The Stories of J.W. Henson from All-Creatures.org


I was raised in a very competitive family. When I took my first job I became aware that not all mankind exerts the same amount of effort in doing a job. I have seen people who took it as they found it. People who never had the good things of life and too often the simple needs. If I worked twice as hard and twice as smart as another, then I expected to be paid much, much more than those who were willing to expend less energy. Those who are industrious, who invest more thought in their work should eat and dress better.

I saw others saving themselves for a nursing home on down the line in latter years. I worked hard, often telling myself that I was content to wear myself out at an earlier age. I discovered, however, that I did not go home wearier than my peers. I did not have to go jogging for exercise for I got it on the job. I was paid to get the exercise that I needed, and was paid at a much higher rate than other employees for the same hours that I spent on the job. I did not fear the boss, but thought of him as my benefactor, and friend. I did not have a guilt complex because I had been paid for more that I had produced. I did not have to ask the boss for a raise, but on several occasions asked him not to give me a raise for it might put me getting more than I had produced, and I am sure that did happen much of the time.

I always thought that if I gave the boss a tax problem, then in turn he would do the same to me, just to get even, and out of fear of losing me to the competition. They are never ignorant about where their income comes from. Hard work is a wonderful form of job security. I needed no union to represent me. I was able to do many things that the other employs could not. It was about like being self employed all of my life. I could have done no better had I been self-employed. I had other employees tell me that my hard work made them look bad. I was investing in my future and could not be concerned over how their output might affect them. I heard one employee tell how fast he could drive from home to work. I replied, “It is unimportant how fast you can get to work, what is important is what you do when you get there!”

I read in the Bible when I was just a child that ‘whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might.’ I would often think of that principle.

I often thought that the boss was the slave to the company and I was the freeman. I could do as I pleased so long as I pleased to make him all the money he could spend. I could walk away from the business at any time, and the owner could not. He had the ultimate joy and sorrow of owning the business. I was able to make decisions, buy equipment and never have my judgment questioned because he knew that I was making him money. In errors I was extremely fortunate, for I made less than one error that cost the boss money each decade of my life. If I had to rerun three printing jobs because of personal error in my 50 years in the trade, I should be highly surprised. I have seen other employees make up to 10 reruns per year, a lack of concentration and application to detail.

Listen to what men talk about when they are on the job. It certainly isn’t how to do a faster or better job. It’s about a remodeling job they are doing at home or the results of a ball game that they observed. If you attend the ball game with one of these employees he sits watching and tells of a remodeling job he is doing at home. Go home and watch him at the remodeling job. There he tells the wife about what the boss said to him. There you have it. He never has his mind and body on the same location. Why do we work? It’s to make money to support our family. Then lets make all we can in the least time possible.

J. W. Henson (2010)

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