not sell bad products. They treat their clients well and make things right if a customer is unhappy with a product or service.
Even those who work alone or are financially independent owe something to others in terms of time, money, or their talents.
Amber writes from the bunker of her living room. There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life. Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.