There’s No Such Thing as a Dead End Job
A pet peeve of mine is people who look down on what others do for a living. Particularly, when people call jobs such as those at McDonald’s or Wal-Mart or various non-skilled (and even some skilled) jobs, “dead end” jobs. Fortunately, history has proven these white collar snobs wrong, time and time again.
A job put in the hands of a person with the right attitude, no matter how big or small and regardless of pay or stature, is an opportunity on a number of different levels always. Whether it is:
- To “Show your stuff.”
- To create a favorable impression.
- To get much needed work experience
- To learn responsibility
- To get your foot in the door, or;
- To be in the right place at the right time (which can only be accomplished if you’re in a lot of places), because you never know when someone will say, “I could use someone with your attitude.”
If you don’t believe stuff like that happens, let me introduce you to two people that I wrote about in my book, The Best Damn Sales Book Ever: 16 Rock-Solid Rules for Achieving Sales Success. There names are Wayne Thorpe and (my sister-in-law) Brenda Romano.
Wayne Thorpe was a high school drop-out whose job was cleaning out animal cages in a pharmaceutical research lab. The “Anointed” would tell you this was a dead-end job. But Wayne Thorpe is a man who exudes positive attitude, and let me tell you something about positive attitude: it’s a magnet for other people with positive attitude.
An executive at the pharmaceutical company was drawn to Wayne’s positive attitude and began mentoring him, and eventually pushed him to reach his potential. Wayne went back to school and became a toxicologist, and he got interested in business; after retiring from the pharmaceutical company, he started four companies and is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the city of Durham, North Carolina.
My sister-in-law, Brenda Romano, never went to college. Now I agree a college degree is better than a high school diploma, but why do we send out a message that without a college degree you’re doomed to failure? Instead, she went to secretarial school and then worked as a secretary at Wrangler jeans. However, her dream was to work in the music industry at a record company.
Finally, she was able to land a job as a secretary at RCA records. Most secretaries have a very poor image of their job. How many times have you heard one say, “I’m only the secretary here.” Of course, the fact that too many of them are treated poorly adds to that self-image. But not Brenda, she looked at the job as an opportunity and because of her “No problem attitude,” she was willing to do anything asked of her: working late, working weekends, relocating (3 times) and going way beyond her job description.
Of course, she was promoted and eventually moved on to bigger and better things with other companies. Today, she is the president of one of the most successful record labels in the business and one of the highest ranking women in the music industry. By the way, still no college degree.
My son Michael is taking a year off from college and is working full time as a pizza delivery man. He’s amazed at how many people look down upon him because of what he does, but is smart enough to know they’re essentially idiots. As his father, I can tell you this is the best thing he’s ever done, because I can see the benefits he has derived.
He has learned about the importance of showing up and showing up every day. He has learned how to deal with all sorts of customers and situations, an area where way too many executives could use some improvement. He has learned responsibility and most importantly, the value of a dollar. In nine months of working full time he has saved over $10,000! And, in case you were wondering, yes, I do charge him rent. I have a feeling he will learn more in this year than in the next 3 years at college.
I wonder how many successful executives, professionals and business owners got their start in one of those dead-end hamburger flipping jobs at McDonald’s? A job, any job, if nothing else, teaches you responsibility: show up on time, show up every day and work hard. What’s so bad about that? Everybody has to start somewhere.
Remember, there’s no such a thing as a "dead end job," just “dead end attitudes.”