The Value of Work – and Jeans!

The Value of Work – and Jeans! August 20, 2013

I love what Ashton Kutcher said at the Teen’s Choice Awards!  Did you see his emotional speech about work?

He was saying something important under all that screaming – work is the key to success!

Since I was a kid, my parents taught me the value of work.  Mom, of course, was our town’s mayor, then  our state’s governor. She worked for a newspaper and tv station when I was very small. Dad has always been a commercial fisherman in Bristol Bay, plus, for years he had a great job in the oil fields up on the North Slope. Through some of those years he also owned an outdoor recreation shop selling and fixing snowmachines, watercraft, boats, ATVs, etc. (He always had Willow on his hip there, because she wasn’t in school yet and she loved hanging out in the mechanic shop!)

Mom and Dad worked hard. We weren’t wealthy, but they took care of our needs.

Here was my problem – mom sometimes didn’t realize I “needed” more jeans.

“If you want designer jeans, that’s fine,” Mom told me,  “but you’re gonna work for them.”

That’s why I got my first “real” job (besides babysitting) that summer at an out-of-the-way café in Nordstrom’s in Anchorage – which gave me the company’s discount on clothes. Of course, by the time I’d pay for the gas to get to Anchorage, plus parking, and then take advantage of that discount, I was barely breaking even.

There were several coffee stands with little drive-throughs where customers pull up to order fancy hot coffees, and—hopefully—leave me a tip. I worked in many of them, serving lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, etc. I’d happily be grinding and brewing coffee at the Sunrise Coffee Shack, then after my shift I’d drive down the road to Café Croissant and pour more coffee in the afternoons during a second shift there. Then, about a year later, I got a job working at the Espresso Café about fifty feet down the road. (Alaska seems to have coffee shacks on every corner!) Since it was all basically just the same job – smile, take orders, make their caffeine-infused drinks – I don’t think my bosses were ever concerned about me sharing company secrets.

Beginning in 7th grade, I also worked at my grandparent’s L&M Ace Hardware store in Dillingham, about four hundred air miles southwest of Anchorage.  It’s owned by my dad’s mom, who’s like a mom to everyone in that fishing town. One day, I was cleaning the glass shelves that held the guns and knives. Willow was on one side of the glass and would not stop bugging me. I took the Windex and merely sprayed it in her general direction. I was a mile away from her, but she immediately started screaming, “My eyes! My eyes!” My Nana, sick of listening to us, grabbed us both by the arm and said, “That’s it! You’re going home!”

After I got fired by my own grandmother, Dad wasn’t going to let me get away with being a bad worker. The next night, he hauled us all out to work in his open-air commercial fishing skiff.  This was harder – and so much colder – than cleaning the gun cases, but I look back on these times of employment when I really learned how hard people have to work to make money.

Now, as an adult, I still carry those lessons with me.  No, I don’t fish every Bristol Bay season opener anymore (at least not putting in enough time on the water slaying salmon to make much money!). I’ve been working for four years now in a dermatology office – with the best coworkers ever, I’d add!

My parents have said they are so proud of their kids’ work ethic, and that adds to the pride we can take in working hard every single day. I hope you all have that confirmation from your family and friends that reminds you how important work is. And like Ashton suggested from the awards show stage, don’t feel like any job is beneath you. And don’t wait for that “perfect” job to come along before getting off the couch to make a paycheck. Better jobs will come along after you put in the grinding hours today, believe me, I know. I’m glad for my work lessons through these years.

And now, thankfully, I can buy my own jeans, Mom!

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  • Rosie

    My first job was Subway, the restaurant. I stayed 3 years because, like you, I had the best coworkers ever. That job paid me, as a high schooler, enough to earn my keep, pay for my “needs,” fuel my car, and pay insurance. A car was the only thing my parents bought me outright. I still have that car, and I probably always will, even after it dies completely- though I must admit we often take my husband’s vehicle. My first car represents to me everything I’ve earned myself since high school. I paid my way through college and graduated debt free, worked while I earned my masters and raised a child, welcomed my second baby and continued paving our way. I maintain my business and silently cry at any potential policies democrats talk about instituting that could hurt business. But, at the end of the day, I never said, “that is beneath me” or “that’s too hard.” I’ve never let myself become angry over politics or daily life pressures. My kids keep me solid and calm. I intend to show them how important it is to value the above and to live life with a smile. You’re clearly doing the same with Tripp, who just shines! You have a beautiful relationship. Family love.

