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Let Us Focus on Restoring Our Vanishing Work Ethic in This Country

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Instead of focusing on the minimum wage, we should focus on the maximum effort.

When I got my first job at age 11, I was paid for the amount of work I did. The man who owned the local bait shop in my hometown hired me to ride my bike over after school and work a few hours each afternoon doing manual labor, including tending the worm beds and boxing the worms for him to sell to fishermen.

The agreement was this: He would assign me tasks each day and would pay me what he thought it was worth according to how much work it took to finish them.

I agreed to this and we both were happy. Most days, I made $1 to $2. There was never a day when I went home feeling ripped off. Because what I noticed was that the harder he saw me work, the more I got paid. The less I worked, the less I got paid.

At age 11, I had a clear understanding of a work ethic.

As I went on to junior high and high school, I saw the same thing. The older siblings of my friends (I’m the oldest child in my family) who went to college or learned a trade had good-paying jobs. Better paying than those who stopped their educational process after high school or quit school.

The results of working harder were obvious. Nicer homes, cars, clothes, etc.

But now, that isn’t the message that’s being sent to Americans of all ages. Raise the minimum wage, they say, and things will get better for those who have less, they say.


My father always told me to give 100% to anyone I worked for and to never complain about the pay, because I’d agreed to work for it. I’ve done that for 40 years and you know what? It’s worked well.

The folks I’ve worked for seemed to have appreciated my efforts, and most have given me recommendations for better jobs that I moved on to that paid more money.

Our “Everyone Gets A Trophy” society is slowly killing the work ethic that made once-poor Americans such as Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie and others very wealthy.

My children have a work ethic and so do theirs. It makes me proud. But, I don’t like what I see around me in regards to rewarding no extra effort.

Enough for now. I have to get back to work.

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