I have always been an entrepreneur at heart right from an early age. While at school I had many part-time jobs including collecting aluminum cans, delivering pamphlets, pumping petrol, bakers assistant, and working at McDonald’s. From a very early age it made me realise that you get rewarded for the effort you put in and for going the extra mile. Sometimes you may not want to be there but when you commit to working for someone else you need to honour that commitment to the best of your ability. Unfortunately when you work for yourself that commitment does not get easier, if anything it gets harder, as it needs to step up a notch or two as you are now responsible for a lot more than just turning up and doing your shift. It is easy to work for someone else, in most cases, but you are a part of the goals and dreams of your boss and that does not necessarily include you.
One of the best jobs that I had growing up was as a bakers assistant. I was in grade 9 at high school and would get up in the early hours of the morning to ride to work to start at 2am. Most mornings I would get chased by the local neighbourhood dog who seemed to always be laying in wait for me to ride past. This certainly help me to get fit as I needed to get up a fair amount of speed to out run the dog. Looking back this started my love of bike riding which I still do to this day, mostly just to commute to work but sometimes some more serious rides, but I digress. Back to my bakery story.. I would work from 2am to 8am and then head off to school. My role was to mix the dough, make some pies, fill the apple turnovers and whatever was need to be done. I always ate well these days as I was able to take pies, bread and cakes from the shop to keep me feed for the day. My boss Ray was great to work for and he taught me many great traits about working hard and seeing the rewards for your efforts.
It was one of those jobs that you could take a lot of pride in and see the final product in a short period of time. The bakery was just a little local bakery and was well customed by the local community. It was rare for there to be anything left at the end of the day as Ray always did well to calculate the correct about of stock to bake for the day. Unfortunately I had to give it up when my parents split up and we moved up to Brisbane. This time taught me a lot about time management and the value of doing a good job. To this day I still love to cook, especially baking which I attribute back to these days of working as a bakers assistant. I sometimes wonder what life would have been like if I had accepted the offer of Ray’s bakers apprenticeship, The choices we made yesterday determine where we are now but to not dictate the direction from today onwards.
We were never rich, financially, as we grew up but my parents went out of their way to gives us the things in our life that seemed important, some of them were but many were just a little self indulgent. I wasn’t really into playing sports but remember always wanting that next gadget or that next computer game, maybe it is a boy thing, but I knew if I worked hard I would be able to save for these things. I feel I had a lot more respect for the value of money and the gadgets I bought. If I can teach my kids anything, I would like to instill in them the value of things not just money but to have respect for the things that are bought for them and that eventually they will buy themselves. I do feel that I bang my head against the wall a lot of the time but I also need to remember that I was probably the same at their age and many of these value lessons have only been learnt through my life experiences.
I do remember always being on the look out for that next get-rich-quick scheme but as a kid you rarely look at the logic. I got involved in a chain letter at one stage where you sent $20 to the first person on the list and then added your name to the bottom and then sent it out to others. Well $20 for me those days was a days effort at the garage pumping petrol or a shift at McDonald’s but it was still a big effort. Everyone I tried to introduce to the scheme shot me down, even my biological father (I hadn’t seen or spoken to him to maybe ten years at this stage and there he was on the phone so I asked him). I never saw my $20 again 🙁 Sometime you learn from these sorts of lessons but other times you just keep moving ahead and put it down to experience.
Another scheme a friend of my and I thought up was to develop a coupon book and sell it to people in the area so they could save at the local stores. It never was more than an idea as we never took any action, if we had maybe things would be different. We were ahead of our time and the technology as sites like Scoopons are making gazillions now off the same sort idea .. All of these experiences help you develop as a person and with the support of a loving family you are able to make your way into the real work with some confidence.
To be continued …
Who is Dean Howell, Part 3 – The Real World