That night I had dinner with my Grandpa Horne, my mother's father, and he taught me a great lesson. My family had lived with Grandpa until I was four and, as I got older, he knew about my strife at home. He had a special way of stepping in occasionally with some wise counsel. We had a special relationship. He called me "Laddie." He was a Mormon bishop for 26 years, as well as a traveling salesman. He used to take me on long drives with him while he was working, and he used these opportunities to teach me and talk to me. As I got older, he was my moral compass, especially after my mother left the Church. He was a wise, kind man and of the greatest influences on my life....Once a month he took me todinner and immediately asked, "What's wrong?" I tole him, "nothing," but he persisted. "Yes, there is; I can tell," he said. I told him about being rejected for the raise and how much work I was doing for the store. He sat silent for a long time thinking about this before he replied, "So what do you intend to do about it?"
"No matter how hard I work," I explained, "I can't perform well enough to accelerate my pay, and I'm getting married."
He repeated his question: "Okay, what do you intend to do about it?"
"I guess I'll only give them a $1.45 job if they're only going to pay me $1.45."
He thought about this for a few moments, and then he said, "You could do exactly that and still perform at such a high level that you would outperform your coworkers. So they would never know you were giving less than you had. But you would know, and frankly, you would be the only guy to be hurt by your underperformance. So, as your grandpa, I am going to promise you that as long as you continue to take their paycheck, if you work as hard as you can and learn all that you can in that business, someday it will pay off many times over."
I didn't realize then how profound his counsel would prove to be in my life. For some reason, while I was normally hardheaded and ignored advice-preferring, it seems, to learn the hard way-I took Grandpa's counsel to heart on this occasion. It really made an impression on me. It was one of the great lessons in my life, and I have given my best effort in everything I have done since then. Grandpa was right. It wasn't about beating my employers and their policies; it was about me and doing my best because it was the right thing to do.
I stayed a few more months at the parts store, but I wanted more and I had to move on.
People were horrified when General Barrows, at the time president of the University of California at Berkeley, bluntly proclaimed at a commencement exercise, "The only reason anyone goes to college is to increase his earning power." I was petrified by the statement, little realizing that the time would come that it would be treated by everyone as a universally accepted truism and even an idealistic proclamation.
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