Note: I first wrote this blog in 2012. I applies even more today.
“What benefits does this company offer?”
That question is often raised by applicants across the nation. They want to know if there are health benefits, time benefits, retirement benefits, and the like. In an effort to land the “best and brightest,” companies have put their money where there jobs were, and offered such benefits packages.
Do I dare say that a good job isn’t “all about the benefits?”
When I was 18, I was in an Air Force recruiter’s office and he was pitching me on all the “benefits” of military service.
“You will earn money for college. You will receive 30 days per year in leave (time off). You will see the world,” he said.
Rarely was their a mention of service to country, a calling to defend what we hold dear, or protection of our loved ones in the homeland. Perhaps I didn’t want to hear that anyway. Afterall, an 18-year-old wants to know what’s in it for him, right?
After signing on the dotted line, without ever consulting my parents, I was enlisted into the U.S. Military.
It didn’t take an hour after the start of Basic Military Training did all the benefits fly out the window.
I didn’t care anything about college. I didn’t care anything about seeing the world. All I knew was that somehow I had enlisted in “Hell” and I wanted out.
The funny thing is that everyone else had the same feelings. Had it not been our signatures on those dotted lines, and the fear we had of our instructors, we all would have walked. There wasn’t a benefit in the world that would have kept us there.
Over the next six weeks, as I progressed from my view of things to the military’s view, I realized the high calling of military service. I went from hating the military to being a staunch defender of my branch of service, and my country as a whole.
That higher calling has stuck with me all my life.
As our nation goes through many changes in the coming years, the time may come where companies will not be in a position to offer the benefits they once did.
As businesses, we must give our employees many reasons to weather the storms with us. We must give them a sense of value and “higher purpose.” There is always going to be a higher salary, and better benefits package out there.
Contrary to popular belief, most business owners and decision makers wring their hands time and again, trying to compensate their employees at the level they deserve, all the while trying to keep that bottom line out of the red. It is not an easy task at all.
Both sides of this equation have work to do. Employers should work diligently to show appreciation to their employees, while inspiring them to view their work as a higher calling.
Equally, employees should show a certain amount of loyalty to those who “gave them a chance.”
Together, we can not only survive the coming years, we can thrive.