Don’t be afraid of hard work. My first job was as a part time grounds keeper at a very small condominium complex. There were a dozen homes and lots of paths lined by trees and plants. It was my job to show up twice a week and sweep the leaves and trim any bushes that encroached on the paths. I was fired.
It was hard work that I didn’t want to do. What I did do, I did poorly. In fact, in addition to repeatedly failing to show up to work, I was fired because I carelessly cut down a plant that I thought was encroaching a walkway. Had I cared to pay attention I might have noticed that the plant was in fact, blooming. Furthermore, I was informed in my ‘exit interview,’ it was a type of Yucca plant which grows for nearly 10 years, only blooms once and then dies. I had cut it off mid bloom, preventing it from fulfilling its role in the pollination of future generations of yuccas and killed it. Getting fired and explaining to my friends and family that I had been fired were humbling experiences critical to my development.
My second job required me to ride my bike a couple of miles to go and clean gas stations. I would clean the pumps, water the plants, pick up litter and hose out the bathrooms. I could have been bitter, and I was. I could have hated my job, and I did. However, I learned many important things from that job. First, neither the world, nor society and not even my family were going to give me anything I didn’t earn. Second, there is pride to be had in a job well done and a day’s pay honestly earned. Third, don’t look down upon those cleaning or serving, admire their effort and appreciate that they are getting their start on the road toward success and do what you can to help them out.
Finally, skills and education were the keys to working smarter and greater rewards. Those didn’t come easy. High School, University, Graduate School - eleven years of deferred gratitude to get to the starting line where good opportunities await those who run the race.
My son has a baseball coach, Brian Bennet, a good man who understands the nature of work. In the batting cage he hands my son a heavy wooden bat and with each swing a blister develops and finally pops leaving blood dripping down his sweaty hand. It hurts but Brian is telling him to ‘DO THE WORK” and continues to pitch balls. Finally, bucket empty, Brian stops, grabs some ice and wraps my sons hand in his applying the ice and adding comfort. He looks my son in the eye, “You know that feeling you get when you hit a home run, or a double with two RBI’s?” My son nods. “Here, right now, you are doing the work to get that feeling. HERE is where you get happy, THERE is where you are happy. You can only get there from here.”