363 – Summers Work

Work over the summer is the reason for America’s tradition of a summer school break. Initially, most work was done on farms, but there are other parts of the economy that need seasonal labor during the summer months.

Strong, hard, manual labor helps familiarize oneself with the real world. This is especially important since most bad leadership stems from lack of connection with the real world—whether leadership in a company, government, or other organization. It’s difficult for an economist to understand the overall job market without ever having had an ordinary job. Unless you have had to deal with the normal conflict between management and the labor force, you may miscalculate whether a union strike will affect long-term stock value of which company.

One of the saddest arguments in the international discussion about immigration is the need for basic labor. It’s arrogant to think that car washing, housecleaning, harvesting, and manufacturing jobs are “beneath” citizens. Those jobs, especially for young adults, build necessary character for great leadership. Without that character, future organizations are doomed. No! It is not “beneath” citizens to have character-building jobs, in fact it is the dignity of all humans in every part of the world to take time for hard, hands-on work.

As for the problem of young people being too snooty to work on a farm or wash cars during the summer, all it takes is a little awareness in the hiring market. If HR interviewers understand that having worked on a farm makes for a lower turnover rate, suddenly the classroom theme will change from “go to school, get a good job” to “go to school, spend your break on a farm, keep an awesome job”. But, this is rather simplistic. People who do intense work over the summer won’t only keep a good job; they will better lead future companies and create more jobs.

One financial leader at a university, a friend of mine, always preferred to change the oil in his car himself. He said it was therapeutic. He helped that college enter the top 100 in the US, no doubt why.

Summers work well. Do it, teach it, hire for it, and hire from it.

Psalm 90:17, Proverbs 12:11, 24; 13:4; 14:23, 2 Thessalonians 3:10