I’m sure we are all familiar with the idea of giving back to the community, group, area, organization, or whatever other body it may be that has molded us into the individuals we are today. Whether we are giving back by funding, donating energy and time, or volunteering other resources we have readily available, every little bit counts. This is a great way to show your appreciation for the contribution that this entity played in your life and allows it to continue to live on and affect the lives of more and more individuals. Austin and his family are an awesome example of this behavior!
Originally introduced to machining by his grandfather, Austin didn’t realize the impact that this industry would have on him and his future. His grandfather actually owned a machining shop downtown that Austin frequented as a child. Both of his parents worked long hours, so he found himself in the care of his grandfather and his shop. As he got older, Austin’s interest in the machines that his grandfather so proudly worked on, grew. He himself was soon standing at one of the machines, gazing over his grandfather’s hands, and learning the basics. With time, he took on his own projects, first for fun and then later to help out his Granddad when he had extra work to do.
Making a Life-Changing Decision
When it came to college, Austin was conflicted. Should he continue working with his family or should he leave for school? “I’m not sure what I should do,” Austin brought up his conflicting emotions during lunch with his grandfather. “Well, I think you do, you’re just paying too much attention to everyone else,” he responded. Austin looked up, squinting at his Granddad. “What do you mean?” he questioned. “You know exactly what you want to do, but the opinions of others are holding you back,” his Grandfather responded coolly. Austin looked away from his Granddad and down at his food.
The Next Move
Austin went home that day with one thing on his mind: How can I further my machining skills? It is after all what he grew up doing and an aspect of himself that he was proud of, he was a natural; however, he wanted to get better.
The good old internet enlightened him about a potential option in his very own school. Machining classes were offered at a shop larger than his Grandfather’s, about a 30-minute ride from his school. As he entered his last year in high school he could replace his afternoon classes with this program and gain a certification in the meantime—not a bad deal at all.
He went to the shop the next day to share his moment of enlightenment. His Grandfather could only smile in response.
Ten Years Later…
Austin unlocked the door of Smith’s machining. His Grandfather had passed away 2 years ago, but his energy and personality still filled the walls of the shop. Austin smiled at this thought. His job connected him to his Grandfather and all the memories that they shared, not only in the shop but beyond. So much had changed in the past ten years. Austin had finished his certification and continued on at an apprenticeship at a larger, corporate-level machining company. At first he was antsy about offending his Grandfather for making such a decision, but instead, his Grandfather supported his pursuit of furthering his machining knowledge. After a year and a half at the company, he returned to work with his Grandfather who slowly began to hand down the reins to Austin. After his Grandfather passed, Austin was confident that he could lead the shop that was left to him. So far he was successful. So successful he was able to give back to the programs that helped mold him.
After being so heavily impacted by the machining industry, Austin wanted to help others see the opportunities that this profession provides. He wanted to show them that—no, you don’t have to go to college to get a meaningful and well-paying career. You don’t have to follow the crowd and the trend that is going on at the time. He dove into his mission of raising awareness of the benefits that come with following a career in machining.
He donated to the very program that was provided by his high school and was excited to see that the same instructor he had was still teaching the program.
“Thanks, Austin, I’m so happy that you continued.” Austin nodded, with a smile.
“You know what, I think you should come into class one day and share your experience with the kids. It’ll give them a real-world example that could impact their own choices and decisions.” Austin agreed.
No Extra Money? How About Time!
Austin visited the classroom that coming month and shared his own experience and career choice with the classroom. Several students stayed back to inquire further about his career decision.
“I don’t know if I’ll have the money to go to college, so I was considering the machining industry,” one student said shyly.
Austin nodded and smiled, “Yes, I definitely saved a lot of money by picking up machining, but you have to make sure you enjoy it.” The student nodded in agreement. Afterward, Austin continued to go back to the classroom and assist students with in-class projects, offering tips here and there. He even established an internship, hosting a couple of high school students every summer to enhance their machining skills.
Are You Actually Giving Back?
What was funny about the growing experience that Austin had with his school program was that he felt like he wasn’t actually assisting the program as much as it was assisting him. He felt like every step he took to teach a student something or assist them in a project, he himself was benefiting. They reminded him of his childhood and how his own Grandfather would mentor him, guiding him through every project.
Are You Ready to Contribute to Tomorrow?
Don’t wonder about how you will feel when you give back to where you come from. Go out and take the initiative in donating to people, groups, and organizations that made you what you are today. Donate your time, money, or energy to a field that does not get the support it deserves. Contribute to the career that has helped make you who you are today.