I thank you for the music, And your stories of the road
I thank you for the freedom, When it came my time to go
I thank you for the kindness, And the times when you got tough
And, papa, I don’t think I Said I love you’ near enough
The Rest of The Watch Legacy
As I have often said, I have been very blessed throughout my personal and professional life to have the opportunity to meet, work with, learn from, and mentor some incredible people. But no one was more influential in my early life than my family and parents—especially my father.
My father was born in Italy and moved to the United Sates at the age of 14. My dad stayed in high school only through his freshman year before leaving school and getting a full-time job as a tool and die maker in New York City.
Although we were proud to be Italian, my father was very happy to be in the States, and very proud to be Italian American. I grew up in the same two-family house my entire life until I moved out when I got married. My family lived upstairs, and my aunt, uncle, cousin, and grandmother lived downstairs.
We had a very family-oriented life and almost every weekend had relatives over the house. My father instilled in all his children the values of hard work, integrity and respect. My parents and aunt and uncle never spoke about money or how tight things were, only that you have one family and make sure you take care of each other because nothing comes before or between you and your family.
I always believed that we were very fortunate to be raised in an environment where you were taught respect. You could disagree, but you were not allowed to be disagreeable or disrespectful. And we were taught that money did not motivate you, achievement did. The measure of your success was based on your success relative to your expectations. You achieved your success the old-fashioned way: you earned it through hard work.
I was blessed to land my first job with UPS – a company that provided a lifetime of career opportunities through its “promotion from within” culture. We have policies and codes that define the character of our people. It was an honor to work for a company known for its people and meticulous business processes that still today shape the culture and character of their global workforce. It also helped to shape my character and reinforce the values that I learned in my house growing up.
As one of our founders, James E. Casey said, “Determined people working together can accomplish anything.” Families working together can overcome anything if they support each other and stick together. You still see this character embodied in the actions of UPSers worldwide.
My Dad also supported the promotion from within policy without ever really knowing it. It goes back to the conversation I had with him prior to starting my first job as a part time unloader in the Edison, NJ facility. As we sat around the kitchen table and I was describing the job, my Dad gave me the advice that has guided me throughout my UPS career. My dad looked at me and calmly in his own way said, “Rocky, in everything you do, be the best you can be. You owe it to your family. Learn everything you can about your job, and then learn some more. Whatever they ask you to do say, ‘yes and thank you for the opportunity.’”
So, every time I was asked to move, I always thought back to my Dad’s advice and I said yes. My father believed you lived your values. Growing up, my father would emphasize, ”It is what you do when no one is watching that counts.”
The years of service watch and the story of the watch has great meaning in our family. The story starts with my father’s retirement. After 48 years of working in the same shop in Manhattan, my father retired without a card, plaque or fanfare. He was fine with all of that as he was a quiet, unassuming man and grateful for a career that allowed him to provide for his family.
I always felt bad for him. I thought he deserved so much more recognition. When I received my 25 years watch I was so proud, but I thought I would never have accomplished this without the guidance and example set by my father. To me, there was no better way to honor him and thank him for instilling in me and our family the values and ethics that were so important to our successes than to present him with my watch.
At Thanksgiving dinner, I presented my Dad my 25-year watch as my way of saying thank you to him for all he had done for me and as my recognition of his successful career.
He wore the watch every day and shortly after receiving the watch began a battle with cancer. Through all the chemo and radiation, he never took the watch off. When I received my 30-year watch, with the new UPS logo, I presented that watch to him celebrating the fact he had battled cancer for those 5 years.
The original watch, we gave to my son Rocky for his High School graduation to symbolize passing the values from generation to generation . My father was alive for that and so proud to have him wear it in his honor.
My lessons on respect, leadership and integrity from my Dad went deep and wide. In a small but powerful way, the watch was a reminder to live your values.
Dad passed away more than twelve years ago after his struggle with cancer. Through a difficult time, my Dad never lost his dignity and respect for others. His gentle smile and comforting eyes were his signature style to the end.
After his passing, we presented my son Andrew the 30 year watch I had given my father and like Rocky, he wears it with great pride. They are both a living legacy to the leader of the band.
A little piece of their grandfather is always with them, guiding them to do the right things when no one is watching!
At UPS and the Romanella family we have a legacy, to leave the place a little better than we found it.
We have the responsibility to ourselves and to others to use our best judgment, weigh our options carefully and make the right decisions—even if they’re not the most favorable or popular, even when no one is watching!
When you do that you honor yourself and your values. Wherever your path takes you, know that your trustworthiness is your highest honor. For if you are a trusted leader, others will believe in your vision, mission and values, and trust in you enough to follow you. That will be your legacy.
Leadership is something we all have concerns about. Leadership is a concept that is not reserved for, and only applies to, certain people in business, government, and civic organizations. The reality is no matter our age, gender, occupation, educational level or position in life, each of us touches and influences other lives. Through this extension we are all leaders to someone at some time. It can be a person under our supervision or care, a spouse we honor and live with, or a child we nurture, a student we teach or a player we coach. It could be as simple as a fellow member of our church or religious affiliation, club, league or association, but it is usually identified by the fact we have made a positive difference through our actions and examples, we have left our legacy mark.
Integrity can never be taken from you; it can only be given away. Don’t ever give it away.
Live your Word Leave a Legacy Wear Your Watch