This article was originally published on the Good Men Project!
Learned values early on will benefit teens in the workplace and in life.
I didn’t value money the same way my dad did when it came to money. It changes from generation to generation for most of us in my view. For those of us who are Baby Boomers, we understood, and at times, we were forced to understand what our parents valued. It was critical because if you didn’t, you would miss out. It was Dad’s philosophy that counted the most.
He was so great at saving; he retired at 59. For many Baby Boomers like me, we will be working past 65, or won’t retire at all.
My dad saved coins. Lots of coins. He had a tray with a divider on his dresser categorized by types of coins: silver dollars, half dollars, quarters, nickels, and dimes. He didn’t waste money in any way. He always talked about saving money.
Me, the coin thing, not so much. I am thrifty, but not through coins. I just don’t spend a lot of money. My sons are the same way, and my wife as well, although she loves coin saving. She has tried to convince my sons to save coins but to no avail.
When both my sons were teens, my parents thought they were old enough to appreciate coin saving. When the new quarters were released, mom and dad started a coin collection for them. My parents called relatives and friends to help collect quarters from each state. It took them a few months to complete the collection but they did it! On a visit to New York, they wanted me to take the collection back to the boys. You should have seen the accomplishment glow in my parents’ eyes! They were extremely excited to share this collection with the boys.
Let me back up a bit. My wife loves coin-saving, so she can spend it. She would (and still does) save coins to go shopping as part of her MAD MONEY. To her credit, it was to save up for the boys to get what they needed and sometimes wanted. At times, it was for herself. That change was spent.
So back to my visit with my parents, who proudly presented me with the quarter collection they spent so much time and effort on. They asked me to take it back to them. With all of the parental data I collected, at that moment, I just asked them to hold on to it. That was four years ago, and they still have it. The reason wasn’t only the boys will want to spend it. In monetary value, it was $11.25. In its true value, it was hours, time, thought, love, encouragement, and hope in collecting it.
I didn’t want to give that away to be under-appreciated. At least at that time.
The parallels are important for job seekers of all age but critical for our teen children to learn now:
1.- Employers will not give away what they value to someone who doesn’t try to understand. A career is more than duties and responsibilities. Whatever you contribute to an employer is increasing the value of the position and the company. They need to know you will and how you will.
2.- Do you understand your value? Is it only summarized by its cash value? That’s the difference between finding a job or gaining a career. How much work have you invested through time, education (not necessarily college or trade school), enduring hardships, and learning through failure?
3.- Employers mostly hire those who establish value wins for both sides. If there isn’t a sense of satisfaction for both the employer and candidate, then eventually everyone loses. If I gave the coins to my boys at that time, although appreciated initially, them squandering the collection would have broken my parents.
Similarly, by hiring the wrong person, employers would feel their investment is similarly squandered. Hiring today takes nearly 60 days although it is bound to get shorter in days to come. In the meantime, companies are scrutinizing each candidate more and more.
4.- Does your reputation (or personal brand) determine how you will be entrusted with a sacred opportunity? What are others saying about your behavior, work, and response to a crisis?
5.- Do you know why it’s a sacred opportunity – to the employer? Your research needs to tell you why. Your actions must display that you’re convinced you should bring dignity to that position. How? Focus on skills and measured results as proof!
No one has equal value as no one values equally. What we value as parents will change, upgrade and downgrade and for our children, it will be the same at a faster pace. In years to come, they will have two or three remote jobs, and learning what employers need will be critical as the expectation for good work, perpetual learning, and business savvy are basic means for survival.