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An anecdote

My first paycheck


My first paycheck came with a very important lesson in human
nature.

A few months after I graduated from University of the East with a Bachelor
degree in Commerce, I landed a job as a production scheduler in a private
manufacturing company just outside of Metro Manila.

It being my first job, I was excited to anticipate receiving my first pay check. I
made plans to buy myself a new cell phone and I intended to give my old phone
to my younger brother as his birthday from me.

The Friday after the 15th of the month, I received my first pay check about noon.
To my surprise the amount written on my pay check was more than what I was
expecting. The first thing that entered my mind was that it was probably a
mistake. Then, I also thought that in my excitement when they hired me I was
mistaken on how much I was going to get paid.

After a few minutes of speculation, I decided to step into my manager's office.

'
Sir, I got my first pay check today, and I think I was overpaid," I said to him after
announcing myself.

"
By three hundred, right?" he said smiling at me.

"
How did you know?" I asked him.

"
Because we do that to all our new hires to test their honesty," he replied.

I nodded my head as if in approval and I was about to step out of his office
when I faced him back and asked, "
Suppose the employee, in all honesty,  did
not realize that he was overpaid. Then he would be under a cloud of suspicion.
Wouldn't that be unfair to him?"

He stood up, put his one hand on my shoulder, and he talked in a fatherly voice
as we walked out of his office. "
Son, that is not going to happen. If it were your
first pay check, not only would you make sure that you get paid right, you
probably would hang on to the check for awhile before spending it
."

It was the first of the many valuable insights I learned from my boss over the
years. He was right. When I arrived home, I pinned by first check on the wall,
stared at it admirably all night long before I went to sleep.

And, yes, it took me a week before I cashed my first pay check and bought
myself a new cell phone.
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