Work your way up!
Yesterday a friend of mine asked his 23 year old college
graduate son about the occupy Wall Street raucous. His son said, “why don’t they just get
jobs and work their way up?”
Last night on a news clip on Wall Street an older guy
suggested that to a young protestor who replied: “I’m not going to work
for $7 per hour!” Based on what I
saw of his attitude I’m not sure he would get many offers for $7 an hour
either! And he would have a hard time
getting raises too!
We are constantly aware of people who have worked their way
up or built a business from nothing, to, in some cases, the largest business in
America. I know of a kid who grew up on a farm, went
to a non-prestigious state college, got a starting job at a bank and is now CEO
of it; one of the largest banks in the world!
I personally saw him work his way up, sometimes taking assignments that
others may have passed on. There are
many stories about people like this, very positive role models for our young
folks. Why do they protest the
successful and ask for an easy living?
Why don’t we learn to compete?
I was a thrower on the track team in high school. Track had little interest in my small school,
but I was very competitive and usually would place first against other schools
in my events, although my team didn’t do wall at all. In college it was the opposite, I was the low
performer on the team, but I didn’t hold back the team or the other individuals
as they had a long string of championships.
Each teammate cheered the others on and I ended up coaching the top shot-putter
with what I had learned studying it in high school. I learned that individual sports teams need
everyone to be competitive in order for the team to win, and that each needs to
help and encourage the others to succeed.
If there are too few that want to compete they hold the team back as
well as lose their place on the team.
The bottom line is these folks found what they were good at, and worked
their way up to success.
I think capitalism is similar to my sports experience. There will be stars, average and poor competitors
in any system. The better performers
must help the others to achieve excellence, by example, encouragement and by
competing with them. Running a race
against a faster runner often makes the slower runner raster! Tiger Woods made other PGA players better by
competing with him. In team sports some
are successful because of a super star who makes a ton more than the others,
but he attracts fans, leads the team, puts up the statistics and some would
say, “makes the team successful”.
Compare this to the things we are hearing from the Wall
Street gang. Some of what they want is
to create a system whereby everyone is guaranteed earnings and other
entitlements. That may sound great, but
what does it do to the team? Will the
superstars continue to perform if they are on a team of losers that they are
supporting? Will the team continue to
lead the world if we encourage average performance? Will entrepreneurs be as aggressive building
companies if thy are required to be support average producing employees? Will the low performers have any self esteem
being on a winning team that they don’t contribute to? (that was my case in college until I started
coaching a guy and making him better; now I was a part of it as I found my
The problem I have with much of the union philosophy is that
they want to treat everyone the same.
That may work if they are on an assembly line and all are doing the same
thing; they should get equal pay. That
may be a good deal for those who don’t want to compete and let it be. If they want to choose this as opposed to
competing and working your way up that is fine with me. I will respect your choice, but ask that you
respect mine and many others who choose to work our way up. Working one’s way up is what built the
greatest country on earth;America!
By the way, my personal mission is to help those who want to
work their way up!