Bye, Bye Istanbul!
I haven’t written a real post in a little while, so I thought I would write a bit and catch you up. I’m in Kerpe, Turkey, working on an Organic farm. The farm is a much better experience than I even anticipated. However, I would like to start a bit further back, and return to the topic of the farm later on.
My co-volunteer from Kabul and I on the terrace in Istanbul
I left Istanbul about one week ago now, where I was working at a hostel, and of course, like all things, there were positives and negatives. Istanbul for one is an awesome city, and if you have the chance to visit I would highly recommend it. It’s a large and busy city, with great food and an amazing mix of cultures which are brought together in a chaotic and beautiful way. I spent enough time there to mold a routine into the clay of my days, went to the same few coffee shops, bought my fish sandwich from the same man at the same cart, and read my books on the grass at the same park. This was the good.
On the other hand was only a bit of bad, which was encompassed in the people I worked for in this hostel who were to say the least, unkind, unjust, and infallible. The management philosophy, “In business I do not recognize you,” were followed to a T — a direct quote from the owner. Call me old school(go ahead, I don’t care :() but, the “I don’t recognize you” attitude isn’t exactly a part of the way I would, and have run businesses in the past, and also equally as importantly is not a philosophy I want to be under the umbrella of. People like being recognized; I think it increases performance, but that’s only one of the many benefits a business reaps by properly recognizing employees.
To drive this home just a little bit, I actually searched on Google, “people like being recognized” and six of the first ten results were directly related to management, including two of the first three. If you Google, “in business I don’t recognize you” zero of the top ten are management related, and at least one of them is a link for lyrics by the artist “2 Chainz”.
2 Chainz loves telecommunications y’alls
Do I really need Google to prove to you that recognition IS important in business? Probably not.
I’ll actually lead you to an article I read recently published on the Harvard Business Review website titled, “Love, Trust, and Candor: Today’s Management Priorities” if you’re interested follow the link. I think you get the idea by the title, this one is not about the iron fist method of management. In work, as an employee or a manager I certainly believe in open communication, team work, trust, honesty, consistent feedback, and also well outlined expectations. This article uses the word ‘love’ which as many of the comments on the article mentioned, may not be the correct term, although it was intended, and an alternative was offered — RESPECT!
When discussing the owners of this hostel with friends, and co-workers in the hostel, this was often the word I came back to. Respect. It’s important, and this is especially unrelated to business. It can be beneficial to consider what fosters success in your life, and also in the relationships of your life, and then apply that to business and business relationships. Respect and mutual respect are good foundations for developing positive relationships. As a human, I believe I should respect you(until proven otherwise), and I expect the same in return(please). I use an innocent until proven guilty style.
I want to ruin his business.
Is that wrong? Actually, I am exaggerating a little bit. Less abruptly I want to say that I don’t approve in any way of running a business without respect, and that a business actually should not have the opportunity to succeed if it is run this way. The reason that I say that is because, if the business succeeds, the person behind the business, and behind the wrongful treatment, will be positively affirmed of their management style. And selfishly, what would anger me most, is that at the end of the day, one who hurts another for the betterment of their business can look at their check book and be reassured that they are doing the right things — for their business at least, and the sneering, narcissistic smile, that follows is the worst. And of course the cycle continues, or develops and worsens.
I’m not calling for boycotting Nike, or giving up your iPod, this is on a different scale. Small businesses can also do wrong. We should also do what we can as employees, and employers, and business owners, to work in and run businesses ethically and with RESPECT in HIGH VALUE, and do what we can not to be enablers of negative work environments. This is not only for the betterment of the business, and we know it can be, but for the people within the business, and the community and beyond. I believe that even employees can be, and should be a part of fostering this positive, respectful environment in a work place, although it is more difficult, one should consider themselves a part of it, and partially responsible for encouraging positivity and respect.
Anyway, my management rant is over. But, I’m curious to know what you do to foster respect, trust, and candor in your work environment(at any level), and if you believe in this or not? Moreover, if you have encountered disrespectful work environments, and how you managed?
This is a long post.
Now I’m back to being in Kerpe. And the management here is great. I get fed often and well. The people are kind and respectful and I care about the farm and the success of the business and of the people. I’m in the open air, and I’m picking everything from pea pods, to apples, chestnuts, peppers, tomatoes, and cape gooseberries(best fruit I’ve ever had).
Picking Green Beans in Kerpe, Turkey
There is a mosque near by so every couple of hours it sings loud and clear, and the Islamic prayers rain over the farm. You don’t have to be Muslim to appreciate it. The black sea is only 3 kilometers away, so getting to the ocean is easy, and its a sand beach which helps remind me of home. There are cats, dogs, kittens, puppies, horses, cows, sheep, goats, and more, inhabiting the farm with the people. No pesticides. You can pick up any fruit or vegetable and eat it right from the earth. Maybe all this gushy organic stuff inspired my ANTI-DISRESPECT MOVEMENT! Just kidding, I think maybe I actually believe in it or something.
I respect puppies too!
Read more about working-away, or check out more photos from the farm.