I grew up in a home where both of my parents worked full time. It’s the same scenario that I would imagine most people grow up in. Because of that I had two examples of people who worked extremely hard for everything they had and took pride in their work. They never saw work as a burden that could be avoided but as a part of life that was necessary for survival and happiness. Despite the hard days in the office I never heard any inkling that they would rather have it any other way.
This attitude towards their day jobs blended into the way we lived our lives at home. Whether it was yard work, cleaning the house, taking care of the cars or any other task they had the same mentality. I had no other options than to develop the same attitude. My parents provided for my needs but when it came to anything beyond that, they expected me to take care of myself and work hard for everything I wanted. I am sure that there were many moments where my Dad thought it would be fun to help me purchase a newer, nicer car, but put that thought away and let me save my money until I could afford my first car – a 1984 Dodge Ram. I called it “The Goat” because there was no sort of Ram in this tiny, 20 year old piece of scrap medal. Despite its outside features I was so proud of it. It was mine. I mowed lawns, worked random jobs and did all I could so that I could afford that truck.
I bought that car when I was 16. My life has changed dramatically since then. The one thing about me that hasn’t changed is my view on work. I love it. I need it. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. Call it pride or whatever you want but I couldn’t get through life without feeling a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
I have noticed that this “old school” attitude about work seems to be disappearing. I am blown away when I hear about people that would rather quit than skip a vacation. They don’t want to work if it requires a night or a weekend day.
I don’t know if it’s a generation thing or if it’s just the few cases that I hear, but I still think it’s sad. What happened to work? Where did the dream of sweating for every penny and making sure it went to the things that matter go? It just makes me sad.
I am grateful that my parents set the example they did. I may have been frustrated with them when they wouldn’t give me everything I wanted as a teenager, but I am so much better off with what they did give me.