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How About a New Attitude?

September 26, 2011

After my daughter graduated from college, she found it hard to find what she considered to be a suitable job for a recent college graduate with a degree in psychology.  She had no interest in going on to graduate school, wanted to be financially independent (thank God!) but didn’t quite know where to look – although she was looking and applying for various positions – or even what she really wanted to do.

It was and is a soft job market.  And, knowing that she also needed to find a job that could support her as well as provide benefits, I asked her what she thought her prospects looked like for finding such a job.  “Oh, Mom,” she sighed, “the only company I know of hiring that offers benefits is Starbucks.” “Well, have you applied there?” I asked. “I can’t work at Starbucks! I have a college degree from a private university and graduated from ____ (the top girl’s college preparatory school in Texas)!” she exclaimed incredulously.

I thought a moment, and then replied, “Well let’s put this into perspective. As long as the work you do is moral, legal and/or ethical, then I really don’t care what you do.  And, also remember that when all is said and done, doctors are contract laborers and lawyers are hourly workers. Mind you both doctors and lawyers are very highly paid contract and hourly workers, but what they do is still…work. All good, decent and right work – conducted with the right attitude – is dignified and necessary for and to society.”

“Hmm…so I guess pole dancing is out? I hear they make GREAT tips,” she teased. “I don’t think that would fall into the ‘moral’ category based on how I raised you – so no,” I replied.

I’m proud to say that not only did she apply and get a job at Starbucks, because her flexible schedule was initially part-time, she found 2 other part time jobs (both involved teaching small children) that helped her figure out if what she really wanted to do was to become a certified teacher. She also achieved her goal of financial independence rather quickly – primarily because she changed her attitude about work.  And, she did work hard – something I am still very proud of to this day.

She eventually did find a very satisfying position in a field she never imagined that she’d be suited for – and she did that on her own as well. When I asked her advice to young job seekers? She had this to offer, “Not that I think that all that I went through and had to do to find a job I really enjoy was what everyone should do but I do think it shows that you just have to be patient and try out different things to find out what you want to do. And because ___ (her younger brother) saw me struggle, it helped keep him focused in college because he didn’t want to have to go through all that.” Just for the record, the impact of her struggles on her younger brother is news to me. And, for that blessing, I’m very grateful.

So, the take-away for this post is this and it is quite simple: a job is a job.  And, no job is beneath anyone. Period. Even in a bad economy, there are jobs of some kind. But, you just might have to adjust your expectations temporarily and your attitude….permanently. For the record, my daughter is Medora #6 and I was as proud of the day she achieved her “black apron” at Starbucks (those of you who work/have worked there know the significance of THAT achievement!) after working there for almost 2 years as I am of her now that she has a different job that she really loves…one that she got on her own merits and good attitude.

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