I showed up a bit late to the shop that day. I had an excuse: had to hit the toilet before leaving the house. My colleague (let's call him Bob) literally gasped: "Why the hell aren't you crapping on company time?" As you can imagine I was a bit perplexed and he obviously saw this on my face. He then proceeded to explain to me that I need to slow down. No one liked over-achievers and it reflected poorly on everyone else's work. I shouldn't waste my private time in the toilet either....that's what paid time is for.
Seriously, I couldn't make this up if I tried. It's also one of the things that I remember to this day like it was yesterday. Bob's words ingrained themselves in my mind and I honestly am reminded of this every time I take a bathroom break at work!
It was a part-time job way back when and I was doing grunt work. The full-time guys were all union and mostly 30 or 40 years my seniors. Nevertheless, this employer was seen as the gravy train. No one was ever measured on performance outside of a couple of the management guys. Everyone else couldn't care less. Vacation allocation was extremely generous and salaries were comparatively high for the type of work done at this place. I'll admit I technically should of quit on the spot but I was having none of that. The salaries for the summer grunts were some of the best in the area and I was a teenager. I could work outside. Take the shirt off, work on my tan while doing physical labor (I actually was one of those guys who always wanted the "heavy lifting" stuff as I just considered it a replacement for the gym that day!)
You can imagine I was often frowned upon. Hearing things from Bob and others like "let's take the scenic route today" and driving about an hour longer and 50 miles further to get somewhere which was a mile away wasn't uncommon. We actually took breaks from not working to work instead of taking breaks from work to rest. We'd go and race the company trucks in the woods. There were a couple days when someone pulled out a backpack full of beer and that was it for work that day. One big party! I vowed to NEVER end up in a job like this "when I grew up".
Fast forward 20 years. I like what I do. I'm measured on performance and I wouldn't change that no matter what. Yes, I rode the gravy train back in this part-time job but I wouldn't tolerate that type of work environment or position nowadays. Part-time and making some money on the side doesn't require you to have a fulfilling position where you learn every day. Challenges are good if you can get em' but sometimes it IS only about the money.....for college, for the family, whatever! Yet, it should be avoided at all costs once you're actually in your career years. If you're in a job where "you're crapping on company time" think twice about whether you're in the right role. Sure, you may be a champ to milk the opportunity as long as you can but I highly doubt you will excel long-term. There IS NO career path when you're crapping on company time. Seek out challenges and take on more than you think you can handle. Take risks and CARE. Ask yourself on your next bathroom break "am I crapping on company time" or am I getting S6!T done? No pun intended!