College grads, any honest work is a good work

A very short story.

My father once told me that honest work is good work. This was when I was working at a hardware store and hating life because I wasn’t putting my education to use. I graduated with a major in English and wanted to be a teacher and coach soccer. (I think I wanted to coach soccer more.)

agriculture close up environment farm

Skip 34 years later and now I’m telling my daughter the same thing. She has just graduated and her future is uncertain; one summer camp counselor job she planned to have won’t be running during the summer.

Following the summer job she plans to teach for City Year in Sacramento, CA, but this gig might not happen due to COVID-19. She was in the midst of interviews and things looked good, but a week ago she received a letter from the school.

The letter she received from the recruiter was kind. It led with, “THIS IS NOT A REJECTION.” I explained to her that the school for which she would teach needs to figure if they will open in the fall. Still she thinks of it as a rejection.

Recently she applied to work at a farm doing who knows what. She could be picking vegetables, bagging groceries (this is a large farm), running a cash register, driving the apple-picking tractor (run for your lives, people), directing traffic, or a number of things.

To say I’m proud of her doesn’t come close to the way I feel. Given a different time, I might be thinking–even out loud–that she’s not utilizing her four-year education. But these are different times we’re facing.

Internships have fallen through, seasonal jobs have disappeared, and long-term positions are put on hold or eliminated. And, of course, unemployment is as high as more than 15%.

For recent grads and those who have been laid off long ago or more recently, keep in mind that honest work is good work, as my father used to say.

Whether my daughter gets the farm job or not, I’m immensely proud of her.

Please watch this very impactful video, from Sarah Johnston, which delivers an encouraging message to the class of 2020.

Conclusion of this story: almost 2 months later

My daughter is working on the farm doing a variety of duties. She didn’t get the job at City Year in Sacramento; however, we recently heard good news—her duties are required in Boston, MA. The future is still uncertain, given COVID-19. Will she be teaching in a classroom or working remotely? Who knows?

4 thoughts on “College grads, any honest work is a good work

  1. Lisa V

    Good advice. Every job is a learning opportunity, even if it’s as simple as “I never want to do that again!” LOL For some reason, it has been ingrained in this generation that if you’re not excelling, then you are failing. So not true! I hope you’re daughter enjoys working on the farm. She will learn a lot about things she would never even be exposed to in a corporate environment. And tell her “congrats” on finishing college!


  2. Jim Peacock

    Resilience is going to be one of the key skills developed in these crazy Covid times. Your daughter will be fine but it will not be the time-line she envisioned. You are rightfully proud of her and everything I have heard about her, I can say, she’ll be fine…in time.


  3. apiecepofmrsp

    Love what you said there! I would think the same way for my son once he reaches her age. If she doesn’t get the job, then it is not for her. She will find a job where she can be happier and more passionate about it. Nevertheless, whatever job they get, we will always be proud that they have become who they are today, the better versions of ourselves :))



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