When I was seven, my father launched my career as an entrepreneur. He owned a store that sold office equipment in New York City right across the street from the Empire State building. On days when I wasn’t in school he took me to work with him.
Setting out before dawn we left our suburban home for the city. Upon arriving I’d watch as he lifted the big heavy gates, turn off the alarm system, and turn on the lights. The day had begun!
He looked serious at the start of the day. Sometimes I thought he looked worried. However today I know it was focus. He had a job to do and he was intent on doing it.
In a little while the employees would file in. Repair men, truck drivers, sales people, and office staff. There was the usual banter of people getting their day started. I was fascinated with the complexity of the city. Trucks, noise, smells, skyscrapers, and people… lots of people!
Back then my jobs consisted of filing, adding numbers, typing invoices, running the postage machine, and greeting customers. I was eager to learn and my dad’s employees enjoyed teaching me. It was exciting and the day flew by.
At the end of the day when everyone had gone, I’d walk by my father’s side as he went through the building turning off lights and doing his last check on things. Finally, we’d end up in the store where he would open the cash register, thank me for doing a good job, and hand me three silver dollars.
Many years later I realized the profound meaning of those silver dollars. At the tender age of seven I learned a set of values that have guided me in everything I’ve done. I learned that work was fun because there was so much to learn and master. I learned that work was meaningful because I did things that needed to be done.
I learned that if I did a good job I got paid. I received a great lesson about how money and values interact. And I learned that if I saved money I had control. I could make decisions about what I wanted without asking for anyone’s help or permission. That’s my silver dollar mind set!
Thank you Dad!