  • Connie Heckler

    My first job was at our local “dime store” and I was paid $.25 an hour. After I graduated from high school I helped compile our telephone directory. To help earn my way through business college I babysat for my room and board. Since then I have had 4 different careers – two secretarial jobs (15 years) then a full time mom for my two girls. I was able to purchase the Nursery School my oldest daughter went to and directed and taught for 10 years. I sold it and now I have my own housekeeping business. I have been doing this for almost 25 years and don’t anticipate quitting anytime soon. At 70 years old, it helps me stay physically fit and with Obamacare just around the corner, probably will never be able to quit!

  • Robin Lindsey

    So proud to know that America has The Palin Family to uphold the class and character this country was founded on…..God Bless

  • David

    Self reliance….what a concept!

  • They say, you know, that most successful entrepreneurs succeeded because they took on the work no one else wanted to do. I firmly believe this. It is where the opportunities are. The hard ugly dirty jobs that one might think are beneath them are the one’s that teach them fortitude to press onward through obstacles.
    There are always problems looking for a solution and someone willing to provide them.

  • PaMom4Palin

    Hard work never goes out of “style”! It’s so sad that much of America has a “give me or else” mentality! If ppl would just realize how much better they would feel if they actually earned their way! Great post Bristol!

    • Mark Paulson

      Bristol didn’t write it.

  • Ooops

    “Mom, of course, was our town’s mayor, then our state’s governor. She worked for a newspaper and tv station when I was very small. ”

    Hmmm, your mom worked for the newspaper and the Tv station up to 1988 and you were born in 1990 – don’t try to rewrite history please.

    How can you explain that you have been working for 4 years in a dermatologist office but at the same time you were away for months for your different tv shows ??? Your boss must be very nice !

    and remember, you lived in AZ ( you even bought a place there ) – it must have been a very long commute ….

    • Rosie

      I laugh when people who don’t know someone feel they can claim that person is rewriting history. Bristol knows herself the best, as you know yourself the best. Stick to your life and let her stick to hers.

    • Crystal Baker

      Good grief, are you serious? Maybe she worked on and off there for four years or maybe she was mistaken on what job and when her mom had in the 80’s…..or maybe even there’s things you DON’T know about. I think you get the point. Her family is hard working and Ashton K delivered a great and much needed message to America’s youth. Keep working hard, Bristol and never let haters get ya down!

      • Beaverton

        Crystal, don’t you wish that every boss was as understanding with his employees as Bristol’s employer seems to be? Imagine having a job where you can take extended leaves of absence whenever you want. Bristol’s says her co-workers are the best. I think she should extend that compliment to her wonderful boss as well.

        • Part-time. Leave of Absence. Flexibility.

          • Ooops

            Part time + leave of absence + flexibility = Hard work !…
            and it’s exactly what everybody else gets, right ????

          • Beaverton

            I’m sure it was just an oversight on Bristol’s part that she failed to make it clear that the 4 years she has been employed at this dermatologist’s place of business was only on a part-time basis. You can bet that when she does show up for the job she is one of the most hard working employees there. Trish Howard, who is a patient there, will, no doubt, attest to the fact that when Bristol is actually at the dermatologist’s office, she, with her own eyes, has seen how Bristol works her butt off to make up for the time she has taken off. Isn’t that right, Trish?

          • Rosie

            You’re a bully teaching people it’s ok to bully and make ignorant judgment calls.

