Character: Build It Here
Act Like the Owner
“I got you an interview with this woman who needs a bookkeeper,” said Joan.
“What! I don’t know anything about bookkeeping,” I replied.
“That doesn’t matter.” Joan responded, “You need a job and this woman approached me on the street this morning when I was leaving the post office.”
“Wait. What are saying? Some woman came up to you and said something like, ‘Hey, do you know a bookkeeper who needs work?’”
“Yeah, something like that.”
“And what did you say?”
“I told her that you had just moved back here and are looking for a job and are the best bookkeeper I know.”
“Geez, Joan, now I suppose you expect me to show up for this interview and ace it.”
“Yeah. Exactly. You got a pencil? She wants you to come by her office tomorrow morning at ten. Here’s the address.”
I got the job. Cora hired me because she appreciated my honesty when I told her the story about Joan’s unfailing confidence in me simply because we’re friends. Cora took a chance on me, but in looking back on this, I can see how trust played the major role in this story. Cora trusted her own ability to train me and she somehow sensed that it would be worth her time.
In the year that I worked for Cora, I learned everything about running a small business - front door to back door - sales to shipping. She shared her knowledge with a generosity of spirit that I will always hold as the gold standard for any business owner. In fact, one of her favorite mottoes was, “Act like the owner.” She wanted all her employees to feel invested in the company, not just for the paycheck, but for the satisfaction of seeing the company go forward, which included an avenue for profit-sharing as well. Every Friday, we all worked in the back warehouse, helping to package and get that week’s orders out for shipping by 3:00 p.m. We had great fun working together. Cora made it a practice to hire from the disabled community, yet another way that she trained her employees to be more inclusive in our interactions.
I was a young mother with four small children when I worked for Cora. There was no way that I could have gone to school to get an MBA to gain a more lucrative career. Cora gave me the opportunity to learn the basic principles of business which later helped me to get a better job so I could provide a decent life for my family.
These days, it takes a college degree to even get an interview, let alone a job. Cora stands as proof, however, that taking a chance on a young mother whose only real skills came from managing her family, can be an investment in humanity.