It seems so simple. How can something so simple be so profound, and so ignored? In the Monday edition of the Wall Street Journal appeared an article entitled – Bring Back the Work Ethic. It is an interview with Bob Funk, who is CEO and founder of Express Employment Professionals, one of the nation’s largest job agencies. Since he started the firm in 1983, he has helped 6.5 million people find jobs. So he is a bit of an expert.
“So many people do not realize how important the soft skills are to unlocking job opportunity,” he says. He shares a small brochure his company puts out summarizing a recent survey of employers. In order, the survey found the top five traits employers look for are as follows:
- Work ethic/integrity
- Culture fit (teamwork)
- Critical thinking
Four out of the top five have to do with character, godly character. Only critical thinking would be considered outside this area. Drugs are a huge character problem today as well, with many would-be employees putting themselves out of the running when they fail drug tests. Some are happy pot is legalized in various US states, but they don’t realize how it affects their ability to get a job. In the US, a certified truck driver can start at $55,000 to $60,000 a year, for example, but no one’s going to hire you if you do drugs.
If all this sounds old-fashioned, it is—and Mr. Funk isn’t ashamed of it. Where does Mr. Funk get these radical ideas? They are from the Bible. He is a Christian with a degree in theology among his various degrees. So in Matthew 7:12 when Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, I guess we could say that means, “work for others as you would have others work for you.”
So many people, Funk says, are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of work, from knowing how to dress and showing up on time to taking direction from a boss. At a time when employers are complaining they can’t find the people they need, Mr. Funk says being honest and having the right attitude will help you stand out from the pack.
Nor does Mr. Funk look down his nose at so-called McJobs: “Those low-paying, entry-level jobs,” he says, “are good training for the soft skills you need for upward mobility.” It is far better than falling into the socialist trap in which people end up losing their appetite for work because they become too comfortable with government benefits meant to be temporary.
Mr. Funk generally starts people out as temporary employees, but points out that 62% of the “temporary” workers he places end up being hired to stay on full-time. “Try before you buy,” he calls it—and says that goes for the worker too! “It’s the greatest feeling in the world to help someone who wants to work find a good job,” he says. “I’ve helped a lot of people find jobs in my life,” he says. “And I’ve learned that if you are honest, have a strong work ethic, and stay off drugs, there’s a great future for you out there.”
McGurn W. Sept. 4, 2017, Bring Back the Work Ethic- ‘There’s a person for every job and a job for every person,’ says Bob Funk., wsj.com