Welcome to the Working Week

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 (that’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 Cygnus’ Concrete Contractor magazine), and along with all those responsibilities Kim’s assumed, she’s added an apartment to her life (Zack’s still living at home). By now they’ve both probably realized they have a long work road ahead of them, but I can’t help thinking that their focus should be on what they’re doing, and how well they can do it, and what they can contribute – not how long they’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 that’s true is that work is valuable – to each person individually and to all of us collectively. And whether you’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 you’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.