Over 60 years ago, my father "Ted" Whiting, Jr., started a family business…and I mean family! In the photo above, that is him surrounded by just some of his grandchildren, that were all working within the family business that particular Summer.
Following is a slightly edited article that appeared in our industry publication last year. It outlines my perspective of how our family business has lasted for generations.
The foundation of everything I have learned about business started with the advise, encouragement and example of my father. We have built from the principles established by him, and if we continue on his legacy, perhaps we'll be around 60 years from now!
Looking for a way to fast track your career? Want to develop your professional and leadership skills? Increase your earnings potential? Make new friends? How about simply trying to find purpose, and make a difference? And more importantly... serve your community, and those in need in the process?
Then Volunteer. Quit complaining, get off the couch, raise your hand and say; "yes"... I can help. What can I do? I'm here to serve!
Trust me… you have something of real value to offer to others.
This is good advise for anyone at any age. Today's younger workforce, the millennials and teens and young adults, would be particularly well served to create a habit of volunteering. They are already pre-dispositioned to making a difference in society and our world. In this sketchy job market, this is what could set them apart.
Without the people, opportunities and knowledge that only came my way through volunteer activities, I would not have enjoyed the success, satisfaction or sense of fulfillment I have. I would have simply been the best funnel cake maker on the west coast... not that there is anything wrong with that.
When I reached an age when I actually started to listen…a business mentor of mine gave me advise that has turned out to be some of the best I have ever received …and you don't hear it very often.
He said, Ken; "Always Take the Title"
So what did he mean?
His story went something like this. He had started his career with a very large, global consumer products company in an entry level sales position. He was successfully managing millions of dollars of business and had significant upward mobility opportunities with that company. As he looked towards the future, he had visions of achieving the highest of positions within that organization…but knew that the odds of sitting in the CEO desk were few and far between.
There isn't much celebrated today about the value of work experience for younger employees…and the positive impact it has on their development and future success.
Our company has employed thousands of high school and college age individuals over six decades. That tenure as employers has given us the opportunity and an unique vantage point, to have had young and inexperienced employees, and then to have witnessed them become mature adults, succeeding in their careers.
Literally hundreds of times we have had stories relayed to us from past employees about the value of their work experience and how it set them up for success in whatever career path they had chosen.
Our past employees have shared they were more prepared for the rigors of their job than their coworkers. They were better team players, had more respect for their boss, they focused on solutions and getting the job done…and less on what was in it for them (…all a part of their job training with our company). And that approach had gained them promotions, raises, opportunities and respect, that others (without workplace readiness) didn't experience.