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The “Barf Bag Speech”


by Glenn Shepard
December 8, 2015
Category:  Management


Odessa, TX Dec 10
San Angelo, TX Dec 11
Paducah, KY Dec 15
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Dear Glenn,

We’re having a problem with (some) employees challenging us on schedules of others. The conflict mainly is Sundays. We hire according to the needs of the business at the time. We hire college students who need certain days of the week off for school, some we hire request to have Sundays for church, some have other jobs we work around. We now have some employees hired around their work or school schedules saying there is favoritism or discrimination on our part shown to the Sunday church goers because they get to have off on Sundays. These disgruntled employees do not work every Sunday, and get some Sundays off. They’ve written letters showing schedules of supposed favoritism, one quit, and others smirk and gossip with new employees, spreading negativity and making the air of the employees poisonous. How should this be handled?

Linda in Myrtle Beach, SC

Dear Linda,

Soldiers, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, and a lot of other folks have to work on days they’d rather be off. But they all knew what they were signing up for when they took the job, which is why you’ll rarely hear them complain. It’s called professionalism. I know you work in retail and your employees don’t have the same level of training as the fields mentioned here, but you can still hold them to a high level of professionalism, maturity, and responsibility.

One of the reasons my beautiful bride and I chose to leave our entire estate to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is because everyone we’ve ever talked to there – from the CEO to the receptionist – is so professional and takes their job so seriously.

Thanks for your question.

- Glenn in Nashville, TN

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Two weeks ago I gave my worst speech ever, at a conference in Meredith, New Hampshire.

After contracting food poisoning the day before, the flight up was miserable. An inebriated passenger behind me kept singing “I’m Getting Drunk on a Plane”. I kept an air sickness bag between my legs and kept hearing “I’m throwing up on a plane”.

I was pleasantly surprised that I made it through the flight without using the bag – or punching the obnoxious guy behind me.

The first session I did at the conference was on management. I could give that one in my sleep because I’ve given it over 1,000 times. But the next morning’s presentation presented a challenge for two reasons.

First, I was weak because it’d been 3 days since eating a regular meal.

Second, I needed notes because I only give that one about once a year. As soon as I started, I realized I had brought the barf bag and left the notes in my room.

I had to wing it.

After leaving New Hampshire still in a fog, I was supposed to drive west to Albany, NY. After 2 hours, I noticed signs for Boston and realized I had driven south to Massachusetts.

Eventually I made it to New York where I did two seminars, flew back to Nashville in time to take my beautiful bride to Key West for her birthday, and then back to Nashville for Thanksgiving.

Having made my living as a public speaker for over 20 years, rules of work like “The show must go on” are second nature to me.

But even if I were a ditch digger, I’d still have the same philosophy. It’s something I learned from my father, my grandfather, and my great grandfather.

There was an unspoken rule in my family that you might be forgiven for being a drug dealer, a bank robber, or even a serial killer. But the one unforgiveable sin was being lazy.

A strong work ethic was woven into the very fabric of my DNA from as young as I can remember, and it was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.

It’s an outright travesty more parents don’t love their kids enough to give them this gift.

To Your Success,

P.S. For anyone at American Airlines who reads this, I’m sorry I stole your air sickness bag :-)

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