A Cowboy’s Faith: Accountability in short supply

buchmanhead“You aren’t going to be able to work here anymore. You’re late this morning, and we haven’t heard from you the last two days.”

The message wasn’t precisely like that. Yet, it was straight forward, as congenial as possible.

Still in early grade school when Dad fired a grocery store employee, it left a permanent mark.

At 8 o’clock Saturday morning, the teenage farm-raised boy walked in the backdoor anticipating going to work.

But, Johnny (not his real name) was supposed to have been there at 7:30. He was to bring the produce out of the cooler to the front of the store for display. With Dad’s help, it was already done, and we’d also washed windows, which was typically the worker’s next assigned task.

Moreover, Johnny was expected to work every day immediately after school for two or three hours. He’d frequently be late, and sometimes not come or even call.

This was the time that Dad and Mom put their feet down. Two nights without an excuse and late on Saturday, busiest day of the week, that kid was without a job.

Uninvolved, sacking potatoes nearby, the reprimand and out the door order still makes us cringe. Lesson taken to heart: “be accountable.”

Show up for work, do the best possible, and if unpreventable conflict, or incapability, inform the employer. Things can come up, but good bosses understand when dilemma is honestly explained.

Too often today, people are not completely accountable. Some arrive when scheduled, punch the clock, but don’t do their job.

Yet, continue to get checks and benefits. Employers are bound by so many regulations; they can’t risk laying somebody off.

Consequently, responsibility and efficiency are all-time low in the workplace.

Those who want to work and do the job energetically are selected over time clock punchers. There are exceptions with high turnover in some businesses, when workers don’t do their job.

Sadly more often: the opposite. Not just in the workforce. Leaders on all levels are not accountable or responsible. One thing said; something else or nothing done.

Few step up to right it like Dad did more than five decades ago.

Reminds us of Exodus 18:21: “They’ll be accountable for the everyday work.” Because, Leviticus 17:16: “If he doesn’t do his job right, he’ll be held responsible for his inactions.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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