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  • Written by Leigh Rust

As a kid, I remember coming home from school, ready to help Dad with whatever I could. Asking him hundreds of questions and learning from him and what he did. Hindsight, he might have been annoyed with the relentless "what did you do today, Dad?" every day. But as a kid, I was seeing my idol do the thing he loved to do, and I wanted to be a part of it. 

When the time came and I had finished my schooling, I thought I would get a job working with my Dad in the family business. I felt like I was the perfect candidate and amongst other things I was never going to be late because I lived with the boss. 

I remember having a talk with Dad about starting work with him but he had other ideas. 'You're not working for me' he said. Point blank. No ifs, no buts. Nothing. I had to go out and learn something more before it would even be considered.

So I set out and began my mechanic apprenticeship. I knew the whole time it wasn’t my calling, but I finished it. I knew it was my chance to prove myself to my father, to show I would do what it took to earn my position in the family business, even if it did take years to get there.

Even though I hated almost every minute of it, I did learn a lot, and I took away some valuable lessons from completing my trade because nothing worth doing is easy, and nothing easy is worth doing. 

This rains true in all areas of life, but for the first time since being rejected by my father's company, I learnt why I wasn't given the job. As a school-leaver, I expected to be offered the job, I expected to walk into a conversation and it all go according to plan. 

Dad would say, "yeah sure", and I’d be given a job. Easiest interview ever. 

But that's not how it went down. Being rejected and told no and having to go through the process of getting my own qualification taught me that I should never expect to be handed what I thought I was entitled too - and it also taught me to never take no for an answer.

My father was teaching me a very long-winded lesson, that I had to earn my place with him. Even if that meant getting a qualification in a trade I would never pursue. By the time I was allowed to apply for a job at the family business I was no longer an entitled teenager who knew it all. I was a qualified mechanic, I had learned my first big life lesson and I was ready to prove myself to my father. 

And yes, that meant I took a pay cut and had to sweep floors for a couple years

When I finally earned the chance to get a job my old man didn’t have a position for me, I was told to go ask the factory manager to see if they needed help and started out sweeping floors.

Ever so slowly I moved up the ranks from the floor sweeper to the saleseprson. Finally, I was where I wanted to be, working alongside my Dad in the role I had been dreaming about since I was a little kid. 

I knew every aspect of our product, I was confident taking charge of all areas of the business and the best part was knowing I had earned my place.

As a father myself, I now understand his decisions. It wasn't about not wanting me to succeed in the family business, it was about earning the right to work there. 

If there is one thing, you can take away from me sharing my story it is Nothing worth doing is easy, and nothing easy is worth doing. When one door shuts its not the end of the world, its an opportunity to prove why that door should be open. Learning this helped shape me to be the person I am today. I had to earn my place in the family business, which I can now say definitely beats expecting one. 

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