My dad was a landscaper at @VillanovaU when I was growing up. When he became too injured to continue he stayed with the union as a custodian until the job nearly killed him.
Watching his experience as a blue-collar worker there taught me two lasting lessons that have a HUGE effect on how I deal with my employees and coworkers.
Dad taught me the Delco work ethic. A combination of professional nerdery, pride, and forgetting about self-care. It's not a trait I recommend other try to exhibit... but it helped me survive the military and is largely responsible for my career as an engineer.
Second - I learned the horrific personal cost when an employer mistreats laborers. Now that my dad is retired I can say it out loud without fear of retribution against him - @VillanovaU treats it's laborers like dirt. Dad did a good job of hiding exactly how bad it was... as a student it was impossible to ignore.
As a student I listened to the way supervisors talked about and treated the people who emptied their trash, served their food, and watched their doors. I watched understaffed teams pull backbreaking shifts trying to keep up with the need. I watched privileged students joke about it. I watched people talk about the cost and get excited over the prospect of replacing employees with an Aramark contract.
As a son I watched as my dad shoveled sidewalks in blizzards, worked in the "black flag" conditions for hours without a break, slept on floors when shifts were too long to make it home, and rushed back to work after numerous injuries.
He lives a life of chronic pain and organ failure now - and it's not hard to directly tie any and all of that back to specific decisions made by managers who cared more about financial than human cost.
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