Episode 2: Showing up to work on time with Andy Frey
Show up to work on time and do well. It’s not hard, but a lot of people can’t seem to do it.
Automated Episode Transcript
Published on: Tue, Nov 26, 2019
[00:00:03] Anthony: Welcome to the Clueless at the work podcast, where we talk through a framework for being successful in your job. My name is Anthony Garone, and I’ll be hosting this show with some friends who are experts in helping people grow Content is based on my book Clueless at the work advice from a corporate Tyrant, which is published by Stairway Press. You can find out more at Clueless at the work dot com way. Have Andy Fry here in the studio and the last time we talked about, um, well, a lot of things. We
[00:00:38] Andy: covered a lot of territory,
[00:00:39] Anthony: a lot of territory in 1/2 hour And, um, where we left off Waas the idea that we need to empty the teacup of our mind. Ah, in order to fit more things in. And that’s really a question of Will you tell us?
[00:00:59] Andy: Well, so I was just thinking is we’re talking about We ended that episode we’re talking about. I said, you know, uh, your cup actually isn’t full. You said empty it. And I thought, You know what? My age I let a lot of I do actually empty the cup a lot. My brains at capacity. It seems sometimes, and so now it’s sorting out what’s worth keeping what’s not. Um, and I happen to be teaching ah, computer science course at the office to catch some people up who didn’t, you know, didn’t get to go through that and talk about offline. Storage it. So sometimes I think my brains putting that stuff and offline storage. And it’s so it’s emptying the cup. But
[00:01:37] Anthony: putting it over here just in case. But it’s not emptying the cup of beliefs about that knowledge,
[00:01:44] Andy: right? Right, That’s getting reset. Because every time I read something, I thought I believed or I thought, or it just thought, um keeps getting toppled over. It’s just it’s it’s an endless. It’s just a sort of it’s a journey. Every time you’re around the corner, something else pops up and oh, I guess I thought this, but I don’t know. I’m I’m open, I let go. That’s essentially. What I’m doing is I’m letting go off a lot of things that were just kind of burned in
[00:02:17] Anthony: habit. So I think that’s a good segue way into our next topic, which is contradictory knowledge. So there’s a lot that we? No. And there’s a lot that we forget. There’s a lot that we believe, but we’re not usually assessing one thing against another. So I want to read this quote from Duncan Watts in his book, Everything is obvious once you know the answer, As sociologists are fond of pointing out, common sense isn’t anything like a scientific theory of the world. Rather, it is a hodgepodge of accumulated advice, experiences, aphorisms, norms received wisdom, inherited beliefs and introspection that is neither coherent nor even internally. Self consistent. Birds of a feather flock together, but opposites also attract. Two. Minds are better than one except one. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Does absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or is it out of sight? Out of mind? At what point does try, try again? Turn into flogging a dead horse? And if experience is the best teacher, when should one also maintain a beginner’s mind? So contradictory knowledge? That’s, um, we all believe in it, and I just felt like a jerk because I called someone out on lengthen, who was like, If you need, If you need a good marketing strategy, stop having your teamwork on it higher one expert who can come in and consult and create that strategy for you. And it’s like it could go either way. Man, you know, like I could write the same thing about if you have one guy who’s developing your marketing strategy, get rid of that guy and get a team together. It is. It’s
[00:04:16] Andy: a when, when I see we talked in the last episode about alarms, you know, And when I see articles where somebody says, Stop doing this, stop doing that. Start doing this. Start like, Are you sure that it’s that Is it ever black and white? Is it that simple? You know, Are these five steps the way to do so? Right? There’s 1000 ways to do everything it seems. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s. But that’s that’s what sends up my my alarm when I see those articles and then I’m the same way. I want to call people out. But you know, it’s their day in the sun. That’s their article, but still don’t tell people that’s the only way to do it. You know, you’ve got to let that team go and get this guy or the other way around it isn’t ever like that.
