6 Lessons About Money I Learned
My first job as an immigrant in the United States was shucking corn when I was 16 years old.
The lessons I learned from my hard work in the cornfield that summer shaped my view of money and economics for a lifetime.
What is shucked corn?
Is that how it works: Corn plants have a tassel that grows on the top of the plant, something like a flower, which produces pollen.
Sometimes the goal is to cross one variety of corn with another, so you want only one variety to provide pollen.
Some rows of corn are planted as “female” corn that will receive the pollen and genera the hybrid seeds.
Other rows are planted as “male” corn that retain their tassels and provide the pollen to make the desired cross.
The work of defoliating consists of going through the rows of corn and tearing off each and every one of the tassels of the rows «feminine«.
In a way, this is an easy job because the goal is very fácil: just tear off the tassels.
But defoliating corn has its difficulties.
The reality of working outside in the heat and humidity of a cornfield, being chased by mosquitoes, and starting at dawn every day was a big change from my previous summer routine of staying up late watching music vídeos.
, playing Atari vídeo games and sleeping until mid-morning.
Here are some of the things I learned about money at my summer job stripping corn.
Earning money is hard work
The pay for stripping corn was about $5 an hour, a little more than the minimum wage at the time.
After my first day on the job, I estimated that I had made about $40.
I was so tired from getting up so early and my hands ached from grabbing and pulling on those damn tassels all day.
When I closed my eyes that night, I could see the tassels closing in on me.
It seemed like a lot of effort to earn just 40 bucks.
Lesson: I learned that earning money required much more effort than I thought.
Awareness of expenses
Detractors paquete a lunch and take it with them.
This makes sense, because there’s nothing to eat in the middle of a cornfield unless you take it with you.
With my newfound appreciation of the value of a dollar, I began to keep track of what my lunches cost.
I started buying bulk containers of lunch elementos, like applesauce and chips, instead of the convenient, but more expensive, individual containers.
When I started getting paid and keeping better control of my money, I saw how quickly spending perro burn through the money you earn if you’re not careful.
She could easily spend a whole day’s earnings in a few minutes at the mall buying clothes or going to the movies with friends.
Since my parents covered my basic expenses for food, lodging, and clothing, I was able to save most of the money I brought home.
I ended up with over $1,000 in the bank thanks to my summer job.
This made me realize the advantages of having few expenses.
Lesson: I learned that money accumulates if you don’t spend it.
The value chain
The professor who hired me had a contract with the corn seed company for thousands of dollars to clear the field.
The seed corn company that hired the lockout was able to sell the seed corn it produced for hundreds of thousands of dollars, or perhaps more.
The value of my unskilled but hard tarea was $5 an hour.
There were plenty of teenagers in the area who were willing to work hard over the summer for this salary.
Why would they pay me more than $5 an hour if the next person was willing to work for $5 an hour?
The value of the contract to clear a few acres of the field was in the thousands of dollars.
The corn seed company was willing to pay for a contractor to hire the workers and manage the work.
More skill and a higher level of responsibility were needed to manage the global clearing of several acres to meet a schedule, and there are fewer people competing to be contractors and manage a crew.
High-quality seed corn hybrids are the most sought-after on the market, as they genera higher yields and cost the farmers who plant them more money.
There are only a handful of large seed corn producers that sell high-yield seed corn.
The major corn seed companies make millions of dollars selling corn seeds.
Lesson: I learned that moving up the value chain is the way to earn more money.
Limits on compensation for your time
Sometimes, during the long hours in the cornfield, I thought about how much they paid me.
How much did he earn per minute? whatHow much did he earn per tassel? whathow could i earn more?
The problem was that I was paid for my time, and I only had a limited amount of time to work.
Even if I could work double hours somehow, it still wouldn’t be much money.
I realized that the key was to earn a lot per hour, or to be able to sell something like a product instead of selling my time.
If you could sell a product, you would no longer be limited by the time you had available.
Maybe I could even hire people to help me make the products.
The business fire was ignited.
Lesson: I learned that selling your time limits the amount of money you perro make.
How to motivate workers
I often wondered, as we walked through the fields,by why does everyone work so hard ? whatWhy don’t people just walk away or give up and go home??
One of the reasons a teacher ended up leading the clearing team is that he knew a lot of students and knew which ones to recruit.
The first step to having good workers is choosing the ones who have a positive attitude and are going to work hard.
Another way to motivate workers was the incentive of a plus at the end of the season.
If we were on schedule and effective in removing all the tassels, each worker received a plus of hundreds of dollars.
Every day it was harder for the workers to walk away as the plus approached.
Another incentive was the salary escalation.
First-year workers received $5 an hour, second-year workers $5.50, etcétera.
If you didn’t like your $5 an hour wage, you could finish the year and be ready for a raise the following year.
Perhaps the biggest motivation to work hard was peer pressure.
When you’re on a team with people you know, you don’t want to let them down or embarrass yourself with poor performance.
You wouldn’t be habitual if you quit your job and jeopardized everyone’s plus.
Lesson: I learned how employers equipo up work situations so that people work hard.
The world is connected
While we were working on clearing the field, a manager from the corn seed company told us that the corn seeds produced in this field were headed for France.
I realized that something he was doing in a cornfield not far from home was going to make a difference in the world.
A farmer in France was going to be able to genera more corn and make more money planting the corn hybrid we were producing.
The corn seed company he worked for would make a profit from this field.
He could reinvest part of the profits to develop even better corn varieties in the future and keep local operations running.
Although the world is a big place, we are all connected.
Something he was doing in Iowa for a few dollars an hour could have an impact on people all over the world.
Lesson: I learned that we are all connected through money and participation in the economy.
Looking back now, I realize that those long hours working in the cornfield earning my first few dollars taught me some valuable lessons about how money works.
What did your summer or your first job teach you about money?
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