          • Joy Daniels Brower

            Beaverton, you certainly are one busybody! Have you nothing better to do than micromanage Bristol’s private life? Just because she has a blog to keep in touch with her fans & supporters doesn’t mean she’s running for office or doing anything else in the public sphere at present. So what if she works in that dermatology office whenever she’s in Wasilla? Did it never occur to you that that might suit her boss as well? My God, you’re as bad as the NSA & the CIA – ON STERIODS!!

          • Beaverton

            Joy, in a previous comment you wrote ” She’s been a full-time mom to her 4-year-old boy, but also a full-time worker (receptionist?) in a dermatologist’s office during this same period as well.” Now you say that she works in that dermatology office whenever she’s in Wasilla. So which one is it; full-time or part-time? Don’t feel too bad as I realize that defending the Palin family, day in and day out, can be exhausting work so it is perfectly understandable to be confused.

          • Guest

            You miss the point again. Briefly taking time off one job to wok another isn’t taking time off. :/ That is what living in 2013 is.

          • deTocqueville1

            Its 0’s economy!

          • Well, we’ll have to expand on that:
            Her contributions on other projects has benefited others immensely and they have profited from it – consented exchange.
            Her boss extended that to her because he benefits from what she brings when she’s there.
            Media personalities do it all the time – they’re not criticized.
            She has done the work and put up with more criticism than the average person.

        • Rosie

          That is THEIR business. You’re pretty narrow-minded considering the year is 2013.

    • Trish Howard


      • Rosie

        Relax. People will think what they want. Outsiders’ beliefs don’t change or affect a person’s truth.

      • deTocqueville1

        They never know.

      • blueniner

        They dont care, the loons just come here to dish out insults at the Palins….

  • Jeff

    Ouch. Seems like we’ve hit a nerve with Bristol.

    • Rosie

      Why would you think that from a great response to Ashton’s spiel?

      • Jeff

        Because Rosie many of her detractors have wondered why she complains so much yet does so little.

  • Rob Waltemate

    I’m like you. I started working construction when I was 10 years old. Lucky for me my father owned his own company, though he was just starting out. I made $2.50/hr that summer; I was the richest 10 year old I knew! LOL

  • sallychuck

    In this era of instant gratification, great work ethic and the value of hard and decent work are something that are unfortunately lacking in today’s young generation. Your parents raised you well.

  • David

    Good post, Bristol. Maybe this will change some of the Left’s misconceptions about you and your Family.

    • Jeff

      No David we see her for what she truly is….I’m sorry you cannot.

  • brightfuture12

    Ashton Kutcher’s speech was very good indeed but to see BP trying to put herself in the same picture reminds me of her preaching for abstinence … ( btw, is she still working for the Candy’s foundation ? )

    She should be thankful – thanks to her tv shows, her ghost written book, she has been able to make more money than most of the teens her age- so stop pretending that it’s from working hard – so far it’s only because of your name.
    I hope it will last for you because you don’t seem to have used your “fame” or your money to educate yourself or to do something positive with your life.

    • qtdb7

      What’s wrong with making money legally?

      • brightfuture12

        absolutely nothing wrong but she should assume what she is : a lucky girl not a hard worker. If her name was not Palin she wouldn’t have got these opportunities

        • qtdb7

          If ‘DEBT man walking’ Obama is not black, then 99% of black people would NOT vote for him.

          • Ruth

            Spot on!

          • Mark Paulson

            What does Obama have to do with this article?

        • Joy Daniels Brower

          What defines “hard worker,” genius? Bristol had a number of interesting TV projects that she executed well, but, obviously, TV was not in her immediate future. She’s been a full-time mom to her 4-year-old boy, but also a full-time worker (receptionist?) in a dermatologist’s office during this same period as well. I think the more accurate word would be “steady & dependable” worker – and that’s STILL saying something very positive about young Bristol!

    • qtdb7

      ‘Walking DEBT’ Obama and Hollywood/democrats/liberals/socialists/communists DO NOT believe in hardworks. They believe in REDISTRIBUTION of WEALTHS.

      • deTocqueville1

        They also believe in tearing down not building up as the post by not too bright future makes abundantly clear

      • brightfuture12

        You don’t seem to realize that Ashton Kutcher is a “Hollywood” guy, who supported Obama in 2012 !

