Why does the Squeaky Wheel get all the Grease?
by Haven D. Mankin
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Posted: Tuesday, June 10, 2008
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Who hasn’t felt the need to “ride herd” over people to get something done, or maybe you’ve become so frustrated that you finally shout in disgust, “if you want it anything done, you gotta do it yourself”. Sadly, the whole thing is nothing but a cannibal, feeding on itself, and people’s service gets worse year by year.
You’ve heard the saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, if we were talking about real “squeaky wheels” that would be the best decision for action. But most of us know this saying as it relates to getting things done.
Who hasn’t felt the need to “ride herd” over people to get something done, or maybe you’ve become so frustrated that you finally shout in disgust, “if you want it anything done, you gotta do it yourself”. Sadly, the whole thing is nothing but a cannibal, feeding on itself, and people’s service gets worse year by year. Here is what happens:
• You need something done and so you work to find & hire a person to do work for you.
• That person agrees to do the work for a fee and a schedule for final delivery is set. You probably will in turn make other arrangements for other work to be done based on the pre-arranged finish date for this portion of your project.
• The deadline comes, you go to pick it up and the work isn’t ready as promised.
• The hired person makes a weak excuse about being busy, says he is sorry (maybe), and that he’ll get the work done by such-in-such date.
• You now have reason to mistrust the company but surely the guy will meet this newly established deadline; realizing that he has screwed up...he’ll want to make it right and save his reputation…right, believe it when you see it.
• At the pre-arranged time you make your third trip back to his shop to pick up your work, and…it isn’t ready and the guy didn’t even have the courtesy to call you. Now you are getting more upset.
• You feel that you have been taken advantage of…and you’re right, you have been…you are simply just too nice (boy, have I heard that before). Silly you…you assumed the guy would do what he said he would do!
• The fact is, he has been working on someone else’s work instead of yours; someone else who has been yelling at him to complete his “agreed to” job. The guy doing the yelling & acting ugly is getting “the reward”…he is getting his work done! You, the considerate person, goes unrewarded.
If you had two jobs to do, both requiring your attention at the same time, which would you work on? The job where your customer is screaming at you or the job where your customer is only a little upset but acting calmly? It is natural to steer toward self-preservation, take the heat off and stop the attack as soon as possible. But my problem is this: you didn’t agree to do the work of both projects at the very same moment did you? Which project was your first agreement to work on? Why are you not working on that first project first? It is the only honest thing you can do…period! Oh, you say that the second guy is yelling at you louder than the first guy and you don’t like it…then why did you set the second job on top of the first job? Could it be that you are greedy?
So your employer tells you, “I don’t care what you have to do, just get the job done”, and so you become “the screamer”, because the screamer gets things done (you think). You now have crossed the line into “rudes-ville”, thinking if I don’t hound these guys, I’ll never meet my own deadline. And so, it builds, like a cancer. Soon, the work environment lacks civility, integrity, honesty, calm and courtesy…and all will begin to believe that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and you’ve gotta be tough! So after work, you go home, feeling oh so good about how you treated your fellow man and kick the cat.
Now you’ve learned that awful and valuable lesson; you too must yell and scream to get anything done. You have to call to remind people over and over to do their work; you must treat everyone as babies, incapable of doing anything on their own. If you want someone to show up for a meeting, you must treat adults as children sending multiple reminders and then place confirmation calls to make sure they don’t forget…nobody on the planet is capable to do anything anymore…we have a nation of babies. I guess that is also why we have weathermen on TV that have to tell us when to put on a coat to go outside or to turn on the lights in our cars or to drive carefully when it is obviously slick outside…we can’t survive without someone telling us what should be common sense…but I digress.
Here is my problem with all this: Why should I have to be a horse’s butt to get YOU to do the work that YOU agreed to do? Why should I have to rant & rave, spend extra time on telephone calls and make extra driving trips just to get YOU to do your job…a job that YOU agreed to do in the first place? If you are too busy, just say so. If you don’t want the work, don’t take it…just tell me upfront so I don’t waste my time. But since YOU agreed to do the work (which is the same thing as a verbal contract) then just do it when you say that you will do it. So simple, even a child can follow this concept!
I am convinced that this scenario is so widespread that if you have a company that will act politely, get accurate professional work done on time for the pre-agreed-to price, with no other problems, whining or complaining; that that company will be successful. This isn’t hard to do and what a difference it would make in the world! You might even go home after work kiss your spouse and play with your kid…and love on the cat too!
Haven “Muskrat” Mankin
Web Site: Muskrat Books
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Haven D. Mankin