Lessons Learned from Playing in the Dirt

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I worked a few hours for my Dad and Uncle this summer helping out at their business. They own a sand and gravel company that’s been in our family since 1979. While selling dirt to landscapers and homeowners doesn’t seem related to the world of online communications, I still felt that my time spent there was worthwhile.

Some people don’t recognize the value of working in non-related field, but I’ve seen that the themes of customer service and running a business can be universal. I took orders and answered questions on topics that I was learning for the first time. It reminded me to be patient, think quickly and smile often.

It also gave me valuable perspective on the relationships that help support a family run business. I appreciated getting to see how my dad and uncle interact with long-time customers and community members they’ve come to know well.

I have no idea if I’ll ever take over the family biz. It’s hard to say how I’ll feel in 10 or 20 years from now, but working there reminded me of how I would want to run any future business.  My father always taught me the value of hard work early in life from living by example. He has always been my role model, especially now as a recent college graduate ready to start a new job.

My advice to a friend would be never to dismiss an opportunity and get the most out of any role you take on. Having a strong work ethic is important at any job. Don’t let yourself slack off and use the excuse that your job is a waste or irrelevant to your career. Any experience can be made valuable if you have the right mindset.

What lessons have you learned from working in the dirt…or other jobs?


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