[June 30, 2019] A seasoned Vietnam Veteran sergeant advised me long ago to be wary of people who tell you this; That’s on my plate to do. It is just another way to put off work to another time. Sergeant First Class Jack McKinsey took no gruff of anyone. That’s why I liked him and heeded his advice.
Over the years, I’ve heard this saying from people of all ages, experience, and social status. The only folks I don’t hear it from are those who are highly motivated; those with plenty of get-up-and-go and are too busy getting things done. They reject, outright, making up excuses why they aren’t getting something done.
My first platoon sergeant, McKinsey, was always on the go and created a wake of excellence behind him. It was a great pleasure to serve with him; the type of person you could go to war with and not have to worry about protecting your back. His replacement was the kind of person you had to drag to work and continually provide guidance and feedback. Anytime I asked about the status of a project; I would hear McKinsey’s replacement say, “It’s on my plate to do.”
Of course, those like this man never seem to get around to getting their job done. Is it a failure to plan? Or, is it from being lazy? Whatever the excuse, those who adopt this attitude (and that is what it is, an attitude) never seem to have the motivation to change. I don’t know why; this is just my long-standing observation.
You would hope that if you are going to be given excuses why some task is not getting done, then at least add a little comic relief. My cousin Mickey told me that his boss used to procrastinate and then dump extra work in his lap on a Friday afternoon. Mickey would do the work, but his boss would just smile and said that Yusuf (his boss) liked to joke at the same time. I guess that made it easier to swallow.
Sergeant First Class McKinsey was the kind of man you could not ignore. That was a good thing for me; I was his platoon leader. With a military man like him around, laziness simply did not exist. I never made the mistake of saying that’s on my plate to do … ever.