On Sunday mornings we wake early, same as any day. We go to church early to have the rest of the day to work around the house, prepare for the week ahead, or simply enjoy.

On Sunday mornings we wake early, same as any day. We go to church early to have the rest of the day to work around the house, prepare for the week ahead, or simply enjoy.

This Sunday morning I came downstairs to fiddle with the family books and write a check to cover our tithe and soon found myself reading essays on the “This I Believe” Web site (www.thisibelieve.org). It’s not a religious enterprise, but a series of essays written by folks to express the many things they believe in or aspire to in their own lives.

One line in one essay stopped me cold and made me turn to the keyboard. A young man wrote an essay about how his life took a bad turn early on and he found himself at age 21, “in a dead-end job carrying roof shingles up a ladder all day.” I almost screamed at the computer screen: A DEAD-END JOB?

I believe there is no such thing as a dead-end job and shame on any of us when we employ people in our businesses and let them believe it. That certainly includes our roofing businesses.

Roof contracting will never be elevated to the status we in the business think it deserves until we value each and every individual who dares to join us in this work. That includes the guy who spends the day lumping shingles to the roof. The reality I see in our business is that everyone involved in the industry has an open-field shot at financial and personal success.

When I show up at a roofing job and see the people working I realize that they all have the potential to own the company some day. I have watched young people zoom through the ranks to do just that. They may not have been extremely well educated (although many have educated themselves from within their position in the industry along the way). They may not have been beautiful or technically skilled, but they possessed the entrepreneurial fire that drove them to take a risk and build a career and business for themselves.

If that defines a dead-end job, we need more of them in this country given the state of our economy. We must realize that the bottom guy on the roofing crew is, on some level, concerned about his career path. Career path? Yes, they dream of a better future just like the rest of us and they deserve, if nothing else, our respect for their dream. If you hear anyone refer to any job in your roofing business a “dead-end job,” tell them I said to “Kiss my short Italian ass.”

PS (assuming it is legal to PS on a blog):

As a writer I was challenged to submit an essay to This I Believe. It will not be aired on NPR but has been published on the This I Believe Website. A copy of the essay may be found here:

www.thisibelieve.org/dsp_ShowEssay.php?uid=59498&lastname=Damato&yval=0&start=0

Joseph, by the way, is my first name… so don’t be alarmed… this is the right essay.