If you work and don’t get paid is it labor?

I have stayed in a workplace that was toxic, and I didn’t enjoy because of a paycheck.

I have stopped working on what I enjoyed because it didn’t produce a paycheck or enough of one to keep going.

What was the same in both situations?

The effort. The labor.

I have heard people say we need to teach the value of hard work.

I watch men cutting lawns and doing construction in100 degree heat.

Women who clean houses, and change bedpans in nursing homes.

They work hard. They don’t make much money.

I have seen people make six figures sit in an air-conditioned office, and run up company debts, causing others to lose their jobs.

Who was working hard?

If they work hard but don’t make much money then what is it that we don’t value?

If they make much money but have poor results what justifies the money they make?

Is it accurate to say that someone who doesn’t make much money doesn’t work hard or value hard work?

I don’t think so.

Hard work is hard work.

Pay people fairly for their hard work.

Create cultures that people appreciate, and where people are valued.

Meetings can’t be considered hard work, when you make decisions for other people and your team is shielded from the consequences.

If someone else is feeling the pain of your decision, and you aren’t, I wouldn’t call that a hard decision.

Cutting lawns are work. Laying brick is work. Welding is work. Delivering babies is work. Chasing criminals is work. Teaching children is work.

AI and Machines can move money around better than someone in an office.

Then the person in the office can go work with people.

Doing work.

That’s possible.

It can be done.

All it takes is a little hard work.

Listen to the latest episode of my podcast The Steven Thompson Experience- Revolutionary Generation-


We teach a lot of either/or thinking.

When I was growing up, I was taught to wear a suit to a job interview. How you dress matters.

It was either your dress nice, or you don’t get a job.

This an example of either/or thinking.

Except I never saw a person wearing a suit in a tattoo parlor.

Tattoo artists are Entrepreneurs, they don’t wear suits, and some run very profitable businesses.

On January 9th, 2007 Steve Jobs stepped on stage in a black turtleneck and jeans and introduced the world to the iPhone.

Barak Obama wears suits his clothes are custom made by Hartmark, a 121-year-old company in Chicago.

Barak Obama was the president. He wore suits.

The point is this- Teach maximizing skills and abilities and encouraging people to contribute each day.

Let people select their clothes. Unless you want to hire a stylist if you do then let the stylist pick your clothes.

It doesn’t have to be either/ or. It can be both/and.

You can wear a suit and be a successful entrepreneur. You can wear a black turtleneck or a concert tee shirt and be a successful business owner or worker.

You get to choose. Choose you.

We get to make a choice

I gave away my office.

My conviction is that leaders lead from the field, not from the office.

People didn’t agree with me.

12 years ago in my first Assistant Principal job, I created a program where I could work with students and do my administrative job.

I was pulled back to the office, they said no.

When I became a High School Principal, I gave my office to the Assistant Principal.

I set up a time to work with students.

I was told no, and my boss was very uncomfortable with me working next to the admin assistant in the hallway.

I loved it. I was close to the action, to the students, to the families.

People over paper, that is my philosophy.

Two years ago, I told my teachers we were going to write our own curriculum.

I said I was going to be the Principal and Teach. I wouldn’t call them to do something I couldn’t do.

Several months later, at our retreat when I said I was teaching, people didn’t seem to believe me or forgot.

I did both. A surgeon does surgery. A quarterback throws passes. A plumber unclogs toilets.

Educators work with children. I was a teacher before I was an administrator.

Administrative Assistants work in offices.

There isn’t anything wrong with being one.

Now I am opening my own school.

Everyone who will there must work with children too.

Even me.

Leaders lead from the front.

Schools are made for children.

I am the boss so I get to choose how I run it.

No one can tell me no anymore.

History is on my side.

The data is on my side.

Aristotle didn’t have an office he worked with students.

Socrates didn’t have an office he worked with students.

Buddha didn’t have an office he worked with students.

Jesus didn’t have an office he worked with students.

You can keep your office. I will keep working with students.

We all have a choice.

Welcome to my Experience.

Due to low enrollment and budget, your position has been eliminated. You have the option to apply for a new job within the organization.

I was mad; it wasn’t fair, I expressed my displeasure in a formal letter.

I didn’t apply for the new position.

I was at a fork in the road. I made lists with pros and cons. I got advice. I decided to be quiet. To be still. To wait.

I had a choice. I could remain a renter in my career or the owner of my career.

I picked myself.

It was March when I found out I was leaving; I decided to give 110% percent for the next several months until June. I didn’t get bitter; I didn’t fight, I took the high road.

It was hard. It hurt. I had given 100 percent. People told me it was a blessing in disguise.

It still was painful. It still is.

When I dropped off a box at FedEx with the company computer, a phone I took a selfie and sent a text to some friends, at that point I was free. I no longer a renter of my career I was now the owner.

For the next two months, I worked 8-10 hours a day building my new businesses.

I planned. I prepared. I was practical. I was anxious. I didn’t feel free.

I was scared. I still am.

I wasn’t scared of the job.

I am not scared of the work.

I am not scared of the sacrifice.

I have anxiety over money.

Each week I make a budget.

I worry that it will run out. Is my labor futile?

My labor isn’t futile. My energy and my willingness to work hard and sacrifice are strengths.

My story is futile. So that is what I will change.

I performed a ritual. I painted a rock. I painted the negative words from my stories on the rock.

I threw the rock into the ocean. A symbol that the weight of the past would no longer burden me.

I woke up today, cooked my son breakfast and dropped him at school. He is one of the reasons I do what I do. My goal is to model for him how to pursue goals and passions to set him an example. Practice what I preach. 

I went back to the ocean and sat on a bench. I looked at the water and felt the cool breeze. I opened my notebook and did another budget, and then I began to work on my proposals for my new clients. Clients that I got on my own.

I can do this. I got clients on my own.

Clients I will get again. Money is a story. The work matters. I still feel anxious; I still think anxious thoughts. I let them pass over me, and through me. I meditate, I pray, I am on the right path. I am an owner.

Look for the blue object. That is the rock I tossed into the ocean.


Welcome to the new home of The Steven Thompson Experience! I host a weekly podcast and will also being doing some writing! I will be back soon!