My friend Kris Dunn has a saying in his family that started with his father – “We Work” – it speaks to the work ethic his father instilled in him, and he is attempting to instill into his own boys. I tend to think that my father and Kris’s father would have gotten along really well! I’m sure my boys are sick of me telling stories of things my father made me do growing up in his household. My dad was classic in saying “I don’t care how late you want to stay out – but you will be going to school/work the next morning.” I never questioned it, I just got up and went to work. Both my parents were that way – I never once remember them staying home from work because they were sick. During my high school years my dad would wake me up at 7am to go chop wood – we lived in the city! He always was helping someone out with some project, that somehow included me – which was his way of just getting my butt out of bed. But you know what – it worked. I work.
I was thinking about this a lot this week as I interviewed a bunch of candidates for recruiters, to work with me at HRU. I find myself interviewing, really only concentrating on one thing: Do I think this person is a “worker”? You know what I mean – someone who doesn’t even realize that the clock struck 5pm – that doesn’t even take a second to question whether they should come into work when they have a sniffle. Someone who has it wired into their DNA – to work. I tend to really like those kinds of employees! Like Kris’s dad – like my dad.
My dad turns 70 next year – he still works a professional position – 50+ hours a week. I beg for him to retire. It’s selfish of me – I have 3 sons – I want my sons to have memories of my Dad, like I had of my grandfather – but the bastard works to much! Plus, it would certainly help logistically – since Kim and I are trying to cart 3 boys to 3 different practices, events, etc. – I need a full time driver – who better than their grandfather! He feels that is a company is still willing to pay him a good salary at 70, and he still enjoys and feels respected by those he works with and supports – why shouldn’t he keep working. I can’t argue with that.
I know people – you know people – who want to retire “young” – 40, 45, 50 – you hear them all the time. I don’t ever think that. I work. Doesn’t matter if it’s in this office, or at home, or somewhere else – I’m going to work. I have a strong feeling that one day about 30 years from now, I’m going to wake up one morning and realize, I’m 70. Then I’m going to throw my legs over the side of the bed, take my shower, have a glass of Metamucil, and go to work. I’m a Sackett, that’s what we do.
Tim, this is a great post. I agree with you and Kris Dunn. Work is what makes us special and defines us as human beings. And whether we work in Human Resources or in another field, all work is important and should be valued. I live in the state of Florida where longevity is very common. Work is good for all of us. Keeps us healthy, engaged, and sharp. Age has nothing to do with it. Best wishes and continued good health to your father.