As Cesar E. Chavez day approaches (Mar. 31st for those who don’t know) it is appropriate to not just recognize the farm labor activist, civil rights leader and justice crusader but also to learn lessons from his long and impactful life. You might think there’s no obvious connection between the Mexican American icon’s work and your own professional pursuits but sit back and learn compadre…there’s more to take away than you may think. Almost 13 years after his death, Cesar E. Chavez continues to teach lessons that can be applied to any ‘LLERO’s daily life.
6- Never stop learning
Whether you get a formal education, take a class, attend a workshop or simply read books, your capacity for learning is never over. Chavez himself only attended school until the 8th grade, the year he left school to work full time as a migrant farm worker. This didn’t cut short his education. He continued to constantly read, talk to people and learn from the world around him. His UFW office was said to be lined wall-to-wall with books. No matter how or where, a willingness to learn — a new skill, a program or even a new language — can mean the difference between staying static in your profession or growing in it and beyond.
5- Avoid the trap/Be willing to sacrifice
For 10 years Chavez worked as an organizer with a Latino civil rights group, The Community Service Organization, running voter registration drives and fighting racial discrimination. When the group would not take up farm worker rights as a cause, he left. Chavez abandoned his first steady job and check to co-found the National Farmers Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers of America) in 1962. “The trap most people get themselves into – [by] tying themselves to a job for security,” Chavez once said. Whether you want to start a business or switch careers, a willingness to sacrifice is essential to the equation.