Connect with us

David Squires

Editor’s Note: Don’t Make Working For You a Tollbooth Job



You want people to work in your store because they love jewelry, says David Squires.


[dropcap cap=A]s an employee and manager, I’ve always been a B.F. Skinner-style behaviorist — believing that it is the food pellet (bonus or salary increase) that convinces the mouse (employee) to push the desired lever (work) at the desired rate (output).[/dropcap]

But now I’m wondering if I’ve overrated the power of the pellet. Reading the book Drive by Daniel H. Pink has gotten me thinking that money is probably pretty far down on the list of things we work for.

(My staff is saying “Uh-oh!” right now.) So let me rephrase that: Once we get to a fair living wage that’s competitive to other salaries in the industry, we don’t work for money. At that point, financial rewards not only lose their power, but when applied incorrectly, they can actually become demotivating.

Malcolm Gladwell asks a good question in Outliers: “If I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000, which would you take?”


Think about how you would answer. And think about how your staff might answer.

For the owner of a jewelry store (or even the editorial director of a magazine), the question is how can you make working for you less of a tollbooth job and more of an architect’s job?

The answers are purpose, autonomy, fun. You want people to work in your store because they love jewelry. Or because they’re romantic. Or love helping people surprise their loved ones.

We will add more tips and ideas from Drive at

Wishing you the very best in business!

[email protected]


[span class=note]This story is from the May 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]



Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular