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Team Novak

Team Novak hard at work (MP Photo/Joe Novak)

By Joe Novak

A few weeks ago I was just getting ready to lie down after another productive day working in the yard when I heard a knock on my front door. My wife answered the door to find two 11-year-old neighborhood boys soliciting odd jobs. My wife said, “This is for you,” since I normally hire any contractors or manual laborers even though they are usually adults.

“We can pull weeds, spread mulch and do any yard work!” they said emphatically so that I wouldn’t doubt their sincerity or capabilities. I told them they could have a job if they showed up Saturday at 10 a.m., thinking they would never show. They introduced themselves as Aiden and Nick and off they went all excited about scoring a gig. I e-mailed Nick’s mothers and told her I would give them some light duty jobs if it was okay with her. She replied ”yes” and said the boys were excited about the work opportunity.

It is always a good sign when new hires show up 10 minutes early with work gloves and water bottles; even better when two of them do. Shortly after starting work Aiden’s dad showed up to introduce himself. I am certain that his parental instinct kicked in and he wanted to see exactly who his son was working for. I can’t blame him and thankfully I passed the test. The following Saturday Aiden’s mother showed up to check on her son.it’s nice to know parents care enough about where their kids are spending time. Nick’s mother showed up the third week and I am certain both sets of parents were doing their due diligence on their son’s employer. I invited them all to stop by anytime and often; parents can’t be too cautious in this crazy world we live in today!

I try to impart a bit of knowledge every time they work with me, and this week, we discussed the three numbers on the fertilizer bag; 12-12-12. I use this when I plant grass and we were filling in bare spots in my lawn today. The first 12 indicates the percentage of Nitrogen, the second 12 for phosphorus and the third for Chlorine. What do these chemicals do? I was taught, “up, down and all around”. Nitrogen makes the grass grow tall and green, the phosphorus makes the roots grow strong and deep and the Chlorine helps the grass spread and makes it thick. 

I pay well and there is a reason I am grooming these two entrepreneurs to be informed gardeners. I am getting older as they grow into stronger and more able-bodied young men who may someday work for me every summer, at least that is my goal and plan! I feel I am rewarding these two boys for their work ethics. Who knows, someday I may even fund some business enterprise these two venture into. One never knows when another Steve Jobs and Steve Wazniak will show up to start another Apple – the possibilities are endless! It is my intention to be a positive influence on these two young lives, two hours at a time on Saturday mornings!

Joe Joke:  I told these kids not to think of me as their boss but as a friend who can
fire them! 

To find out what Joe would do, e-mail questions to editorial@middlefieldpost.com. Joe has 20-some years experience in manufacturing and says that as a small business owner, he found that you either learn how to solve a problem yourself or pay to have it done. Joe’s articles are his opinion and are only intended as a guide. Please consult an expert when in doubt.


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