Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I was talking to my mother the other weekend, and decided to ask her some questions about my grandfather. I didn't know him real well, as he died while I was young, but I do have a few memories of him. One of the things I asked her was what different jobs he had held, as I knew it was a long list. She came up with over 21 different occupations he had held at some point while she was growing up. And, the vast majority were entrepreneurial in some manner. A few things struck me, both similarities and differences. For one thing, he hated working for someone else. He would do it for a while, but once he saw a better way to do something, if they didn't listen, it wasn't long until he left. He wasn't arrogant, but he was extremely mechanically inclined, and a natural problem solver. I find I have some of the same tendencies. Once I see a (in my opinion), better way to do something, it bugs me to no end if my suggestion gets ignored. I'm not the mechanical genius he was (he designed, built, and sold his own well drilling rigs for a while, quite successfully), but you don't have to work long before you find someone doing something, who obviously knows less about it than you do. However, the flip side is, he did things on his own. He ran a drive-in movie theater, ran a gas station, was his own boss. Me, I might think about it, but then I'd start wondering what permits I'd need, how much it would cost, how to get started, if it would work, and I'd never act on it. He did things, I think about doing things. And, that's one thing I'd ask him about if I could, how to be more like him. Did he ignore the permits and do it anyway (he did live mostly in really small towns), or did he know something about obtaining them too? Or did he simply set about learning whatever he didn't know that stood between him and his objective? I know it wasn't an education difference, as he didn't get past 5th grade, and well, I did. Or maybe that is part of the difference. Maybe he had to work harder to overcome that (not that it was a huge handicap back then), and that drive is what empowered him. I don't know. But, I do know I admire him, even if I barely knew him.