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THE REWARD OF A THING WELL-DONE Summer Jobs Teach Life Lessons
I still remember the exact moment when I got my first job. I was in high school, swimming at the pool with my friends, when my dad drove up and said, “I found you a job.” He must’ve known somebody in the construction business, because the next day I was the member of a crew. It was a good introduction to work, but I quickly realized construction wasn’t my calling. One day, I was doing some trim work with a miter saw. At the time, I had little experience with power tools but all the enthusiasm of a teenager. This combination led to a mishap where I nearly lopped off two of my fingers; I can still see the scars. Thankfully, no amputations were needed. Looking back on it today, it’s wild to think about how much that near miss could have affected my life. It’d be pretty tough to practice dentistry without full dexterity.
value of putting your best effort into whatever you’re doing. Even if you’re washing dishes at Red Lobster or driving golf carts at a country club (both jobs I had), it feels much better to give your all rather than going through the motions. I wasn’t changing the world through washing dishes. Nevertheless, when that was my job, I took pride in my work and wanted to perform it to the best of my ability. It felt good to take a pile of dirty plates and make them spotless. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The reward of a thing well-done is having done it.” The dignity and value of hard work is something that we’ve tried to pass down to our kids. In my experience, having a job is a learning experience unlike any other. School offers some of the same lessons, but it’s not quite the same as punching the clock and getting a paycheck for your work. Of course, I want our children to pursue careers they are passionate about, but I’d also like them to have a few regular jobs along the way.
Throughout college and dental school, I took whatever work I could find. It was through these experiences that I began to understand the
Chandler and Julianna already have some work experience under their belts, and I hope they’d tell you they’ve enjoyed and benefited from it. With Chandler heading off to college, I think work has also prepared her for the budgeting that’s required of students. When it’s your money, earned from hard work, you’re much more likely to grasp its value. Chandler and I have been working to set up a system that will allow her to spend her early semesters focused on studying and extracurricular activities, rather than trying to hold a job while adjusting to college. That involves working and saving in-between, but she’s eager to participate. Some people may look back on their first jobs as a nuisance. I have the opposite perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pining to return to the dishwashing station at a chain restaurant anytime soon, but I’m so glad I had the chance to do it.
–Dr. Lucas Perrigo
Dr. Perrigo at His Dental School Graduation
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