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|Improving your new year|
|El Lechero Dairy Basics - Management|
|Written by Tom Fuhrmann|
|Thursday, 09 December 2010 10:36|
2010 has been another difficult year for the owner of the dairy on which you work. You know there hasn’t been the money available to him or her to pay you more, even though you may really deserve it.
You probably feel trapped by your situation – more work, more hours and not much more money. But you can make a difference and help to change your situation.
I am very fortunate to work on many dairies that have really good Hispanic workers. And I see opportunities to improve communication and the understanding between you and your dairy owner so that your work will improve the productivity and profitability of the dairy.
Most American dairy owners will pay more, when the profitability of their business allows it, to those workers who “produce.” When you work correctly, whether as a milker, herdsman or any other job on the dairy, you do make a difference that affects how much money your owner makes and how much he can pay you.
Dairymen will pay more to workers who are productive because that is part of their culture. They don’t pay more for hard work; rather they pay more when that hard work produces better results.
Your Hispanic culture and that of your Gringo owner is very different. Americans “live to work” while you probably “work to live.” So your owner has a plan and instructions for you to do your job.
He expects you to understand the importance of his plan and to follow it exactly. Then he expects good results because he knows that your work and his plan produce profit for his dairy business.
While American dairy businessmen don’t want to take advantage of workers, they put great emphasis on workers who understand that “work is the most important thing to do” when you are at the dairy. Right or wrong, Americans view “time as money” and value workers who understand that philosophy.
You can socialize with your friends and spend time with your family, but do that outside of work time. Your owner expects you to focus on your work for the 8 or 10 hours each day that you work for him.
This is probably different than your idea of “living,” where people relationships are more important than work. But while you live here, you work in a “Gringo world” and need to adapt to it.
So I am going to attempt to explain what dairy owners expect of you in the following dairy owner’s letter to you and your fellow workers; it represents what dairymen want and need to make their businesses become more profitable and to pay you more.
In a similar article I’ve written in Progressive Dairyman, I’ve tried to express to your dairy owner the concerns you have as Hispanic workers:
I am a dairy businessman, and I have a plan that depends upon you to implement that plan with me. When we work together, that plan will produce results that allow me to pay you fairly for your efforts. I can’t control everything, but I can’t do this without you. At the same time I can only do it when you attempt to understand and follow my plan. Trust me; I know the plan works and we will be profitable enough to compensate you for your work when the economic downturn we are experiencing now improves.
While your culture and mine are different, I respect you and appreciate what you do. My culture values work, expects people to do what is right and sees the difference between equal versus fair. I will not treat you all as equals; rather I will treat you fairly.
If you work better and harder, I value you more than I do your co-worker that doesn’t work with the same effort. That is my definition of “fair” and how I constantly judge people to be as fair as possible.
We need to produce results, so I measure what you do. You may not think you can affect results, but you can. When you work exactly according to my plan, results will follow. This is why I have standards and I expect you to work to that level.
I will not only measure the results of what you do, I will constantly judge whether you are doing your work correctly. When I come to you to ask or tell you to do your work better, I am not insulting you personally; rather I am identifying that you are not working according to the plan.
I want to give you every chance to understand and improve, but working right is one of the most important criteria I will use to determine whether I can pay you more.
You may think that at times I am not very understanding of you, not very compassionate. I do care about you and I appreciate my friends and family just as you do. But they understand that I have to be successful to give them the lifestyle and things they expect.
Please understand that I think of you much the same way; I want to give you what you expect and what we’ve agreed upon. I can assure you that you will have everything necessary to do your job well.
For all of us, communication is more difficult when language and culture are barriers. These barriers are difficult but not impossible to cross. Hispanics that attempt to speak English gain an immediate level of respect from their boss.
If you don’t speak English, attempt to communicate through a fellow bilingual worker you trust. But when you don’t understand what to do or are confused about what is expected, please ask. Gringo owners will always respect you more for asking for clarity rather than doing something that turns out to be wrong because you didn’t understand directions.
Understand that Gringos are competitive; they need to win so their businesses are successful enough to pay you fairly. They have a plan that requires everyone on the team to work to high standards.