Single Mom Slice of Life:
Dear Son, Welcome To Job 1.. Here’s Why It Matters
Ok, so I’ve been writing now for a couple of years for Good Enough Mother. I’ve shared stories of borderline insanity, public embarrassment (both mine and theirs), frustrations, hopes and dreams.
So bear with me while I work through some new found parenting issues I find myself faced with.
See, I have learned over the years that I’m not normal. I don’t have special supernatural powers or the ability to raise perfect children. Instead, I have unrealistic ideals. I expect everyone to play by the same set of rules, I want there to be miles of distance between right and wrong instead of just degrees, believe that any job is worth doing well, and that there is a serious chance that the Loch Ness Monster is real.
So when my son started asking me about what type of job he should look for, I gave him an honest answer. Play to your strengths – if you don’t like people, don’t take a job involving a lot of public interaction, like fast food. If you don’t like being cooped up indoors, get a job that will allow you to move around, like a grocery store. Are you going to genuinely like your job? Because, if you honestly like what you do (admit it), it’s easier to do that job well. It never sucks to think long term – can you grow in your job? Is there a way for you to stay with that same company a few years from now? There was also a general outline of health insurance, paid time off, etc.
I’ve since repeated this conversation to a few friends, who for the most part, appeared to balk at the very discussion. I was told, “He’s 18; it’s his first job – who cares?”, “He’s just in it for the experience, as long as he gets SOMEthing, the rest doesn’t matter”, even a, “It’s a throwaway job, none of that really matters”.
I love my friends, I respect their view points – but on this, I was honestly shocked. My first job was a temp job. I knew that going in. Yet, I busted my butt at it, and because of that hard work, the same company both looked for and eventually created other positions to move me to just to keep me around. That four month temp job lasted me two years. I’ve had jobs where I’ve given WAAAY more than I get in return, and yet, an admittedly over-strong work ethic has helped me to overlook certain things that for a normal person would be a deal-breaker just because I believed in the work. I’ve had jobs that were so hard to work I was physically sick going in, and cried going home, and yet, my job wasn’t based on that single person, but the company, so I stayed. (Ok – bad example, let’s strike that last one.)
What I’m saying is that, it’s a job, you’re there to EARN your paycheck no matter what ranking it has on your resume. I would never consider a job – any job – to be a throwaway, no matter how old I am, nor would I ever consider just taking a job without caring about my future with the company.
For as many years as I’ve been preaching to my children about responsibility, work ethics, respect, and appreciation – can I in good conscience tell a future member of the work force, “Meh, who cares?”
I don’t think I can. I think I have to stand by my parenting plan that has lasted thus far: teach them to be decent, giving, caring members of society. I have worked hard to get him to 18, and even harder to make him someone who can hold his own out in the real world… I can’t stop those same thoughts and lessons now that he’s about to join the work force.
Or… can I? What are your thoughts? Are there certain things that define you as a person that you can consider “throwaway”, or do your actions define you as a person – even if you’re the only one that cares?
Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent since 2002, with two boys ages 13 and 18. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and has returned to college for her B.A. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.
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