My entire body jolts awake at 5 a.m. with the brutal yet exciting sound of my alarm clock, as the sound waves reach my ears. It was my first day of work and my first real job. I can remember the pride I had of leaving my house, hopping in the back of a truck and riding with my friend to go haul watermelons. Hauling watermelons sounded like a real man’s job and I loved it, but even more, I liked the idea that I was going to make some money for working hard.
I thought it was cool to be a part of the process of watermelons going from the field to the market. Since I was only eleven, I wasn’t quite strong enough to load the watermelons, so I was what they called a windrower. This was the process of cutting the melons off the vine and laying them out in a row for the big guys to come by and load onto the tractor trailer. Once the trucks were full, they would then take them to the diesel trucks to be weighed, and then off to market they would go.
I remember getting my first check and thinking, “This is a hell of a way to make a living.” I always liked the idea of working hard and enjoyed doing things on the farm like hauling hay and bush hogging. I guess it was my way of trying to become a man and I knew the harder I worked, the better. From starting my own lawn business to working a summer job in the burning department (100+ degrees) at the local brick plant, I realize now that my dad had a huge influence in suggesting I work there. Those experiences taught me a lot about having a good work ethic and set the foundation for my career path.
When I was young, it was about the pride of having a job, being part of something and contributing to the success of the task, and then making money provided a little bit of independence. There were also struggles, long hours, late nights, lots of studying, and many prayers, but I had big dreams and I was determined.
Most of us have big dreams, and careers play a role in helping to fulfill those dreams. As we work in our careers I think it’s important for us to check from time to time and ask ourselves why are we doing what we do? What is the value that we want to provide? Is it contributing to your vision for life or taking you away from it? For some people, careers provide a great deal of satisfaction because of the impact and contribution they make to the world and other people. For others, their career is about the compensation that allows them to provide for their family in the way of lifestyle and life experiences. Often times, it’s both.
Our careers are the building blocks to financial independence. In the blogs that follow, we’ll talk more about the ingredients to a successful career.
Plan, Invest, Live™