Over the course of 25 years working in the media—most of that in the legal and professional services space—I’ve acquired a fair amount of specialized knowledge. But although it has never been listed on my resume, the most valuable skills I use were learned on a different sort of job, working in a hardware store in Minneapolis in the 1980s.

My parents bought the shop when I was about five years old, and by the time I was seven or eight, I was earning 50 cents an hour dusting the shelves. By the time I was in junior high I worked behind the counter after school, making minimum wage and learning lessons that would serve me in ways I could never have anticipated.

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