Growing up at the shop: A tribute to dad June 30 2015

When I tell people that my dad owns a jewelry manufacturing business, I usually get one of two reactions: “That’s really cool!” or “He makes a living doing that? Like he does it full time?” Growing up working in a family-owned business was a unique opportunity. It allowed me and my siblings to learn value work and business skills that have greatly benefitted all of us. But more importantly, it let us learn and grow from our boss, who also happened to be our dad.   

From a young age, we were all recruited to work in our dad’s business that we affectionately refer to as “The Shop.” My siblings and I would put the earrings on cards, take rings and earrings through the production process (cutting, bending the wire, soldering, pounding, and shining the jewelry), and do a myriad of other things to contribute to the creation and distribution of jewelry throughout the United States. Now that we are all adults trying to make it in “the real world” (whatever that means), we all affirm that we are so grateful for this opportunity. In the moment it was a different story. We were not nearly so enthusiastic.

Having your dad as your boss can create an interesting dynamic, especially if you know my dad. He had several employees that were not related to him and of normal working age (i.e. not an 8 year old boy or girl), but that didn’t mean he expected less of us. Quite the opposite: he expected more. We all like to recount times when we “got in trouble” for doing a poor job, not being to work on time, or not doing what was asked of us. What we didn’t realize, is that we were learning lessons and forming habits the majority of corporate America struggles with. As we learned, we were praised for our successes, and recognized the importance of doing something right, and doing it right the first time (one of my dad’s famous one liners).

We would complain that none of our friends had to work in the summer, wish that we could be somewhere else, but some of my best childhood memories are working with dad and siblings. The work ethic I gained, the self-confidence it gave me, and most importantly the relationships I formed with my siblings and my parents are invaluable to me. Working consistently at a young age shaped my life in so many positive ways, I can’t begin to list them all.

There’s a famous quote that goes something to the effect of, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he live, and let me watch him do it.” I could not think of a better way to describe my dad; living a good life and setting the example of what it means to be hard working and dedicated. I love you dad! Happy Father’s Day!