Captains of Industry
I grew up in a tiny house with 6 people in it. Despite the small kitchen, I remember my mom turning out baked goods like it was a factory and selling them for extra money back when a few bucks made all the difference.
When the cookie sales took off, requests for personalized catering came in, and before long my mom had a regular income from cooking and baking. On top of that, she took on a flyer delivery route two days a week, which my sister and I worked alongside her. All of this on top of her regular job. Nowadays she tells the stories about how those part-time gigs were the difference between being able to give us Christmas or not.
My mom raised captains of industry in her own image. My siblings and I all grew up with the same industrious streak that she had; we have always been willing to work at hard and unexpected things in order to make ends meet. It was a fortunate example that she set for us, because many years later, after immigrating to America and being unable at first to get regular jobs, I was able to pay for my tuition expenses through the same industrious tasks.
I was a regular nanny for many different children over several years. I cleaned homes and businesses for well below minimum wage. I was a pet-sitter. I even did elder care, looking after people’s aging parents for them. Sometimes seven days a week, and sometimes numerous jobs in a day, but I was never too proud (or too tired) to say no. There were bills to pay.
While a normal day shift office job is not exciting, I am grateful that I no longer have to do those odd jobs to make money. There were times that I had to clean human feces from showers, times where I was making less than $5/hour for whatever I was tasked with, and times where the people were rude and condescending to me. But in every case, it was a good experience because I know if the hard times set in and it is required, I can do it again.
It is a blessing to be raised with such a good example set before me, and the funny stories that have emerged from our collective experiences are well worth having lived through them. To be a resourceful and industrious woman is a consolation to me when the insecurities of life hit. That is the great thing about America, there are opportunities everywhere if you are willing to take hold of them and work hard for them. They are rarely easy, but a blessing nonetheless.
I am proud of my mother for the example she set for us.