Many Americans today too often look down upon blue-collar, low-wage jobs. Earning the minimum wage working a cash register, stocking groceries, or serving food is viewed not as the first rung on the ladder to success but as a dead-end job.
But this Labor Day, let’s take a moment to discuss and celebrate those workers who the holiday was intended to reward. Workers like Tim Bell.
To avoid taking out more student loans than necessary, Tim Bell made the decision to work part-time at UPS while going to school. Having no experience related to the trucking industry, the low-wage job offered Tim a chance to learn basic work skills, without taking up school time.
Instead of rejecting the opportunity to work at a low-wage job, Tim loaded trucks at UPS for $8 an hour, paying down his college tuition bills while gaining valuable work experience.
Twenty years later, Tim is making over six figures a year and oversees more than 800 UPS employees in New Stanton, Pennsylvania.
In a recent interview with Tim, he told us that on his first day at work, management immediately recognized his leadership skills, his dedication to work (no matter how mundane the task), and his commitment to earning a bachelor’s degree.
In fact, management viewed Tim so favorably that he became a part-time manager almost as soon as he was hired.
After helping him pay his way through college, UPS continued to reward Tim’s hard work and dedication with promotions. Fast forward to 2008, and Tim was developing a training management program for UPS’s second-largest hub in Tamworth, England.
The success story of Tim Bell is not uncommon: Ken Langone, founder of Home Depot, started out as a plumber and cafeteria worker. Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, worked his way through college washing dishes. Warren Buffett started out delivering newspapers.
There is no such thing as a dead-end job. Each job you take, no matter how tough or menial it may seem at the time, can help develop the skills, mentality, and endurance needed to be successful in any job.
If Tim’s story is similar to yours, it should be celebrated, not discarded. After all, his story isn’t as uncommon as you may think.