Ready or not, spring is here! A little sun, a little snow, a little rain—Central Oregon spring often gives you a tease of each of these in a single day. Here at Crook County Parks and Recreation District we are in full tilt trying to get everything ready for the summer season. Our skeleton winter crew needs to expand soon to keep up with the parks, campgrounds, pool and programs. For me, this means conducting quite a few interviews with potential employees. I like to let the supervisors pick their team each season, but I try and make time to participate in the interview process and put my two cents in as far expectations go. Since I have been giving my “expectations” speech lately, I thought I would pass it on to all of you too!
I start off the interviews by telling each person that the work we do at CCPRD is something that I believe we can teach anyone who is willing to apply themselves and learn. However there are some things that we are not going to take time to teach, and we expect each person to bring these things to the job.
First off, I expect that everyone comes with a basic mindset of safety. This sounds a little cliché, so let me explain. The safety of the individual should be the most important thing to them, and it certainly is to us. Safety could look like making sure you are getting enough sleep so that when you show up to work you are physically alert, emotionally strong, and mentally focused. After your own safety, concentrate on the safety of your team. We look out for each other and we make sure we have each other’s backs in whatever task we are doing. Lastly, we need to look out for the safety of the public. You are never going to get in trouble for not doing the task you were assigned to do if you run across a safety issue and spend your time addressing it. You may have been told to go mow grass around the trees at Ochoco Creek Park, but when you get there, you notice that there is a swing dangling by one chain. That just became your job!
A very close second to safety is serving people. People are always more important than tasks. I can’t stand an employee saying “that’s not my job”. I expect that everyone working for CCPRD make themselves a student of everything that we are doing and make themselves available to answer questions. If you ever get lost at Disneyland do you know what to do? Go talk to the guy in the red and white striped suit sweeping up the popcorn. He knows everything there is to know about Disneyland and where to get help. Similarly, I expect every lifeguard, every maintenance employee, every supervisor to figure out how to help people with whatever it is that they need. First and foremost, you serve people with your attitude and I like to tell our people that we pay for smiles around here. Every person walking through the door deserves a happy greeting. It’s important to learn people’s names and use them when you see them. It’s hard to go wrong when you show kindness and respect to others. If you are out in the park on a lawn mower and a mother is moving her babies off the picnic blanket because you made her uncomfortable, you are too close. Come back later and get that section of grass cut.
Time management is my last expectation. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to create the schedule but it’s the employee’s responsibility to know what it is. You need to show up before your shift starts and get your personal things settled so that you are ready to work when your shift starts. While you are at work, you need to make the most of your time and give your best.
I think these priorities are ones that will serve any person well whether you are just starting out in the workforce or if you have been working for a really long time. If you keep these things as priorities, you will be happier, the people you work with will be happier and your employer will be more successful. All of us here at CCPRD want to serve you with excellence and we will strive to keep first things first.