I just came back from vacation and had several hours of drive time which afforded me the chance to ponder more than a few things. As you might imagine, I also had the chance to observe a lot of poor driving habits making wonder “Why in the world, would any school would ever cancel Drivers Ed programs?” You name the bad driving habit, and I saw it on my trip. These included:
- Improper merging into oncoming traffic – This says “I am more important than you and I should not have to sacrifice by slowing down and looking for the proper opening by which to safely merge into the flow of traffic. No, instead, you need to accommodate me, even though the law says that you have the right of way.”
- Texting, reading emails, operating the navigation system, etc. – this says that “your safety is of no importance to me. However, my personal happiness, self-importance and satisfaction are.”
- Drivers riding the line – This indicates how people are oblivious to how their actions are perceived. Hello people…. margin of error here? Being oblivious is a form of not caring.
- Slow drivers in the passing lane – This also says “I do not care about the impact that my actions have on you or others.” This is magnified by the person engrossed in the conversation on their cell phone. Watch them slump down in their seat to really get into the conversation and not check their rear view or side mirrors for at least 20 minutes.
- People on their cell phones – see all of the above
It got me thinking about how bad behavior on the road reflects work habits.
Some will say that I am reading too much into this and that I am really stretching to make this case. But I disagree. People that do these things are do not act one way and then turn on an ambivalent attitude when they get behind the wheel. No, I believe that if you are considerate of others, are conscientious of your work and your role in a civilized society, then you carry that with you when you get behind the wheel. You do not instantly become someone that just doesn’t give a rip about your fellow drivers.
Sure, these problems could simply mean that drivers are poorly trained. But I stand by my case, for a few simple reasons. For a civil society to run smoothly, it means that we must understand that we do not have the right to simply do anything that we want, just because we want to. We have lost this understanding in today’s society.
Attitude, caring about others, and being a good person are not part time endeavors. These are “all the time” actions. And, these are essential traits for a productive workforce and company.
That’s why I think that driving habits do reflect work habits. If more people lived by the “Golden Rule” and by the lessons that they were taught when younger, then we would have far less need for corrective actions by HR departments.
People are, who they are, all of the time. You either care about others and your own reputation or you do not. In order to have more of the former in the workplace, we need less of the latter.