Like all of us who have entered the workforce, whether as a contractor, manufacturer, supplier, marketer (or even editor), my son, Zack, has just taken that big first step. Zack graduated in May from Illinois State University and following a week-long trip out east visiting baseball parks and halls of fame (thatâ€™s for another blog) he headed for St. Louis and a part-time job, and as of this week he is gainfully employed full time at a radio station in Chicago. Along with the job he was awarded the opportunity to pay for a car, monthly train pass, auto and health insurance, phone and Internet, and lunch. Kim Johnston is on a similar path. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire she joined Cygnus Business Media as assistant editor on Pavement Maintenance & Reconstruction (she also writes part of the time on Cygnusâ€™ Concrete Contractor magazine), and along with all those responsibilities Kimâ€™s assumed, sheâ€™s added an apartment to her life (Zackâ€™s still living at home). By now theyâ€™ve both probably realized they have a long work road ahead of them, but I canâ€™t help thinking that their focus should be on what theyâ€™re doing, and how well they can do it, and what they can contribute â€“ not how long theyâ€™re going to be doing it. Because while making a living is the goal, adding something to the world and leaving something behind should rank a very close second. The reason thatâ€™s true is that work is valuable â€“ to each person individually and to all of us collectively. And whether youâ€™re a laborer sealcoating a driveway, a striper marking a roadway, a sweeper cleaning a parking lot, or the owner of a company that provides these services, you are adding something, improving something, leaving something behind, making your mark, as it were. Probably a little hard to keep in mind when youâ€™re luting 350-degree hot mix late in the afternoon on a 90-degree day, but true nonetheless. So to Zack, Kim, and everyone else out there kicking off their careers, work hard and do a great job. It not only feels good, but it will also pay off down the road.