I believe a lot of my awesome work ethic comes from my dad. He put us to work pretty hardcore when we were kids. It sucked at that time, but it helped structure my work ethic at a young age. I remember when all three of us kids got “Job Lists” for Christmas. It was this yellow pad of paper that you use weekly to track your chores. I love lists! This really helped. Just checking off boxes after accomplishing tasks made me feel accomplished even when the entire list was still needing to be finished. It was also nice to know that there was an end.
I remember on weekends we would always do the work before play. I don’t know how long it would take but it felt like hours and hours. My jobs when I was about 9 years old were to clean my room, clean the upstairs bathroom, vacuum all the stairs in the house and fold the socks from the clean laundry. Well, not really fold them but bunch them together, you know what I mean.
Anyway, when the chores were all done for an entire week, each of us earned our allowance. Five bucks! This was so cool. That is a lot of money! I remember one time I saved my money up to about $30 something dollars because I wanted a Magic Nursery Baby.That is a really long time to not spend money when you are a kid.
My dad likes to fix and build things. As a family we all built a pool, redwood deck, patio and a retaining wall. My dad wasn’t always pleasant to work around. His moods would fluctuate based on how the project was going. When working on cars his moods could change constantly. We would make a bunch of trips to the auto parts store. I remember us kids would try to sneak off inside the house to get a break from working on the cars and dad would start yelling for us to come out to the garage. We would all act like we didn’t hear him. It was like playing chicken to see who would give in first and head out to the garage. This was a pretty big gamble since my dad DID believe in spanking….hard. Whoever would go out to help dad would usually rat the others out and we would get yelled at to come help anyway.
I remember one day when we were working on the retaining wall and it was just me and my dad and we were wrapping rebar over and over and over in the cinder blocks…I looked down in the cinder block to grab the next rebar and there was a $5.00 bill laying there. My dad was like “How did that get there?” I was so excited. It was nice getting recognition.
When I turned 15 1/2 I got my workers permit. I couldn’t wait to start working. Mainly because I was a teenager and wanted my own spending money. I got a crappy job at a fast food place that only lasted two weeks because the manager was a pervert and flirted with all the ladies there and I was cramping his style. I quickly got another job working at a retirement home serving elderly people their meals. It was a pretty upscale retirement home and some of the old people were super rude, and some were very sweet. Anyway, I went from job to job and I remember my dad telling me that I should never expect any respect at any job. I should never expect my boss to be nice or appreciate anything I do. I figured after my first four jobs that this was true. I didn’t have a really great boss until I was 28! Since I had that mindset though, I wasn’t expecting anything but a paycheck. I wasn’t expecting recognition or promotions based on hard work. I did eventually get this and when I did it was very much appreciated since it held so much value.
Now I am a boss and I always treat my employees with respect. I talk them up and always thank them for their hard work. I truly appreciate when I have a hard worker. I respect people who have a great work ethic. I prefer employees who are self starters and don’t need too much managing and direction. I don’t believe in micro managing at all and I really like the eager employees who are not there to just work but they want to excel, think outside the box, and build on their careers by networking and really getting their name out there.
I see now that all that tough love and cracking of the whip when I was a kid really paid off with my work ethic. Of course, with Abigail it is much different. I have tried making chore lists and a rewards system. I choose my battles with her. I hope she does grow up to be a functioning and contributing member of society. I don’t believe is working the system or waiting for someone to hand you something. You need to be passionate, set goals and accomplish them.