Father’s Day is a great time to thank dad for more than just a great barbeque.
I learned a lot about work from my dad. From the time I was very young he showed me that work is important. Dad’s career took him from business ownership to managing businesses for others and back to owning a business. During all these years I could tell that some days were better than others but quitting, giving up, taking a mental health day and even extended grousing was not an option. Building a business was rewarding and by pressing on you got results.
When I was in kindergarten my father owned a dry cleaning business. When we went to visit the store the employees knew my name and at home we heard updates on the crew. Then and in subsequent years we were never the bratty bosses or owners kids to be catered to because our father was in charge. I helped at holiday parties and was welcomed at company picnics and saw that I was well represented in photos at work. Dad’s approach demonstrated that employees work hard when you get to know them and treat them well.
While these principles were absorbed by my observation expectations about work for the next generation were made very clear. I think my first paid employment was stuffing envelopes for a company mailing. My brothers and I competed to see who would earn the most at a going rate of a penny a piece.
Stuffing envelopes was not going to earn enough money to contribute towards college costs. I moved on to babysitting, camp counselor, shelving library books, waitress and hostess. My brothers’ group resume includes snow shoveling, house painting, driving patients, taking tickets at the movies and lab work among a long and varied list of employment. A job was never too menial or hard. Living in a nice neighborhood or going to a good college did not make us better than our co-workers.
We enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle including great vacations, clothes and plenty of extras paid for by our parents. The knowledge that unusual expenses and part of college costs were our responsibility kept us from feeling entitled. I learned that nothing is handed to you; you need to earn it.
My father continues to take enormous pride in our accomplishments. When The HR Answer Book was first published every time the Amazon ranking inched up I thought my dad had sent another book to someone. It’s now safe to report that too many books have been sold in too many countries for him to be the primary purchaser. The pride and encouragement my father engendered and the example he set produced the self reliance and risk taking required for his four children to all pursue self employment.
Father’s Day is a great time to thank dad for more than just a great barbeque. So thanks to my father, Phil Maron, for all of the valuable things I’ve learned from you about work. Thank your own dad in person, on the phone or add a comment here and send him the link.