Exploring VA Wines – July 2015

When I graduated college in 1986, Syracuse University’s Operations Management program did not offer a structured career path leading me to wine production and eventually to entrepreneurism. With the loving support of my partner (and eventually, wife) I took big risks and blazed my own trail. College gave me the knowledge with which to work, and more importantly, established a building base to continue learning throughout my career. I learned the pride of physical accomplishment, teamwork and patience. I also learned important lessons in how the industry worked that I continue to utilize years later in my own business. All of this process took time and hard work. There were many days where I wished I could have moved up faster, made more money, got higher recognition or actually use my degree in my career.

The reality is that my degree was helping me every day; I just could not see it at the time. Earning my degree helped my brain think in a certain way, gaining additional knowledge that was not always taught by a teacher or a lesson plan. Putting the time in as I did gave me the understanding, experience and viewpoint that has made everything else since then a success. I am not writing this to brag, but to help identify and manage the expectations of the young folks out there looking to find their trail.

I believe that much of our society gives our young people expectations that work can have shortcuts to success. I spent many hours playing Mario Brothers on the original Nintendo system trying to accomplish certain levels, but one day I was taught the shortcuts and my learning process changed a bit. I see many kids these days who are always looking for the shortcuts. The reality is that when 30 tons of grapes need to be shoveled from a fermenter, there is no shortcut. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the work.

There is no education that can replace experience, but having the education helps open doors for opportunities to gain and enrich the experience. Our county’s (and most others) biggest expense and investment is in education. However, there is a disconnect of expectations between the employers and the young folks looking for work. I frequently hear from employers that our young people do not have the work ethic or commitment of the previous generations, and I hear from young folks that they are not given the opportunity to work because they do not have the experience. Somehow developing the work ethic in the young folks while embracing the idea that education goes hand in hand with work would benefit all involved. Teachers are not bosses but maybe they should be to a certain degree. Many bosses do not teach but that may be an important factor. Having the education system embrace the connection with the business community is critical to the success of our future workforce and the health of the businesses.

Identify a problem, and then work to build solutions. We need to recognize that looking for shortcuts is not the way to work through society. Recognize the value of experience and encourage the younger folks to put their time in. Teach the best way to do things and do not accept mediocrity. Value the journeymen that do the jobs every day. Honor the master that has put in the time of learning, growing and working without always grasping for the shortcuts. Life is what we do every day and we should  take pride in each job. Experience takes time and it has tremendous value.

Written by: Doug Fabiolli

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