Students' classroom supplies are the "tools" for their current job. If they are unprepared, I remind them that, in the working world, they would not be able to do their jobs if they forgot their tools. "Pay day" is when I hand out progress reports or report cards. Their effort is directly reflected in the grades they earned. We also discuss how far they might go in the world of work with the pay they've earned.
Discussions of the workplace are supported by a yearlong effort to teach students strategies for success -- test taking, note taking, listening skills, personal goal setting -- in all their classes. By the end of the year, most students are taking responsibility for their performance, which reflects growth and maturity. In junior high, taking responsibility is sometimes a monumental achievement!