[00:04:59] Anthony: That’s rightly gray, and you can’t understand what other people are going through. You can say this is what I experienced, but you can’t say, Hey, guys, here’s the way. Yeah, there’s only one way and it’s my way because it worked when I did it, Yeah, If it works for you, great, that’s great. But don’t prescribe it to me right as the solution to my thing. Yeah, So, Andy, would you read this? This other story here I would be happy to in italics,
[00:05:29] Andy: Yes. How do I read it in italics,
[00:05:35] Anthony: Dad jokes and
[00:05:36] Andy: jokes. It’s early, all right. The Buddhist scholar spent some time observing the Zen master with her other students, the 2222 separate students, right to two separate students. She gave contradictory advice. The scholar approached the Zen master asking Master, you gave contradictory guidance to two different students earlier. Help me to understand how both statements you’ve made can be true, the Zen master replied. When you are on the path and know where it leads, some students must be directed to the left and others to the right. The path is difficult to find and navigate. It is easy to get lost with a single misstep.
[00:06:15] Anthony: So I like that story because it’s really easy to two. See like Oh, well, he’s wrong because of this and she’s wrong because of that. But really, they could both be like describing the same exact thing. And there those classic MIM images of like one person standing on one side of a shape and it’s like It’s a square and the other person’s like It’s a circle And then you realize it’s a It’s a cylinder, you know? And if you look at it one way, it looks just like a square. And if you look at it another, it looks like a circle. But at the same time, like were contradicting ourselves right now because the Zen master says, When you know where the path is, that’s the way Yeah, and we’re saying there’s no one way. Yeah, but we believe it anyway. If it sounds good, then we believe it, right? Sure, yeah, I love that story about the contradictory evidence, but also there’s no one way way. There is no past. So is that metal? Is that what they I think it is?
[00:07:20] Andy: Yeah, yeah. Um, uh, this is the same as perspectives that people don’t like you said the barrel the cylinder, looking at it from above circle, looking at it from the side rectangle, you know, And it’s perspectives. And that’s another thing. A lot of lot of teaching that constantly taking perspectives, understanding. I see it this way. But I’m not. I’m not behind their eyeballs. I’m not in their shoes. Um, so again, ask questions. Find out what you’re missing. They see something. Why do they see that?
[00:07:52] Anthony: And we can allow those differences to make us bidder as we see in marriage. You know, it’s ah, when my wife and I were going to get married, I went through this. Ah, she was in college in Illinois, So I had to go through the premarital, you know, marriage prep classes without her, which was fun being the one single person, non couple in the couple’s class. And they had this really cheesy video Siri’s that I’ll never forget because it actually was effective. It was called Viva la Difference, but it was like, Yes, we are different and that’s wonderful, you know, celebrate the differences. But over the years like it when you’re in love and young, it’s like, Oh, I love how different she is And then 10 15 years later you’re like, Oh, why is she so different than me? You know, it’s so easy to let those differences poison our attitudes. And so we need to appreciate that one person sees a circle on one person, sees rectangle. Yeah, because otherwise were poisoning ourselves. And that gets into that the bad Apple syndrome, right? One bad apple can spoil the bunch. Um, which is another, you know, old adage. But it really does happen with people. You’ve seen it on teams.
[00:09:17] Andy: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s Ah, and there’s there’s an energy on a team. And when that bad Apple is cause I use the analogy like electricity, you know, and you’ve got to get electrons flowing through this team. Things were moving the circuits working. It’s great, but if you’ve got a bad component, it’s causing resistance. It’s causing heat. Ah, lot of times it’s unnecessary. Um, and sometimes you have to replace the component, you know, to keep the circuit coming. Um, but yeah, it’s and it’s it’s a lot of times it’s somebody doesn’t understand that everyone on the team has a perspective. Ah, and it doesn’t jive with that person’s perspective, but they’re like we were just talking about. They’ll push how they see it, and so it it’s it’s an easy thing to fix, You know when, or at least to explain to them. You know so and so someone so disagrees with you. But, um, also soon so doesn’t so. And so is not disagreeing with you because they don’t like you. They’re disagreeing cause they see something different. Maybe than you do. So ask and talk to them about it. Um, don’t. A lot of times when I sit with people, I will just outlasting questions. Is there something we’re missing? A lot of times, it’s that question. Almost always, it solves the problem. You solve the contention or whatever it is, you know. What are we missing? What don’t we know? Um, again, always be curious. There’s always something I don’t know always, always, always and, um, and if it’s sometimes it’s hard to remember that stuff. But you know, you and I’ve been doing this a long, long time, and it’s easy to fix things. It’s easy to say. You know, I I’ve seen this before. Here’s here’s what the thing is the problem is they’re not. They’re not going to learn if you’re just telling them you know what to do. Um, yeah. I may have gone off topic, but but it’s the whole it’s perspectives. It’s always perspectives. It seems like we’re always missing that. Because where we are, uh, one. Some of us are just wired to fix things. So we get wound up in what we see, and then we forget that there’s other people in the room. There’s other people on team. They’re seeing things I don’t see. And, uh, yeah, well, harp on it all day long about the, you know, ask questions. Just know that you don’t know,
