Growing up my family owned a beach house that we would rent out to tenants for week long periods throughout the summer. Every Saturday between 10:00am-2:00pm my dad and I would do the turnover, cleaning in between each tenant.
From the 5th grade, I knew every Saturday I had to sweep outside, wipe down the fridge and countertops, vacuum, Windex the mirrors and windows, and dust along all the surfaces. My dad who would cut the lawn outside and do any heavy labor activities would check my work, and once approved, I was rewarded with hotdog and soda with a few hours at the beach before we headed home.
Although no monetary compensation was involved, this has been the most influential job I’ve ever had. As a college graduate with multiple different internships and experiences, this job still has taught me some of my most important life lessons.
Whether it was 100 degrees outside or raining, the pavement still had to be swept, and the house still had to be cleaned. Every Saturday I knew from 10:00am-2:00pm the job had to get done, and it had to get done right. Sloppy and inconsistent work wouldn’t pass, and if I didn’t do it right the first time, I would be told to go back and do it again right a second time.
Most importantly, I learned how to work from a servant’s heart. Since we lived an hour and a half away from the beach, and Saturday was a heavy traffic day for beach goers, we had to wake up at 6:30am to beat the traffic. As you can imagine, there were many days where waking up at 6:30am and cleaning up after others in the hot sun did not sound appealing. But I knew I didn’t want my dad to do all the work himself, and I knew if I didn’t clean properly, the next family might not have a good time, walking into a house that was half cleaned.
I learned hospitality, attention to detail, efficiency, and most importantly, I learned what it means to be a hard worker. This job more than ever shaped my character and work ethic, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Although paid with a hotdog and soda and an afternoon on the beach, this job, which is small to the eye, taught me some of the greatest lessons that no paycheck could ever pay.