I am not particularly a fan of Ashton Kutcher, nor do I watch the Teen Choice Awards….normally. But watching Ashton’s video reminded me of my background and how I so resonate with his position.
Given the status quo of corporations in America and the constant push-pull between the people who run the companies and the people who work on the front lines of the companies I thought it might be appropriate to share this video.
First, a little about how I grew up; my father left my mom with four kids when I was five. We never got child support or any support from my father from that day forward. At the age of seven I found myself washing dishes in an airport cafe where my 14 year old sister was the waitress, and my mother was the cook. I worked every day of my life from that day forward. Cleaning restaurants, being a janitor, picking berries, mowing lawns, anything I could do to help my family eat and pay the light bill. By the age of 12 I was driving a fork lift in a recycling plant. At 13 I worked in an outlaw biker bar and by 14 I was working for the Dept. of Transportation setting up road signs and determining speeds. With each job I was paid more and loved the learning I received. They weren’t always fun jobs; many were painfully hard jobs. The pay was low and the sweat abundant. In the back of my mind, I always believed that if I worked really hard at this job and the next job, the better job would come.
If you met me at the age of 14 you would have voted me the least likely person to become a CEO of a multi-million dollar company. I have to be honest and say, it is those jobs, those experiences and that sweat that led me to this path and this success. Very few people are born to be CEO’s and I am very fortunate that I had tough experiences that groomed me to run a company. I feel blessed to have had so many experiences that led me to understand the daily plight of what our line staff goes through, not only from a work experience, but the day to day challenge of life.
I worry, no I fear, no I obsesses, that those experiences of jobs that I had which so aptly groomed me to be your leader will be framed for you in a negative way by society. We will take away the real learning’s from our children and keep the next generation of leaders from using this pain and sacrifice as a call to rise up and do better for themselves and their families.
I still believe these qualities are the basic tenets of life. My family couldn’t afford to send me to college so I got aide and a scholarship to go. Each step of the way there was a challenge that reared up and tried to inhibit my success but determination was the only remedy to these challenges.
This is the essence of the American Dream.
The point is that there is no “US” vs. “THEM.” No management vs. employee. They are all “US.” We are just at various points of our own growth and development.
I share this with you because no matter what your situation, what your position, what your economic status, you can succeed to the degree you desire if you are willing to pay the price.