[00:11:33] Anthony: right? Yeah, where I work. We were bought by Allstate a year ago. So now you’re in good hands. Uh, well, that’s not where the story’s going. No all state. It is a good company. Um, and they have their own internal struggles. Like any company that gets so big. A Fortune 100 company. You can’t move fast, but they want to move fast. And the CEO is constantly driving like guys stop being slow. Stop being fear, you know, like a risk averse. Go for it. But organizationally, it can be really hard for some teams at Allstate. So we were 100 person company when we were acquired a year ago. Now, like just in 2019 we’ve hired over 150 people. It’s been the most the craziest growth, you know, totally insane. And a friend of mine who works there like he’s telling me, Man, this job is totally crazy. I don’t know how how we can keep doing this. It’s not sustainable. And I say the same kinds of things. But then at the same time, I’m like, Yeah, but, dude, we’re We can work from home in our pajamas, you know, like we’re on a on an upswing were growing, we were purchased. So our parent company is investing tons of money in our growth. We’re not shrinking. We’re not laying anyone off because money is tight or something like that. Like there are so many problems we don’t have. But it’s a matter of perspective. It’s like, Is this the worst job you’ve ever had? Oh, man, Some days it feels like it. But the reality is it’s not like we’re doing nothing painstaking. We’re not having to like the hard decisions we make are about growth and supporting more users and turning a legacy system into something that’s more future proof. But even that can seem like Oh, this is awful. And it’s so easy to get jaded and feel like after so long, you’re like, Ah, hate this job and then someone new starts and like, this job is awesome you like. And you think, I wish I had your perspective. I was you once, you know. But the reality is that, um it is perspective, and I think in that Zen master story about the path when you know where it is, it’s not like the path to supreme happiness. It’s It’s the ability to live with yourself and to live with your circumstances. And sometimes you need to say, You know what? Today I got to work from home in my pajamas, and then the next day it’s like, You know what? Today I got to go to the office and see my peers and connect with them. But they’re both right. Yeah, it’s more about use thing on a path of contentment and as much as you’re able, and for people who may be listening saying Yeah, but there comes a time to quit your job like we’ll get to that. But for right now, for most people, I think we’re just spoiled or in a growth economy. There’s a zillion jobs out there. And if you’re making decent money, people value you. You have good people at work. That’s really all you need. And some people need less than that. Some people can thrive, you know, like there’s a guy I met when we worked at Melt, and all he did was bankruptcy consultation, and he just went from one company to the next, the next to help them through bankruptcy. This is a guy that thrived in the worst possible circumstance, like Oh, yeah, my job is to go in and help people deal with bankruptcy, go through all the paperwork, the emotional coping, all of that stuff. There’s something for everyone. But if we aren’t aware of our cluelessness and our constant bias, it’s so easy to just judge something and say, Well, that no, that’s a crappy job. Yeah, Thea other
[00:15:39] Andy: thing relating Thio that perspective and the, you know, e think one we we’re very good at at taking things for granted, especially when things are going smooth. You know, it’s, you know, the brain. The brain tends to go negative, you know, much faster, much easier than it goes positive. And, um, you can rewire that with practice. Mindfulness is one. There’s a bunch of ways to do that. But, um, what I’ve noticed is super helpful for me, anyway, is being grateful, which is another way tow wire. The brain rewire the brain. You know when when you catch yourself, uh, where you catch others saying, Oh, you know, it’s just so hard. This is so much work. This is. But like you said, we’re in a growth. We’re in a growth mode. Things were actually fantastic. You know, you’re you’re not out digging cow poop, you know that like there’s there’s other things that are worse. You know, you’ve got a great,
[00:16:36] Anthony: but there are people who did cow poop when it’s the greatest job in the world. There are
[00:16:41] Andy: days when I want to do that because I just don’t want to think anymore. You know, I just less resistance on dhe. So but it’s but that perspective in one of one of the things that, um, that has worked fantastic for me is being grateful every morning. You know, I think of three things, and I added to my little log thing that I’m grateful for and it has changed the way I would have normally looked at situations where I’m like after skidding old was getting tedious. Or you know, where I’m going to get the energy for. This doesn’t happen anymore, because I when when I start to rewire myself to change my perspective and to appreciate what I do have Ah, you know, then it makes me, uh it actually drives me more to find more things that will make me grateful and make me appreciative in it. It’s It’s a little self fulfilling prophecy thing, you know, and but it takes effort. That’s the other thing. We’ll talk more about that, I’m sure. But yeah, there’s my two cents.
