An Ode To My Father For Making Me Get That Job
Updated: Apr 16, 2018
Through my first two years of highschool, I knew one thing was non-negotiable: I would have to get a job when I turned 16.
Along with participating in theatre and choir, I was a tri-sport athlete. Virtually every second of my life was jam-packed with “stuff.” I tried to use that as my reasoning why I couldn’t handle a job, but my father didn’t buy it. Work was extremely important to my dad, and he was insistent that my siblings and I learn the value of hard work early on. He told me I would thank him later.
So, after my 16th birthday, I landed a job at a sub shop in town. They were willing to work with my busy schedule and wanted me to start immediately.
I hated the job.
I dreaded going to work. It was greasy, dirty, oily, messy and frustrating. I got home every school night no earlier than 11 p.m., drenched in oil and grease, smelling like meaty sandwiches.
At the time, I couldn’t stand going to work. I remember wishing that my parents would just “let me be a teenager” and not have a job. But looking back, it was the best thing I ever did.
It taught me countless lessons about life, relationships, time management and hard work. It taught me that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. It taught me about how much goes into running a business. It taught me about humility, long nights and being a good coworker. It taught me about failure and success, and having to make decisions based on my priorities. I’m eternally grateful for that first job.
Now that I’m about to graduate college, getting my first “real” job is on my mind every single day. I’m constantly networking with people, tweaking my portfolio and applying for different positions. Most of my peers are in the same boat as me, so “getting a job” is a common topic of conversation.
Through these conversations, a mindset I’ve noticed is, “I don’t want to start in an entry-level role. I have a degree. I should start higher than that.”
Maybe it’s because I was raised to work hard and earn my stripes, but I can’t stand when I hear people talking that way. Of course, a college degree is extremely valuable, and when job searching, you should know your worth and stick up for yourself if you feel that you’re being undervalued. I fully agree with and understand that. What I don’t understand is entitlement and refusal to “work your way up.”
Sometimes, you have to start in a job you don’t absolutely adore. You may have a role that’s “lower” than what you always imagined for yourself. But, I would argue that every job you have in your life is character-building. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 26. With each role, you learn new things about teamwork, people, yourself, how to behave when things go wrong and how to celebrate when things go right. You learn how to interact with others, how to challenge yourself and how to be a part of something bigger.
I think it’s important to remember these things as graduation approaches. Every job you have helps build and guide you to become the best version of yourself. Confidence and modesty are both equally important and should be balanced as best as possible. If you work hard, treat others well and do your best, great opportunities will arise when the time is right.
I will forever be grateful to my father for making me get that first job because it taught me many invaluable lessons.
Go ahead, Dad, say it:
You told me so.