It is the mother of hard work.
This article was written after Parametric Manufacturing received the award for Best of 2017 machine shop in Silicon Valley.
Look around. What you see is what you’ve earned; no more, no less. Seriously, how you are living your life, what you have or don’t have, what you wished you had more or less of with regards to your career, your family, your happiness, love, and health are all an accumulation of what you earned.
It is a direct result of the quality and quantity of work you have invested juxtaposed to the environment you probably feel you have had no choice in creating.
Regardless of the opportunities or inequality of your life in contrast to others who are more fortunate, what you have today is what you made the most from what you had to work with.
There is no great conspiracy working against us either, it’s simply the pursuit of improving our unique personal situation.
If one is born into poverty in a third world country, these statements are cause for protest and anger. However, in their present moment, technically…what they have in their lives is simply what they managed to earn from their unique set of opportunities or lack there of.
I’ve seen it first hand in the poorest country in the Americas over eight years. Those that choose to work hard and use their minds, they earn a better life, period.
Hard work doesn’t discriminate, yet it does create inequality from those that adopt the work ethic versus those that don’t.
If we want more in life and business, we have to earn more.
It’s not your employer’s responsibility, it’s not your neighbors, nonprofits, gofundme.com, your family/friends and especially not your government’s. Nobody is going to give you what you want or need over the long term, ever.
This is where entitlement stops us in our tracks. We feel we already did enough, so we deserve more without doing more and that math just doesn’t add up.
Here at Parametric, if we refused to “do more to earn more” how can we have more? Not possible right? Doing more is simply, figuring out how to do more beyond what one is currently happening; it’s smarter work, harder work, and more work.
If we want new customers, but can’t afford to hire anyone to help, we have to be creative and do more to earn them. If we want to provide our employees 100% free medical insurance, we have to earn more profits and the employees have to be productive/efficient enough (earn it) for those profits to be actualized.
EVERYONE has to do more to earn more to have more.
I’m guilty of being a rock head and playing a victim mentality early in my career; I just didn’t get it.
It wasn’t fair the company with 530 million dollars in the bank wouldn’t give me the raise I thought I deserved.
It wasn’t fair that I outperformed my coworkers, yet they earned more because they worked for the company for much longer than I have.
It wasn’t fair the company didn’t give engineers bonuses yet bestowed sales people bonuses; it just wasn’t fair!
I erroneously thought it wasn’t my fault at all. It was the fault of the system, of short sighted executives and VPs who didn’t understand the value of the amazing engineering work we did to enable them to even have a product to sell in the first place. Sound familiar?
Again, I was a legend in my own mind.
My entire perspective rationalized why I wasn’t reaching my goals and it was never truly my fault. To this day, I have to be careful not to be whisked away in the tornado of trepidation that everyone is more than happy to swirl around in.
It is so much less work to point out the events that led to a given situation and tag most of them to be out of my control, hence it’s not really my fault and I can give up or move on to the next thing or worse…
Blame others and complain about the injustices the world has imparted upon me publicly (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) in attempts to find other’s to join my club of Royal Underachievers that will temporarily boost my self-esteem and accept my current situation without doing anything about it, because, “It’s not really my fault”.
I’m ashamed today of my past self in this regard, but grateful to have been bonked up side the head with the reality of life’s frying pan.
If we don’t like our role in life or business, we have to become the little Choo Choo train that could to earn a better one…that’s how it works.
Being born in this world doesn’t entitle us to anything other than the right to think for ourselves, use our minds and use our bodies to survive and better our lives; it’s a doozy to accept for sure.
There is oppression, tyranny, discrimination, and so many more injustices in the world holding us back or pushing us down. Yet, we can always do more to better our lives. It doesn’t mean we give up or do nothing at all.
Earning it involves playing a long game, making constructive long term decisions, critical thinking, reflection, strategy, insight, risk, vulnerability, hard work, some success, mostly stubbing our toes along the way and it will break one’s spirit if one continues to point the finger at everybody but themselves.
Or that we have a new QuickTurn department where we are delivering parts in as little as three days now.
Or that our production (high volume) pricing is more competitive than ever.
Or that you have witnessed us pulling out all stops, working weekends to complete your orders on time.
One thing I know for sure is that you haven’t noticed how my hairline recedes another .050 inches every time we deliver late…
It’s often called bootstrapping and it requires one to suffer, to work harder, to do the extra work with no immediate rewards, knowing that the fruits of labor won’t arrive for years to come; much like a start-up.
When I came on board last year, we had zero sales efforts and literally just counted on the phone to ring. We needed a sales and marketing effort but didn’t have the cash to fund one.
I was already working a full day, so I worked evenings, weekends, for months and months and months to build our strategy, expand my skillset, build a website, marketing, crack the SEO riddle, advertising, these articles…and now, 18 months later, we are turning customers away because we can’t keep up.
I didn’t want to write articles and post publicly? However, I chose to be vulnerable, to be constructive, do more work than what was required and it led to Modern Machine Shop printing their piece and we are sales are up; it’s bootstrapping.
And the crazy thing is, very few of us are willing to do it this way? It’s a daunting struggle to do more to earn more without more resources and opportunities. Excuses literally evaporate when bootstrapping because we leverage a free, undervalued and overlooked resource.
When you literally need cash, sacrifice. Jon and I took a 75% cut in pay such that we can divert it to payroll, OT and still doing it today. Jon often came in on weekends to keep machines running and jobs moving forward. Programmers and other key machinists did the same, literally donating their hard work and not clocking in.
We have been definitely earning it by simply doing more with less. Saying thank you is nice, but the good-faith profit sharing speaks louder than words (good-faith means we didn’t have the profits to share but found a way to give back to the team anyway).
We all won Best of 2017 together because we all worked hard to do more, with less so we can earn more. Those that didn’t want to play that game, well they don’t work for us anymore. Funny how that works?
It’s a nice validation but doesn’t mean we will saddle up on our high horse to feel superior over everybody else. It simply fuels more motivation to rejuvenate, shore up that inner strength and do it all over again to reach the next level and then the next.
All of us here at Parametric are sauced out and we must approach bootstrapping in waves/cycles. Take breaks when the wins come to rejuvenate, to shore up that inner strength and then do it all over again. A savvy leader would ensure all players on the team are cycling through it with a balanced, combined horizontal moving average of the peaks and valleys; we need to improve in this area.
More importantly, everyone must win. Jon and I will continue to spread the love with good faith profit sharing. *It also allowed us to work on the weaknesses of the company, driving an incentive program to fix those weaknesses (performance review vs profits shared), and use it as an education program to teach employees how they make a difference in the company.
So I encourage you to knuckle up and put in the time, the effort and the strategic thinking required for your personal life, career or business. Play a savvy, strategic long game, leverage time. Maybe you need to take a vacation first to build up the strength for the next push? Whether you are an executive or a carpenter, it doesn’t matter. I bet my left pinky you want more in both your personal life and your career…all you have to do is let go of the injustices of life, point that finger at yourself, work hard, do more, use your mind, don’t give up and go out there and earn it!