“I Ain’t Serving No Police”

Earlier this week a McDonald’s employee was terminated for refusing to serve a uniformed officer. You can read the story here and while it’s sad that our society has bred this much animosity between groups, I don’t want to make this the theme of this post. I simply am offering an extreme example of being a bad employee so I can write about what you can do to make yourself a valued employee.

McDonald’s is a minimum wage employer. All you need to do to get a job there is fill out an application & fog a mirror. Show up on time & be civil to customers and you’ll keep the job for as long as you’d like. But you’ll never go anywhere. Did you know McDonald’s was the first company to have a Global Training program? Did you also know in some countries getting into that program is more difficult than getting into Harvard. Being in management for McDonald’s is a highly prestigious job in some areas of the globe.

Every employee McDonald’s hires has an opportunity to grow, but they have to do more than phone it in.

This is true in every job you’ll ever hold. If you are really good at hitting all the responsibilities laid out by management you’ll have your job until the next corporate downsizing or management shift. You are paid to do the basics, but if you want to move up you need to go beyond the basics and add value.

How do you add value?

Every manager has expectations of your performance. Look for little things you can do to improve process, save money, or better serve your customers. Sit down with your manager on a regular basis and talk about your ideas. Get their buy-in on your ideas & implement them. Sometimes that means working late. Sometimes that means doing things that aren’t in your job description. It usually means you aren’t going to reap immediate monetary reward. But it does add value, and when it comes time to decide who to promote (or possibly cut) do you think it will be the idea person or the phone it in guy? Don’t answer – that’s a rhetorical question.

Find a way to serve rather than be served. Be generous with your time and talent. Even when you don’t like someone. Rather than refusing service, refuse to be average. Even if you are making $10/hr flipping burgers. Because average doesn’t flip burgers for long.

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