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Carwash as a Place for Character Judgment

Carwash as a Place for Character Judgment

By James H. Choi
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https://dl.dropbox.com/u/6378458/Column/Graphics/carWash.jpgCar washes are popular fundraising activity.  Every summer, I run into students, usually girls, holding roadside “CAR WASH” signs with a group of students washing cars somewhere in the field of view.

Every time I take up on the offer, I witness something interesting.  I see each student’s true character in full display, along with Pareto’s 20-80 Rule in action.  The rule in this case would state that 20% of workers will do 80% of the job.

The leader who organize the division of labor and resources, and a few hard working members who perform the work form the 20%.

The remaining 80% of the members do 20% of the work at a leisurely pace.  I will refer to them as 20%-ers and 80%-ers in this article.

These 80%-ers do not refuse to work, but they drag their foot in all activities except to engage in chatting.

The 20%-ers typically stay on the job until the car is spotless.  The 80%-ers are more focused on their talk, and display a high level of transcendental tolerance toward spot/stains/dirt.  Rain would do a better job than these slackers.  Would you believe me if I told you these 80%-ers are more likely to complain than 20%-ers?  Keep the question in mind and observe as you live through your life.

In a job interview, every single person claims to be a diligent worker, quick learner, and other cliche attributes.  In other words, 100% claims to be 20%.  You can say that the whole purpose of interviewing is to select the 20%-ers while avoiding the 80%-ers.  As you will discover once you rise to that decision making position, this differentiation is amazingly difficult.  You can see into many feet of water, but you cannot seen even in inch into human mind.

However, on these car washes, their defenses are down and they are displaying their true character.  Observe them while they are transparent like clear water.  And get to know who are the 20%-ers to choose as your future business partner, or employee.  And who are the 80%-er that you need to send away.


By sending away, I do not mean to physically keep distance.  They are your friends, and friendship is important.  When the time comes, recommend them highly to your competitions, the company that is threatening yours.  Hopefully, your friends will make a good living there, happily talking all day, dutifully collecting paycheck every other week, all the while dragging down their employer’s business to the ground.

As soon as the rival company goes down, show your unwavering friendship again.  Recommend your car-washing-days’ buddies highly to the next rival company.  And so on.  There are so many of them, 80%, you will never run out of highly recommendable candidates.  Certainly, you will never run out competitions.   This eternal win-win solution will keep your friendship strong and your business prosperous.

However, be aware of the other side of the same coin.  Our success in life is largely determined by the people we meet and the opportunities they give us.  Always work hard and accomplish your duties at these car washes, and in all other circumstances.  Someone may be observing how you work, and deciding your future.  Work like a 20%-er at all times.


Categories: Career Advice
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  1. November 27, 2012 at 12:41 am

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