Hard Work

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.


  1. Charo Gold
    Posted September 26, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I visited your Dana Point facility yesterday, I work in the industry, and as I waited in the lobby to speak to one of your staff members I noticed the lovely portrait of you and your family. Thank you for sharing your background, it profusely touched and encouraged me, even at my age …. Thank you!

  2. Charles Johnston
    Posted June 30, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    You can learn a lot from your competition who are making big mistakes. Take Holiday for instance: They had an excellent plan which, when carried out to perfection, worked so well that they were full nearly all the time. Now the system is falling apart because they have compromised their strategy to the hilt. Mr. Colson, the founder, had come up with just the right number of units, just the right number of staff, etc. and accepted only the ambulatory resident for his “Chateaus”. Now everyone has a walker, a scooter or a wheel chair and there is only one elevator! Colson would not allow a walker for very long. He demanded you use a rowing machine to get off and they did.

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