[00:17:44] Anthony: Yeah, So that gets into ah, the next. The next thing. Like, once we get past biases and assumptions and just open our minds, stage one show up to work on time and do well, and I opened this chapter with a quote that just cracks me up from George Costanza. Oh, you Seinfeld? Yes. I love a good nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. A man, This is classic. It really is so funny. But the the idea of showing up to work on time, you would think totally straightforward, right? Yeah. I just go to work. I’m there by 99 30. Whatever it is. 8 38 Some people 44 30. But showing up to work on time takes zero skill, and a lot of people can’t do it. Yeah, they just can’t show up on time. And it’s not like a one time thing. Yeah, it’s, like all the time. Yeah,
[00:18:53] Andy: yeah, yeah. We had ah, Guy worked with it. A previous jobs was into World of Warcraft, you know? And And when it was big, huge when it blew up and he would wander in, you know, 10. The unwritten but expected rule was you were there by nine. Sometimes eight. When I started, it was eight. It kind of loosened up over time. But what did Scott wandering later and later and later at one point, was asleep. It’s keyboard, you know, It just that thing was all consuming. And I knew when I first met him, he’s capable of getting there at eight. He did. But this one thing was consuming his life changed his, changed his habits, or you destroyed them arguably. But yeah, um, it’s it doesn’t take a lot of skill. It takes some kind of alarm, You know, if that’s what it takes, right? In my case, I set three.
[00:19:54] Anthony: Yeah, sometimes. So, yeah. Count Newport, who wrote so good they can’t ignore you. He talks about, um you know, all you need is a cheap alarm clock in you’re the dollar store and get an alarm clock. My kids have, like, a $3 alarm clock. You know, it’s not like it’s expensive yet you could see Hey, Siri, set an alarm for whatever. And that’s so easy. And so many of us have these devices that allow us to do that where he could spend clock. Yeah, Or you can spend $3 you know, 1 333rd of the cost of a cell phone. Yeah, exactly. But just wake up on time. And this isn’t like some sort of conservative old school O draconian. Gotta work 9 to 5. Like sometimes I I have meetings at 7 30 Sometimes I started 10. 30 but I’m there and awake and present when it’s needed. And that’s the difference. Yeah, there are people who you show up at your first meeting, and it’s like, Well, they just rolled out of bed. You could see it. You can see their eyes. Yeah, you can see their hair. You mean you came here? I was up it 6 15 or so? Yeah, You showed up at seven. And I realized I haven’t even looked at myself. I don’t even know. I probably looked like I just rolled out of bed and
[00:21:24] Andy: you warned me you hadn’t brushed your teeth
[00:21:26] Anthony: or that’s right. That’s right. And thank goodness the microphone can pick up breath. It’s not Was it the smell of strong? But really, it’s so important to show up and be present because if you don’t give yourself enough time in the morning to be ready the whole day you’re competing against you’re like struggling to run every mile every hour.
