The value of hard work: a lifelong lesson

Sometimes in the workplace I have found myself wondering what has become of a good, solid work ethic? Workers who do just do enough to get by, complain about everything, call in sick at the drop of a hat, or won’t pick up a pencil off the floor if isn’t part of their job description.

Sometimes I feel like I’m part of a dying breed.

The photo featured at the top of this post is my Dad.  It shows him here doing one of the things that he did best. No, not balancing a heavy ream of paper on his head, but working hard.

I don’t think Dad ever sat any of us kids down and told us about the value of hard work, commitment to a job, or what can be accomplished with a little elbow grease. He didn’t have to. He demonstrated it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Maybe more so than most kids, we got see him in his work environment. When he drove a truck here in the US, we often accompanied him. As little kids when we lived in Chattanooga, it was a special treat to get to ride along with Dad as he made deliveries overnight.

When we lived in Mexico, we often went with him to the print shop where most days, he was the boss and the worker and we “helped” out. And for four of those years, we lived right next door to his place of work.

Dad never had to tell us that no job is too insignificant or beneath your notice. If it needs doing, do it. He never had to tell us that if we didn’t know how to do something, we should figure it out – find someone who can show you, read the manual, get it done.

He never had to tell us that we should respect everyone – equally. That wasn’t a lesson, he sat us down to tell us. He DID it. Whether it was the pastor of one of our supporting churches or the local drunk who showed up at our gate once a week or so… he treated them equally with respect.

I think I can speak for my siblings when I say that we all learned those lessons without necessarily articulating them, it was just something that we took for granted. I don’t think any of us are afraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty when we need to. We find satisfaction in a job well done, not for the praise or the pay, but because there is an inherent value in the work itself.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!

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