Insights from the Car Wash on Paving a Road to Success
By Jonathan Simon, Director, Corporate & Investment Banking, Public Sector April 17, 2014 02:59 PM
To celebrate the Pathways to Progress program, Jonathan Simon (Director, Corporate & Investment Banking, Public Sector) shares insights from his first job.
At the age of 15, my mother "suggested" it was time I start earning money to meet my growing financial obligations as a teenager, most of which were related to social activities. My parents were friends with the mayor of my hometown, so I was given a job at his car wash in Warner Robins, Georgia - about 80 miles outside of Atlanta.
I initially took a very casual approach to this job - after all, I never asked to work there, but I quickly learned from my co-workers that I had an obligation to deliver a quality product. They explained to me that it is our responsibility to ensure that every car that leaves the lot represents our best work.
The interesting part of the job, outside of learning the "in's and out's" of auto detail, was the unique opportunity to work alongside a group of men who were recently incarcerated. These men were participating in a program that helped to lower recidivism rates and promote financial independence.
The conversations and stories those men shared will be with me forever and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn and grow from their journeys. The single greatest lesson they taught me is that life is a string of decisions. Many of these men were intelligent and had great ambitions, but had made poor decisions that sent their lives down a bad path. The adversity these men faced challenged me to be smart about the decisions that I make and inspired me to dream big, stay focused and never be thrown off course.
My first job was a truly rewarding experience that shaped my professional development on many levels. Today, I support the Citi for Cities platform by advocating Citi's role as a trusted advisor to cities worldwide, supporting the delivery of the franchise's core banking services to meet urban needs and driving internal engagement around the theme of urbanization. My road to success continues to stretch on before me, and along the way I have and will always remain mindful of the lessons I learned at the car wash all those years ago.