When we think of a cowboy, we see him on his horse, surrounded by cattle. He manfully surveys the herd in his charge, ready for rustlers or predators.
What we fail to notice is the dirt covering him, the dust, the manure stuck to his boots and pants, and the muscle aches and pains from being on horseback for hours on end.
The jobs of a cowboy were many: wrestling calves, castrating, branding, shoveling manure piles. He was the grunt of the range. For every bit of glamor, there was a dirty job to be done.
Today, our jobs rarely entail branding cattle (unless you’re a rancher). Most people would give up anything to get out of their offices and into the fresh air. Jobs have changed over the years, but the nature of the work itself has not.
Just like the cowboy, we often have dirty, boring jobs to do. The question is what attitude you’ll do it with?
A cowboy could complain about the job, or the work required; but when he looked for another job, his reputation would spread through the area as a bad ranch hand. The Old West was a small community. Word could spread on horseback just as quickly as an inter-office memo, sometimes forcing men to travel to completely new states to find work. (And you thought having a good reference from your former boss was important now.)
The cowboy is a symbol of the Old West, of the glories of range, the romanticism of a past time when men were men who tamed a dangerous, unbroken land. Above all else, he is a symbol of a work ethic to emulated.
How To Be A Cowboy At Work
Men who complain about their jobs, large or small, will not be the go-to-guy for the boss.
Reputation is powerful. There is no harm in becoming known for a good work ethic. When jobs are small, it gives you training for the larger ones, preparing you for greater things.
If the job is more difficult than you think you can perform, it’s an opportunity to test your abilities.
On the range the dog who barked at everything got shot. Just saying.
Be Careful What You Say
There are times when the job is going so badly you want to scream, and Sh out at your boss that you quit and run out the door with as many free office supplies as you can. But that ain’t the cowboy way to behave.
There are times when we will likely hate our boss, possibly even the job, but we shouldn’t say it to the world. Keeping such opinions on your employers private shows respect for the people you work with and the company itself.
A man’s words reveal his heart. In an age when a six shooter was a common companion, you tended to choose not only your words carefully, but the people you hired to work around your ranch.
Own Your Work
Depending on the job, this may be the most difficult. If you don’t care about the work you do and simply clock in and out, you’re not going to be a good employee.
Own what you do, and do it to the best of your ability. For the cowboy, his job wasn’t a mere fancy to fill the waking hours, it was a lifestyle he committed to.
Every job will have its excitement, but it will also have its boring moments and mundane tasks to perform. A cowboy takes what comes to him without complaint or excuse. He wakes up each morning ready for the day, showing up for work asking, “What’s next?”