Yesterday I confessed I don’t whole-heartedly believe in hard work for its own sake.
Today I’m telling you what I do believe in — know what your employer expects and deliver it. Give your boss more than he or she expects, especially when it counts the most.
But busy work is for suckers.
In August of 1993, I entered my sophomore year of high school. Like at the start of any school year, the coming football season captured most of my attention. This particular year, Emmitt Smith’s contract situation stood front and center as the most important issue to be resolved as quickly as possible.
The Cowboys were in the middle of their greatest stretch of my lifetime, having won the Super Bowl the previous season. Entering the 1993 season, Smith made a play for the biggest possible contract he could get, which was completely necessary as running backs have limited opportunities to get paid. So he held out all the way through training camp and remained a holdout through the first two games of the regular season. The defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys lost their first two games. I vividly remember sitting in Spanish class and worrying about this problem. Oh to return to those days.
In hindsight, that prolonged holdout was the best thing Smith could have done and not just because he claimed a four-year deal worth $13.6 million. Smith carried the ball 373 times in the 1992 regular season to help the Cowboys win 13 games. They went on to win the Super Bowl. In 1993, Smith only toted it 283 times, but the Cowboys still won 12 games and still went on to win the Super Bowl.
Smith rushed for more yards and twice as many touchdowns in 1992 than in 1993. But perhaps his greatest game came in the regular season finale in 1993. With the Cowboys and Giants tied atop the NFC East, Smith fought off the pain of a separated shoulder to carry 32 times for 168 yards and a touchdown to help the Cowboys defeat the Giants, 16-13 in overtime. Smith the warrior almost single-handedly, not to mention single armedly, boosted Dallas to a win that meant the NFC East title and home field advantage right up until the Super Bowl.
It was perhaps the most heroic moment of Smith’s career. By the end of that day, no one cared that he missed two games in September.
Busy work is for suckers.
Photo via 6magazine.