You and Your Work — Employment tips from 1948

This month is “back to basics” month at Get Rich Slowly, and this week we turned our attention to you and your work. Yesterday we explored landing your dream job. On Thursday, ESI Money shared tips for making more while growing your career. (And this coming Monday, I'll give tips for negotiating your salary.)

In today's installment of GRS Theater, we're going to enjoy another educational film designed for high school students in the post-WWII era. This ten-minute video was put out by Coronet Films in 1948. In “You and Your Work”, a young worker learns the value of a positive attitude. Why loathe your life as a shoe salesman when you can learn to love it instead?

High-school student Frank Taylor wants to earn some spending cash, so he takes a job as a shoe salesman. The job is okay at first, but gradually Frank grows tired of it. Plus, the pay sucks: “That wouldn't buy many of the things I wanted. The shoe business was no good!” After Frank is fired at the shoe store, he goes to his high-school guidance counselor for help.

You and Your Work argues that there's no such thing as a dull job. What's important is the worker's attitude. Frank wants a glamorous, interesting job — like an architect — but his counselor points out that even architects get bored with their work. And even teachers, chemists, and fishermen can be proud of what they do. So, too, can a shoe salesman.

“Any job is as important as you make it,” says the guidance counselor. “If you think it's not important, whatever it is, you'll soon become bored with it and do it poorly.”

To enjoy your work, you don't need just a good income. You also need personal satisfaction, pride of accomplishment, and a sense of importance to others. This is true whether you're talking about a part-time job or a life-time career. “And as for money,” says the counselor, “well, we all want money. But if you don't perform any service, or if you don't do your work well, you can't expect much in return.”

I can relate to poor Frank Taylor's position. His shoe-selling experience reminds me of the worst job I ever had, selling insurance door-to-door when I was fresh out of college. In my case, I was able to get things turned around — eventually. And Frank, too, comes out ahead. He changes his attitude, and, in fact, becomes manager of the shoe store.

This video reminds me of another piece of pop culture from the same era. Here's an ad that ran in October 1956 issues of certain comic books. It's all about the TRUE STORY of a guy who made good money with his side hustle selling shoes!

Mason Shoe ad

Click through for a slightly larger version of this ad. (I know it's a bit tough to read.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love these old films. Sure, they simplify things. And sometimes their notions are sexist and/or racist, or otherwise outdated. But generally they have sound messages, even for the kids of today. They're just dressed in the trappings of a world that no longer exists.

Someday I'll find the time to do a round-up of all these old educational money movies. I'd love to have them all in one place.

More about...Career

Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss And Join 15,000 Others
guest
4 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steveark
Steveark
2 years ago

I guess that shoe thing was the original side gig! Technology changes but human nature doesn’t change much so those ads don’t seem that dated. And despite all the self pep talks in the world some jobs truly suck or at least they sucked for me. But match the right gig with the right person and magic still happens! Its an honor just to comment on one of your posts.

Liz
Liz
2 years ago

Can I just say how much I am enjoying clicking on this link again and finding fun and useful articles? I am so happy you are back J.D.! I am sure you are hearing that quite a bit still!

Jared | MrFiGuy
Jared | MrFiGuy
2 years ago

These videos are super interesting. It reminds me of a book I read a while back that had a history of self help books over time, saying that a couple of generations ago the self help books were primarily about building character – working hard, having a good attitude and being honest etc, and how these traits will help you to become a better member of society and thus more fulfilled. And how self help books today are mostly about being individualistic, finding what fulfills you the most and then pursuing that thing… leading to more fulfillment. Two very different… Read more »

Mrs. ETT
Mrs. ETT
2 years ago

J.D., aren’t you already doing a round-up of these? You’ve got three already. Start where you are, and just build bit by bit.

shares