How Childhood Experiences Shape Work Ethic - Jullien Gordon

In Chapter 2 of 21 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, business coach Jullien Gordon answers "Where Did You Learn Your Work Ethic?"  Gordon learns his work ethic from both his parents, two practicing physicians.  He takes inspiration from a Jamaican immigrant father - one of seventeen kids - who comes from little, studies hard, and earns professional success.  Gordon takes his first job working as a Little League umpire and goes on to work at a batting cage before going off to college.  Jullien Gordon is a high performance coach and consultant to organizations, individuals and teams who want to increase employee performance, motivation, engagement and retention.  He earned a BA from UCLA, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a Masters of Education from Stanford University.


Erik Michielsen: Where did you learn your work ethic?

Jullien Gordon: My work ethic came from my parents. I mean they were grinding, they’re both doctors. And to be a doctor, you go through medical school and you work harder than anybody else I know. It doesn’t necessarily afford you the best lifestyle, maybe an income later on once you retire, but that’s where I really learned my work ethic. My dad is from Jamaica, he was one of 16 or 17. And I saw him work his way out of that particular environment of having no shoes playing soccer, to going to boarding school, to going to McGill to University of Chicago, to the University of California San Francisco where he ended up running the dental school there. And my mom as well. So I just saw two people working extremely hard, not necessarily getting the full rewards for themselves of working so hard but I definitely get my work ethic from looking at their lives and the way that they navigate it.

Erik Michielsen: What was your first job?

Jullien Gordon: Working as an umpire in the Little League, and I loved it. My little brother was playing in the Little League at the time and sometimes I would have to umpire his games, but I was fair, I was fair. And I remember one time he got so mad ‘cause I called him out at second base when he thought he was safe, and he was mad at me for like a week. After that, I went on to work at a batting cage. You know, too many rain delays for the baseball games, so I said I’m gonna take this indoors, and I ended up working at a batting cage before going off to college.