        • qtdb7

          Talk is CHEAP. That’s why I DO NOT trust anyone. TRUST is OVERRATED. “TRUST but VERIFY” is what I do.

        • Obama had nothing to do with Kutchers success.
          Whether he is aware or not, and he might not be, he’s built his life according to principles that we’ve been advocating.
          He’s definitely not saying it’s Leftist policies that got me here.

          • brightfuture12

            ” he’s built his life according to principles that we’ve been advocating ”

            Totally agree but I don’t know what you mean by “we” ?
            These principles are , or should be, common sense values

          • I have a couple posts above/below that might help.
            Bristol has to endure to get anywhere and it isn’t pretty. That I think is what you’re missing. She has opportunities, yet, she still has to produce something. Nothing is free.

          • Jeff

            Democrats work hard too….and statistically its the RED states that use the most government assistance. This FACT has been pointed out many times. I’m a diehard liberal democrat and I put myself through college and have worked since I was 16 years old….just like my parents did.

          • You’re a: “Die-Hard Leftist Communist”, there, FIFY.
            You’re too inconsistent around here for anyone to believe anything you say.

          • Jeff

            Well Satan worshipers like yourself hardly have credibility.

          • Richard Smit

            Palin haters are the ones who are satan worshipers!

          • Hollyintuc

            The Reds also give more to charity and the Blues make more money.

        • RoseofSharonshowme

          Kutcher also defended Sarah when leftists obsessed about her emails.

  • deTocqueville1

    Great speech and your post is wonderful. Keep on inspiring us.

  • qtdb7

    If you accuse somebody of doing something wrong, then you better have evidence(s) to back up your accusation.

    • Mark Paulson

      If you’re going to reply to something somebody writes, then you better say something relevant (I didn’t say there was any wrongdoing).

  • friskyness

    great job Bristol!

  • Laura

    You state the importance of working and being proud of the work you do, whatever it may be, very well. Thanks for the great blog, and kudos to Chris Kutcher for letting today’s teens know how to attain real success!

    • That’s funny. I watched the video, but Chris didn’t compute for a second there when I read it.

  • romerosky

    nice history for some lazy welfare food stamp people to follow.

  • Bristol, I don’t think you have to answer to these nay-sayers. You work hard, you take care of your boy, and you’ve built a good life.

    • Jeff

      She didn’t build it…her mother did.

      • Jeff the bot.Jeff the bot.Jeff the bot.

      • And your point is? Good parents lay a good foundation for their kids. I know few parents who would not do everything they could to insure the best for their children.

        • Jeff

          My point is exactly what I said. Bristol’s “good life” is more the result of her last name than anything she’s actually accomplished.

          • RoseofSharonshowme

            Bristol made the best of opportunities presented to her – good for her. What you said apply to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, the Kennedy children, etc.

          • Jeff

            You can’t possibly be comparing Bristol’s failed reality show “career” to the good works that Chelsea Clinton and the Kennedy children have done all over the world.

          • chicodon

            No, we’ll compare it to your failed trolling show.

          • Jeff

            Truth hurts chicky

        • Guest

          The Pistol is single.

          • lillibird

            She is single but her son still has another parent who he does see..and from the pics on his facebook page, Tripp seems very happy spending time with his Dad, Sunny and his little sister.

  • Mike

    Very good thank you Bristol. I also enjoyed…the great duck family in the last post…and sorry I accused all “reality” shows (though i hadn’t and wouldn’t watch yours) of being fake and phony.
    God Bless

  • Kristy Patullo

    Wow, that was amazing! I have so much more respect for Christopher Ashton Kutcher now. Very inspirational speech. Bristol, your parents instilled in you a great work ethic. Best lesson you could’ve ever learned.

  • Lindsay

    I would love to have a “job” where I could take extensive time off any time I wanted to film a reality show, get cosmetic surgery, live in Arizona, or travel to Haiti (which was very honorable by the way). Sign me up!