The important career lesson my daughter learned from her summer job.
My 16-year-old daughter Ava has a new job this summer. She is a cashier at our local Piggly Wiggly grocery store. The store name sounds both deliciously made-up and midwestern. Ava doesn’t know it yet, but it will also provide her with a fun talking point for all future job interviews.
Like any eager Dad, I like to talk to Ava about her job and what she is learning about life, business, and pigs. In my head, I imagine that our talks will be an important part of her success story. Like Robert Kiyosaki’s childhood talks that inspired the book Rich Dad. Poor Dad. In reality, she’s probably going to write a book called Nosey Dad. Annoying Dad.
Ava really enjoys her job at The Pig. The store is central to our community and she gets to see people she knows all day long. When she gets home from work I like to greet her with questions like, How was work? And, How was the paper-to-plastic ratio today? And, What are the Bosleys having for dinner tonight?
The Bigger Lesson
Last night I asked My-favorite-child to share the greatest lesson she has learned from her job so far. So she did. And the answer was far better than I was expecting. Which is why I am writing about it now. Here’s her answer.
What’s the greatest lesson you have learned from your job so far?
I’ve learned that a good job is not so much about the actual work you do as much as it is about who you are doing it with.
I expect that in your actual career the kind of work probably matters more. But the key to happiness at work is to surround yourself with people you enjoy spending your time with.
The wrong people can make you miserable, even if you enjoy what you are doing.
But the right people can help you enjoy what you are doing, even if you are not crazy about the work itself. And even if it’s not your dream job.
Being surrounded by the right people will help you do your job better than when you are around miserable people. Because when you are around happy people who take pride in their work, you will want to too.
Happy people rub off on each other, and lead to better customer service.
I’ve now learned that both good and bad atmospheres build on themselves. But in opposite directions.
Last summer my work environment was terrible, all the way from the top managers to the lowest levels of the staff. It was a hard place to work. And toxic.
But this summer, the work environment is so positive and enjoyable that the positive relationships between coworkers keep building, and then spill over to positively impact the customers’ experience.
-Ava Albrecht (16)
A good job is less about the work you do and more about who you do it with. Find work you like to do, and people whom you enjoy spending time with. And you will win at life. And work.
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