I was asked to give a 30 minute presentation to a group of high school students this morning at a job and career fair.
I was asked to talk about on how I got into construction, what I look for when hiring someone, etc.
I wanted to tell them things I wish someone would have told me when I was their age…
Here are some of my notes…
When I was your age, I did not have a clue as to what I wanted to do when I finished high school. I felt the pressure of having to decide what I wanted to do with my life and I just didn’t know.
Several of my peers were planning to attend a state university. (currently this year, that school would cost you about $21,800 for room, board and tuition)
I thought to myself , why spend thousands and thousands of dollars just to party???? (I could do that and still live @ home)
So, I decided to work for a year in construction, save up some $ and see where things were at in a year.
My grandma was very disappointed her eldest grandson decided not to go to college…
After a year , I realized I LOVED my job.
I loved the variety of what we did.
I poured cement, assembled metal buildings….
I loved the fact that my job moved around.
I loved that my job kept me in shape.
It was mentally stimulating.
The pay was good and the potential was there to make more.
My days would just fly by.
What I’m telling you is, I got into construction by accident.
Years later, I came across this quote that has become one of the touch stones of my life:
“Do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Quick story about my sister
My sister Karen is a realtor
She gets paid on commission….no sales/ no paycheck
Does anyone have any idea what a realtor makes? ( answer: they gross between 3% to 7% on a sale typically)
So, if she sells a $150,000 house, she will gross between $4,500 and $10,500 for that one sale.
Karen was telling me about some training her company was paying for her to attend…my ears perked up when she told me it was being put on by Dale Carnegie. Their seminars on leadership training are not cheap/ but the information they cover can translate into thousands of additional dollars in the course of your lifetime.
If I had the money, I would pay for each and every one of you to be able to attend.
It is just that good.
I can’t do that, but I can do the next best thing…. I can tell you where to go to get the information they cover and it won’t cost you a cent.
You don’t even have to buy a book. You can check it out @ your local library:
It is an easy read.
I read it 25 years ago and to this day, I regularly apply things I learned from that book.
Finally, I want to talk to you about the unlimited earning power of your mind.
If I get paid by the hour, there is only so much I can make in a week…if I get paid $10.00 per hour, and work 40 hours, that’s $400 gross. If I really bust my chops and work 60 hours..that’s $600 a week. but that’s a long week. Even if I were to get paid $25 or $50 an hour..there is only so much I can make by myself…
Let’s say I start my own business…XYZ painting company.
I have 2 employees. So in addition to my hourly rate, I also can make additional $ off the people that works for me. I pay them a good wage….plus overhead..and when it’s all said and done, I might make an additional $10.00 per hour off each employee..so not only am I making $25.00 on myself, but also an additional $10.00 per hour on my co-worker.
Then let’s say I bid on painting a parking lot…I bid it for $2,000 and get the job…we end up getting done early…after expenses I make an additional $500.00…so not only do I make my hourly wage, plus profit on my employees, I also make an additional $500 profit on the job… I am now working with my mind, in addition to my hourly paycheck.
Nobody ever talked to me about these things when I was your age..they just encouraged me to get a job.
I would encourage each and every one of you to think about starting your own business.
An honest profit is not a dirty word.
Finally, I want to talk to you about the importance of knowing how to get along with people.
There is more to a job than just having a skill.
You can be the best finish carpenter in the world, but if you have a dark, brooding personality, I won’t want to work with you.
People are people…sometimes when I order something through the lumberyard, things happen. maybe it get’s lost, or back ordered, or there’s a mistake. If I get angry and chew out the person on the other end of the phone…how are they going to feel? (maybe hurt/ then get mad) I guarantee you they are not going to recommend me to the person that comes to the store looking for a good contractor. So keep that in mind when you’re dealing with people.
Learn how to get along with people and you will go far.
and finally, here’s a link titled
A modern take on Carnegie’s how to win friends and influence people