The Hustle Lessons I Learned From My Father

The painful, but useful lessons

Sharonda Harris-Marshall
Human Parts

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Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

This was written in response to the Medium Creators Write Here prompt during an Open Writing hour. This is in response to prompt number two for the week of January 27. Please follow other people’s responses here.

I started working around seven or eight years old. That’s weird to say because I wasn’t working in a sweatshop or in any dismal child labor conditions. I was mainly shadowing my entrepreneurial father in his party organizing business in a sort of apprenticed-style work situation. Cushy by global standards.

But at the time, it sucked. I was a kid attending birthday parties for other kids but not attending the party. We had a Nintendo at home but I was spending my Saturdays at some random kid’s birthday party. I was tasked with blowing up party balloons and curling the ends of the ribbons. I got paid in birthday cake and ice cream. My brother tagged along usually, but as the elder kid, I was the one getting the entrepreneurial lesson. Later, I assisted my father in every side hustle he had: a music label, reseller and collector, educational workshops. I even assisted in his main hustle which was running a mental health provider facility. Even though he and I rarely talk now, when we did talk, it was usually to include me in his next idea. I’ve never asked why…

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Sharonda Harris-Marshall
Human Parts

is a filmmaker, photographer, and digital media artist living a stereotypical artist life. She could have been a doctor or a scientist, but here we are.