The Rippleman’s Guide to “Essential Employees”
Hey guys, I wanted to talk to you about the term “essential employee” and give you a very different perspective from what we’ve been hearing in the past few weeks from the media. Now we all recognize the essential employees are generally tied to people that are on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, this would include healthcare professionals, and other folks that are providing essential services to help us keep living.
While most of us have been forced home and are having to work in very unique business environments, I want you to think about “essential employee” in a different mindset. I want you to think of what the term “essential employee” means to you, and if you are fortunate enough to continue to have a job at this point and if you’re able to be able to work from home.
Ultimately, I want you to think about you.
Now, I’ve seen a number of people make some very stupid mistakes on social media by joking it up a bit about doing a conference call with their boss or being on a zoom call while they’re in their pajamas or other things. Some of which are not necessarily putting forth their best efforts. You know, joking around about having happy hour at one o’clock during the business day, while they’re still working. Although I think it’s okay to make light of the current situation, there is a more responsible and professional way of doing this. Let’s face it, none of us have experienced this kind of life altering change to this extent before. It can be especially difficult if you’re not accustomed to working from home. It is a bit of a paradigm shift, but it can be a big challenge and it can also have a major impact on your effectiveness and efficiency as an employee.
I have a good friend that I will not name, but he is someone that has kind of played it up about how simple and easy life has been working from home. He’s bragged on social media that he’s only putting in half days and he still supposedly getting a lot of things done. Now here’s the thing. If you are lucky to have a job, people are paying attention to you, whether it’s your coworkers or direct reports, your managers, the owner of your business, or any other business associate you may have.
In this instance, this individual went a little too far and got a little bit too much negative attention. They ultimately ended up getting laid off this week.
I feel horrible for him but looking back, I can’t say I didn’t see it happening. It happened long before I would’ve even had the thought to mention something to him.
If you are lucky to have a job right now, your boss is considering you to be an essential employee to their business. That means that even though you’re not at the office, you need to put in as much effort and work as you possibly can to show that you have value. This is important to do. As a business owner myself, I know that owners are looking at who they want to keep on payroll and ultimately will give their best efforts to help keep the business profitable and the lights running, so to speak. They are looking for who is going to help keep the business moving forward, continue taking care of customers, and ultimately help produce the necessary revenues.
Furthermore, you certainly want to know that you have the people on the front lines that are there to support you and continue to fulfill the mission despite not being up under your corporate roof. You want somebody that’s going to take it seriously, and someone that’s going to represent you well and will recognize how fortunate they are to continue to have a job.
Because let’s face it, so many companies are shutting down. So many people are losing their jobs. So when you treat what is happening like it is a vacation or that it’s acceptable to have happy hour at one o’clock, or think it’s funny to do a zoom call in your PJ’s –– it’s not funny to the people that are trying to keep you employed. It’s not funny to the people that have lost their jobs and wish they had yours. When you make a list of the people that you need to keep around, you’re looking at the people that are showing up every day and giving their all. They’re putting in just as much effort as they always did and they’re making themselves visible and reliable.
I want you to think about that as you look at where you are with your current career path. Whether it’s being an “essential employee” to your customers or being an “essential employee” to your company. I think it’s a critical thing that I don’t think a lot of people are thinking about, but I really hope that you do.
Because here’s the thing –– you have got to differentiate yourself in these times.
I heard a phrase yesterday from Mark Cuban that “giants” will be made out of this scenario. There’ll be heroes that are made out of this particular situation, and you want to be that person. You want to be that person that everybody thinks back to. In 2020, when we went through that rough patch, they’re the ones that showed up. They put in the work, they asked for more, and asked how they can continue to help and add value in a time where there’s so much frustration and struggle. That’s the person that stands out.
Go be an essential employee. Be the one that everybody sets their sights on and basically measures themselves and their efforts against. At least that’s my opinion.
Until next time…
ICYMI: This Too Will Pass