[00:21:52] Andy: Yeah, for me. It’s what gets me up. Because I was a, you know, growing up, I was I’d sleep till noon when I could, um, not not highly motivated as a kid. Um, but I’m also a night out, so my whole schedule was just shifted. It wasn’t that I was lazy or anything. I was just getting my hours, and I just happened to not go to bed till three or whatever it was or four. And that happened a lot throughout my life. But when I was responsible for a company or other people, I would get up. But what motivated me to get up? And I think motivation helps, too. And, you know, when you’re content and grateful and happy and successful and things air rocking and rolling and gears are turning right, Uh, I always feel motivated to get up. So I tell people in meetings, um, you know that one on ones. My role today right now actually happens to be all about their success. That’s all this. I’m just I am at melt media employed there to help technical people and actually everyone in the organization and just be successful coaching, mentoring, whatever that’s what gets me up in the morning? When when I walk out of those one on ones and I always ask, you know, was this helpful? Did we Did we solve what we’re talking about? And I hear a resounding yes. Most of the times, uh, I get that shot of oxytocin in my head, you know, feels really great. And then I know when people see that they get a shot. It’s just so that drives me every morning to get up because it feels so good to help. That’s literally. What I do all day is just help people to succeed and that Dr um, right now it’s that used to be technology. I didn’t know something well enough. I was dying to know it more. So I wanted to get in and learn and keep keep working on. There was always some kind of driver when I was motorized in that silly office chair. You know, every morning I get up at the butt, crack it on
[00:23:46] Anthony: because it’s the carrot you’re dangling for your day.
[00:23:48] Andy: Exactly. Yeah, yeah, it’s It’s, uh, it’s a reward thing. Yeah, you know, that’s
[00:23:53] Anthony: for sure. I think about my own job. Yeah, I’m some sword. I don’t even really know my title. I’ve got, like, five different titles, and some of them, actually, some of them are completely absurd. One is like director of emerging product delivery, like Okay, you know, it’s a lot of care. It is. Um, but I don’t even think of that as my job. My job. While I am building products and getting them to market in some fairly complex contexts, my job is actually to keep things moving, and people don’t want to get blocked. They don’t want to get stunted. But if I think, oh, my job is to get this product to market, Well, that kind of commoditize is it. But if I think my job is to help the people that I’m with these people, these specific people to feel good about what they’re doing, toe have some momentum to feel like they’re making, they’re making a difference, you know, like, that’s my job. So if I can do that, I’m doing my job well, and no one is ever going to say, like, at your review. Well, how many e mails did you answer? You know, like how How inbox zero Were you all year? Worked your death bed? Yeah. Although there’s that great, uh, Tracey Ullman sketch. She’s on her deathbed and her family visits. And she says, I just I wish I had taken more pictures of my meals and put them on Instagram. And the nurse, like, comes in with her meal. And she’s like, Oh, son, granite, But really like commentary on her. What are people gonna remember? They’re going to remember? Oh, man. And he was always there. He helped people. He made stuff move like very rarely are our job reviews about the job, right? They don’t care how many lines of code it’s like was your code on time. It’s not, was a good code. It’s did que es And you know what did keep a think of your work? Were you easy to work with? And, you know, could they say, Hey, this doesn’t work, So go fix it. That’s really the metric. The metrics are all like human stuff, at least in every place that I’ve worked. I know there are places that are more quantitative, and that’s good, but if you’re good at your job that you could, you could do that like you can game that system. You’re easily. Yep. But you can’t game showing up on time. Yeah, you can’t game making your co workers feel valued, you know, helping them defeat like to feel like you’re making progress, because someone else is there with you. Like going through it makes all the difference. And if you’re in bed while your coworker is busting their butt, they’re not gonna appreciate that you slept in, right? Exactly. Yeah, we just
[00:27:03] Andy: changed our review system. And one, we made it simpler and easier because it was like herding cats and stabbing your eye with a fork. The old system, But the new one actually has about 20 questions that are super quick and easy to answer. But it is mostly based on the human skills. You know, we just always call them soft skills than I heard Simon. Cynic call it human skills and, like, Oh, that’s way better. Yes. So now that’s what we refer to him as, but the But the review is actually mostly about their human interactions with their coworkers. And it’s full 3 16 everything, too. So, um, but it’s changed the way it’s changed the way people think about how they move about, you know, their their job during the day. It’s This is a human thing. We’re all working together to produce these products. We are all very smart, were very talented, where we know we can do it. That’s that should come along with it. But that’s not gonna work if there’s friction, existence, all that stuff so
