I grew up working for my parents. Even when I was young, I was helping out around the office of their small business. I learned so much about how the world works firsthand, and I would never take anything for those experiences. I also learned things about management and leadership that I carry with me today.

My dad, wife, and brother at a triathlon

My wife, dad, brother, and I at a triathlon

Work Hard, Get Rewarded

I can\’t remember a week going by where they didn\’t have a rush job to get out the door. Screaming customers and scurrying workers made up the sights and sounds of those frantic days. But it wasn\’t always 110% hard-driving insanity. When the employees had to work late, I\’d often carry them a plate of homemade food from the house. When they had to get there before dawn, I would make a biscuit run to keep them going. And the pizza lunches? I can still remember them fondly. Working your tail off was expected, but you knew that they would still take care of you (especially food-wise!) during those times.

Dive Right In

Remember those frantic times I mentioned? Some people probably figured the boss would be sitting high above, shouting orders and waving frantically to the lowly employees on the floor. Actually, it would have been pretty tough to do that kind of thing while he was working side-by-side with them. I can remember someone telling me one time that it must have been nice to have the employees doing the work for him. I\’ve never laughed so hard in my life. My dad\’s been there at some time between six and seven in the morning every day since I can remember, and he was often that guy who stayed late to finish something and deliver it to a customer. And getting a call at 11:45pm to come pick up a job? He’d be out the door within minutes. People respect someone who can not only talk the talk but also walk the walk.

Being a manager is easier than being a leader.

I know others have talked before about their first jobs. Do you have a story that you\’d like to share?

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  • 6 thoughts on “My Parents Had it Right

    1. My first job was fast food, ten days after my 16th birthday. I walked in with my parents, my mom says “you need a job, go get an application”. The manager hired me on the spot and I started that weekend. It was a good experience for me at that age. I learned to manage my money, pay my car note and insurance on time and save money for things I wanted. I’ll admit it sucked to work on a Saturday night when my friends were out having a good time but I never had to ask my parents for money to do something or buy something. I think it helped shape the giant independent streak I have now.

      • @April See? Most people would have been ticked off at your parents for making them do something like that. You see the benefits and ended up thriving. It all works out. ;-)

    2. My first job was at a small independent grocery store. I was a sophomore in high school. When I was a junior, the girl who had the coveted title of “Produce Girl” (that was the title!) graduated, and I got selected to replace her. It was my first promotion. The other girls were pissed (it was competitive, and I had been kind of a dark horse). Oh the drama.

      Actually, now that I think about it, it was pretty good training for corporate life. Being promoted to head of HR wasn’t that different from being promoted to Produce Girl.

      • @Kerry Yep, I bet you dealt with a lot of fruits once you leapt into the lead HR role. :-) “HR Girl” does sound pretty cool, though.

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