Julia’s text on Thursday read “its payday today!” She was ecstatic. This would be her first paycheck…ever. She was now being paid for a summer job that she loves in our school district. By the time I arrived home from work, her social media accounts were flooded with her posts of her holding her first paycheck. The pride on Julia’s face was so apparent and her smile just made you want to hug her, which I of course did as soon as I met her in the kitchen!
I thought of Jake receiving his first paycheck for the same summer classroom position a few years ago. He was beaming just as bright as he held up his first step into the world of gainful employment.
As a parent, you hope that you instill a good, solid ethics into your kids. You hope they learn by example and what they see you doing. I have only held three paid positions since leaving college, which I believe, demonstrates not only commitment to the workforce but also a sense of loyalty (which is a completely separate blog). It thrills me that my kids not only work but also WANT to work. Jake as some of you know is now working two jobs this summer. That was a bit of an adjustment here in Chez Fikar but I think it had more to do with his anxiety about messing with his daily routines. The bottom line is that Jake loves to work and stay busy. Jules has already applied for another job to start later this summer or the fall. I am thrilled that there is an interest in working and interacting with the world rather than being glued to some type of electronic device.
I have been deep in thought about this work ethic piece lately. It must be genetic. Ernie is certainly a hard worker – always has been having held multiple jobs while in school and working every ounce of overtime he could while with the Sheriff’s Department for all of those years. I had my first job at age 11 in which I stuffed and delivered those dreaded circulars and local news book called “The Pennysaver”. Maybe this is why I still cringe when I smell a newspaper? I digress. I babysat for a number of different neighborhood families and built up a loyal following. Where else could you eat snacks, watch Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Saturday Night Live, and if it was late, Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert and are paid. That was a great gig.
In High School, I started working summers with Daddy He and I would take the train and subway to the World Trade Center and enter Auriema, Inc. on the 18th floor each day. That is where I learned not only crucial office skills but also nuances of office life that would become invaluable later on. The office etiquette, how to speak to people…how to interact with peers and leadership appropriately. Dad took me to work every school break and summer for years. He taught me that once you are working you DO NOT call in sick. You do not stay home. You do not just decide to go to the beach and skip work just because your friends ask. Work and school came first (do not get me started on staying home from school – Anne Eastwood had her own guidelines for this).
School was also our job growing up. I tried the “cough cough…I don’t feel like going to school” act one day. Anne called my bluff. You want to stay home? She calmly asked me as she took a long drag from her cigarette. I said yes, yet somewhat hesitantly. Well, she explained…there would be no television..no cartoons…no dancing lessons after school…no talking on the phone with your friends…and no playing outside on the block. I was changed in five minutes and on the bus in ten. You just don’t call in sick. The Eastwood girls had perfect attendance for years.
The work force teaches us so much. We find out about ourselves, our relationships with others, teamwork, our capabilities, and our worth. I have always been drawn to those with a strong work ethic such as my family or mine. My dad gave us great tools and a strong base. My sister Kathy is literally a force to be reckoned with when it comes to working. Not only is she talented but she is incredibly smart and able to plan and execute any plan with top business minds. I have learned so much from Kathy over the years. While I hold a completely different style and approach to management, we both know where our principles come from. As a result, I tend to bond with those like me. I recognize someone who gives 500% of their being into whatever they are doing whether it be in a paid or volunteer position.
Last night I am listening to the chatter between Jake and Jules about work. Jules is trying to “suggest” to Jake (ok she was forcefully telling him) that he should get his stuff for work ready the night before so that he isn’t running around in the morning. I love the “do as I say not as I do” approach Jules. This coming from the girl who can roll out of bed and into the car all within 3 minutes and still function at top level the entire day. We had a fun discussion about working. I said don’t you love how each of us has a job that serves a purpose and that all of our jobs are somewhat connected. Think about it – it is an incredible thought really. We all rely on each other and what we do to live our everyday lives. We may not all love what we do but we work in some way, shape, or form to provide a service or skill that the other person needs. To me therefore, work is a huge responsibility. I always tell Jake and Jules that they should give their all no matter what they are doing. Be the best “fill in the job name here” you can be. One of my fave Jimmy Buffett songs is called “It’s My Job”. Jimmy sings about his conversation with a Street Sweeper. The line says, “It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess and that’s enough reason to go for me”.
Here’s hoping Jake and Julia collect many more years of paychecks in their jobs whether they have one, two, or thirty-two jobs. Hope that like me that they love what they do. Have a great week everyone…time for me to get ready for work.