[00:28:03] Anthony: but there there are clearly some people who don’t value showing up on time. And I get that as long as you can manage your expectations with other people like a mutual friend of ours called me and said being on time is not, ah, low level skill here, like I shouldn’t like being on time doesn’t stop me from being successful. I thought, Yeah, that’s fair. No, Um, but the reality is like You can’t impose your tardiness or your inability to be on time upon others, and I think that’s that’s a big difference. It’s like, um, you don’t have to be on time to everything, But if I say Hey, Andy, I’m probably gonna be 20 minutes late, then if if I’m 40 minutes late, you’re like, Well, you did say you were gonna be 20 minutes late. But if I say I’ll be there at seven, and I’m there at 7 40 it’s like, Are you serious? Dude, I just did. I waited for 40 minutes. I wasted 40 minutes just sitting here waiting for you. Yeah, and, um, that’s just not cool. And you can’t establish trust on tardiness, right? Because it’s fundamental if one person shows up in there counting on you and you don’t show up where you show up late unexpectedly one time? Sure. Forgivable. Yep. But it’s that famous George Bush quote. Fool me once. Shame on you, fool me twice. You just don’t fool me twice. But really shame on me, you know, But you can make the other person feel like, Well, I’m the idiot for believing you were gonna be on time. Yeah, yeah, and ah, Accountable. Totally. It’s That’s all it is. Um, respect its foundational. It is. And while I think that you can be successful without being on time and I’ve seen a lot of very successful people who are sloppy, I’ve seen far more orders of magnitude more sloppy people that are unsuccessful, you know, like, yeah, there may be overlap, but I think you have to be pretty special to be not on time and successful, not on time and well liked.
[00:30:23] Andy: Yeah, Yeah. And, uh, to kind of differentiate let the being on time Two things that you have committed to being somewhere at a certain time. There are people certainly in this industry. Ah, ah, ah lot where they’re just they have Ah, they have a time of day that their optimum you know, their productivity is optimum. They wandering a 10 there, there till seven. I mean, that’s that’s fine. That’s still being productive. That’s still being a part of everything. But if if you have a commitment to a meeting, that’s it. Nine. And your jam is 10. Usually be there at nine and be in the meeting. And don’t be groggy. And don’t be useless, right? Because your people are counting on you.
[00:31:09] Anthony: Well, not just that, but people. Other people are judging you. Yeah, And again Exactly. You you can’t like my publisher said about my book. Even if people disagree with it, people should buy it and read it to know this is how the competition might be thinking right you know, like this is a different perspective. You may hate it. You may disagree with it, but this is how there’s a whole lot of people that think aboutthe world. So, um, yeah, you may not think being on time it makes a difference. But that doesn’t mean your team doesn’t think being on time is a low, low value skill, you know? So we don’t get promoted because we think we’re great. We get promoted because our team thinks we’re great. Exactly. And if we want to excel, if we want to grow, if we want the promotion and the salary increase beyond time, that’s like the lowest level, easiest thing to possibly do. And, you know, we were acquired. Like I mentioned Allstate acquired us. All States, based in Chicago were based in Scottsdale. Now I’ve got meetings two hours before 9 a.m. Arizona, because that’s that’s when Chicago starts and they own us. So it’s like I can’t complain and say, You know what, guys? I’m not doing the 78 but I can’t say, Hey, guys, I’d love to join this meeting. I’ve got to take my kids to school. I’m already up. I’m already doing something. The time zone different sucks, But I still we we negotiate. You know, we compromise. Yeah, but to say, like, no sorry, guys, I don’t roll till 10. Yeah, they’re going to go. Well, let’s get rid of that person. I’m sure there’s another person on the market with those skills. Yeah, let’s bring them in. They’ll be great. Exactly. Exactly. If you can’t show up for an early meeting, then you need to say, Hey, guys, I don’t think this is the right job for me, which is which is fine. Totally cool. Yeah, my kids, I have stuff to do in the morning or I’m up late at night. Maybe I work a second shift. Who knows what’s happening. But if the context changes, that’s a different story. But if you’re like no, I’m still committed and you don’t show up, then are you really committed yet? You’re not. You’re not committed Exactly. Speaking of not committed, let’s end this episode. Okay? Yeah, let’s un commit from this episode. That’s right. Yep. So just as a reminder, this book is ah, or this content of the podcast is based largely on a book I wrote called Clueless at the work. You can go to a clueless at the work dot com to learn more about it. Published by Steroid Press. Learned more about steroid press at stairway press dot com Thanks.