Managing Expectations – Jersey Jack – April 2017


Managing Expectations

What Road Should You (& Those Around You) Be Traveling On?

Jack Guarnieri

Jack Guarnieri

by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball &

I’m sitting in an airport terminal at the moment waiting to board a flight home. That’s not unusual for me, but a little bird is flying around and just sat on a window sill near me in the sunshine. In looking at this little sparrow and wondering how the bird got in here (and wondering how it will it find it’s way back to freedom), I’m musing about how I approach the subject for my column which Key Snodgress tells me is due tomorrow.

The thought is: What choices do you make in your business life and what path do you take in your future? We all go down different roads, sometimes those roads are obvious and sometimes not. Many people know one of my favorite sayings comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson about blazing your own trail, leaving a path. That’s good for few, but not for many.

If you declare some direction for your company, whether you hire someone or get a new account and it does not seem to be working out the way you expected it to, what do you do? Do you work to bend that road to make it lead where you want it to go or do you sit back and leave it on autopilot waiting and wondering if it will work out?

Your decision depends on many factors: your patience level and expectations; your timeline and budget; and your personality and experience. The signs do pop up along the road and they warn and advise you of what’s happening, but you have to look for them.

Unlike my little birdie friend, we have a big brain if we use it. We can seek knowledge and direction and ask for advice. We don’t have to fly around aimlessly until we hit a window pane that we thought was open to find out we made a mistake.

Daily, we see people do things they clearly know are not right. Also, we hear people regularly say things that are also not right –– even outright lies –– but they say these things often enough that they start to actually believe them.

It seems to me there are more people today scrambling to cover up what they have done poorly than those who are noticed for the things they have done well. After all, we do expect things to go well. If I’m paying you to do something, my expectation is that you will do it. I’m thankful that you did it, but it’s really what I’m paying you to do.

If you go over and above what I’m expecting, that’s even better. Although that happens less often or maybe it’s that our expectations are so high that reality is always lower, you need to manage your expectations so you don’t stay in a constant state of disappointment. We do that as consumers, employers and as people in the world today. When people go over and above, we notice that overall it happens less. The result is we appreciate it more.

My birdie friend is still flying around and I wish I had a few crumbs of something for it. Nature takes care of its creatures who cannot take care of themselves. We are called to be better, to do better and to take care of each other.

If you see a “little birdie” aimlessly flying around in the form of an employee, friend   or family member, don’t just watch. See if you can help guide that person to pick that flight path or roadway they should be traveling on.


Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999,, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011 he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@


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