My oldest is turning 14 this summer and I felt it was time for him to start working part-time. I know a company that’s always on the lookout for good workers and I have some influence there, so I got him an interview. The company is Aquascape which I happen to own so it might not be a surprise he was hired. I told everyone that works for me though I would only allow my boy to work here under one, and only one, condition…they treat him like the CEO’s son. That is, to treat him the opposite of what society tells them they should. In other words give him the worst jobs possible and cut him no slack for doing them anything less than to perfection! I better not catch him pushing a broom I said, if there’s still toilets to be cleaned!
To me the point is simple. My son, through no fault of his own, was born into a situation fraught with disincentives. Does he really want for anything? That’s not the way I was raised or my wife for that matter and that’s certainly not what we want for either of our sons. That’s why I can’t miss this chance with his first job to teach him the lesson too many kids don’t get these days. That’s that satisfaction comes from doing an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s pay. How many people have forgot or even worse never known what that feels like in today’s entitlement society? But you know what happened when he got his first check for $72.00? His 11 year old brother went nuts and declared “I want a job!” Amen, hallelujah and woo-hoo I say to that!
I had every advantage a kid could ask for growing up; two loving, supportive parents, food and shelter. I also had a need for speed and a passion for Go Karts and three wheelers (ya, I’m old). Whatever machine I had at the time I coveted the next one. And my parents supported me fully, provided I wanted to earn the money on my own to buy it! And earn I did – cutting lawns, cleaning gutters and even going door to door offering to wash and vacuum people’s cars. (I made more in tips then what I charged.) My first job was as a lifeguard at a pool, also starting at age 14. And I did it all while playing sports year round. Was I Superman? Nah…just a kid of the 70’s and 80’s. I learned hard work and the satisfaction that came from it. I also learned the joy of saving for my dreams, every time I plunked my own money down to upgrade to an even better toy to have fun with.
This is why I wanted everyone at Aquascape to treat my boy like the CEO’s son and make him work for his pay. And I knew it would be a battle to get them to do just that. Society tells them they should treat my kid, the owners kid, with kid gloves. And most kids of owners who work in their parents’ business subsequently never get to experience just how back breaking success is. What a shame! Why anyone would want to slap their offspring with the debilitating handcuffs of a trust fund, or a job in their family business above their skill level or passion, is beyond me. It’s counter-intuitive to my core to remove the hurdles of opportunity otherwise described as the challenges that come from working hard and sacrificing. I want my boys to experience the joys of victory but they won’t be able to if they don’t put in the work and make the sacrifices first. So please treat my boy for what he is so indeed he can become all he will be. And if it’s up to me, and it very much still is, that means letting him work his way up from the ground floor. Because whether he works for me someday or someone else, he will need to be working like everyone should. An honest day’s labor for an honest day’s pay.