As I write this column, Cal Ripken Jr. has become a legend in baseball by playing in more consecutive games than any other player. Some might say it doesn't seem like such a great feat. After all, isn't that what athletes get paid millions of dollars to do? Show up and play?
True. But in today's work environment, showing up for work each day and on time is considered something of a phenomenon. So perhaps it's good to look at what Ripken's record really means.
When it's time to play a game, Ripken showed up ready to play each and every time. It doesn't matter that he gets paid for doing it. The fact is that he does it. No excuses. No complaining about the heat. He does what he gets paid to do - play ball.
Woody Allen once said, ``80 percent of success is showing up.'' That might sound trivial, but I hear too many employers complain about how difficult it is to find employees who show up for work every day and on time. Most would be tickled pink with employees who just showed up.That's 80 percent of the battle.
Most of us will never be paid millions of dollars to do what we do, but that does not excuse the fact that we should do what we are paid to do to the best of our ability.
We don't have to be great athletes. We don't have to be famous. We don't have to be heroes. But we do have to be willing to show up ready to play. Not just for one day. Not for a week, or a month, but each and every time.
Showing up, that's the first part. Being ready to play, that's the second step. That involves mental, physical and emotional readiness to do the job at hand.
It is what teamwork is all about. I talk to many employers in the plastics industry who implement the team concept in their work force. Yet, how many of those employees understand that for a team - whether in baseball or business - to be a success, every member must show up to play every day.
A team of employees who show up each and every day makes a company successful. Just as a baseball team or any other team can't win games without a full complement of players in every position, a production facility can't operate at full capacity efficiently if some of the people don't show up.
So that's why it's such a big deal that Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing more than 2,130 consecutive games. That's why he's considered to be a hero of sorts - someone every worker in the United States can and should emulate.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.