Employment Is Not An Entitlement.

Sometimes when you’re running a business the lines get blurred between being a business owner and an employer, and being a friend.

Ultimately there always needs to be a clear distinction between business owner and employee.

And that’s because one party has skin in the game.

And the other has no skin in the game.

And therefore there needs to be recognition of rank, and there needs to be respect shown towards rank.

A dental assistant who worked for me for five years had had a career as a dental assistant in the Royal Australian Navy, and had told me that this part of her employment history had taught her recognition and respect for those with higher rank.

My old boss….

A dentist who was a previous employer of mine, in private practice, had been a dentist in the Royal Australian Navy before starting his own practice.

He told me how, while in the Navy, he had been treating a sailor and making that sailor a set of full dentures.

At the try-in appointment, my employer had seated the waxed up dentures into the sailor’s mouth.

When the sailor was handed the small face mirror, a broad smile came across his face and he said to the dentist, beamingly:

“Thanks mate!! These look great!!”

The dentist, my boss, was about to remove the waxed dentures from the sailor’s mouth when he felt the hand of his commanding officer upon his shoulder. Pausing for a moment, the dentist heard his commanding offer say softly:

“Let him go”

And so the dentist, my boss, allowed the sailor to leave the dental clinic wearing the waxed up dentures.

My boss was confused. These waxed up dentures were meant to be returned to the dental laboratory to be finished into acrylic base dentures.

My boss asked his commanding officer for clarification.

The commanding officer said:

“Son. Sailors don’t call officers ‘mate’.”

Twenty minutes later…

Twenty minutes later the sailor returned to the dental clinic in a state of distress.

The sailor had felt so proud, with his new set of wax dentures… but drinking a cup of hot tea had caused the wax to melt and the sailor started spitting out individual denture teeth….

The lesson is simple

In business there must always be respect, especially for a business relationship that involves favour.

Business owners  must respect employees who provide labour in their business.

And employees must also pay respect to business owners who have given them the opportunity of employment.

Neither of these relationships should be taken for granted, but they are not equal relationships, because without a business there is no employment. A business can exist with fewer employees. But employees cannot exist without a business.

A great employee understands this relationship and works it in their favour.

Great employees are rewarded for their exceptional performances in the business. The efforts of great employees help businesses to grow, and thrive. And with this growth comes recognition, and financial rewards.

Employment is not an entitlement.

When employment is “taken” as an entitlement, it simply gets taken back, or taken away.

Very quickly.


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