…I Want to Bang on the Drum All Day

Posted: May 24, 2011 in Life, Work
Tags: , , ,

Money. Moolah. Dinero. There’s a million different ways to say it–but only one real way to make it–unless you’re a trust fund baby or were the 1 in 386,422,004 that won the lottery. WORK. You have to work–and according to a CBS News report, almost 60% of Americans dislike their jobs. So here’s my question. What happened between the ages of six and now? At six I remember working my ass off with a smile on my face for $5 a week. I get paid a little more than that now–but I’m usually sitting in a corner cubicle unsmiling unless someone has just effectively used, “that’s what she said.” So what gives? I’m going to talk about a few jobs I’ve had–let’s see if we can figure out where it all went awry.

Job #1: Bean Walker/Rider
If you’re not from a rural area, you may not have a clue what I’m talking about. Armed with a jug of purple pesticide, it was your job to spray weeds in the bean field, especially rogue corn. You’d think corn and beans would get along better together…but no. Sometimes you rode on a bean buggy, sometimes you walked–but it was always hot, it was always sticky, and I think it’s probably where my irrational fear of grasshoppers developed. I was 13, but I never remember complaining–all I really remember is eating weiners and ‘roni, and watching The Young and the Restless when we came in for lunch.

Job #2: Motel Housekeeper
Note the MOTEL in the job title. Did I mention it was a motel basically attached to a truck stop? I was 16, cleaning truckers’ and construction crews’ rooms. On the days it rained and they couldn’t work, two of us had to go in to clean and leave the door open to avoid anything bad happening. I once reached my hand into a garbage can to pull out something that was stuck to the bottom, only to find that when my hand emerged I had extracted a used condom. Still, the only time I complained was on Sundays when I was hungover–my gripes were never job related.

Job #3: Grocery Store Checker/Stocker
Plain and simple…I loved this job. I got asked out on my first date in the store. I got to listen to coworkers sing songs about beef jerky on truck nights. And one time I threw plastic from a pallet over an aisle with the intention of hitting my future first date–but instead ended up hitting an old lady who just seem confused. No complaints here–just hundreds of box knives I accidentally took home with me.

Job #4: Server
If you’ve never done it, you should. I was 21 and I needed beer money. And I got it. From the firemen who had a bet going as to what color underwear I had on. From the little old couple who took full advantage of our ‘Early Bird Specials’ and ate at 4:30pm. Even from the lady I spilled on. I didn’t get it from the middle aged couple who had a $60 bill though–they left one of those wallet-sized thank you cards with birds and a bible verse on it. Nice sentiment–so I couldn’t really complain.

Job #5 and #6: Athletic Marketing Assistant
I did this at two different universities and both were AWESOME. I knew players, coaches, media–once my marketing plan was done for a particular sport, my giveaways were ordered, and my gameday scripts were written–I basically got paid to watch sports. Yep. Go ahead. Read that last sentence again. I basically got paid to watch sports. So why’d I leave? You guessed it. Money. Ugh.

Job #7: Customer Support Team Leader
So now here I am, 28 years old, in a job unlike any of the previous six–and I don’t really mean that good or bad. It simply is what it is. I sit in a gray cubicle surrounded by tan walls. You know what though? The people here are among the best I’ve ever worked with. They’re what make this job, and I suppose to a point that’s true of any of my jobs.

So why do so many of us hate working? Is it because we’re lazy? Maybe. Is it because we see so little of the money we actually make? Maybe. I personally think it’s because very few of us are actually doing what we want to do. When we’re younger we have all these ideas of what we want to be when we grow up. I was content spraying weeds and digging used condoms out of garbage cans because I knew it wasn’t going to be my job forever. As we grow up though, our circumstances start to change and now maybe we can’t be what we wanted when we were 10, or 12, or 16.

Maybe you don’t have the right degree, or maybe you can’t afford to take a pay cut. Whatever your circumstances may be, if they’re holding you back from something you want to do–do two things. One, BELIEVE you can change them. And two, do it. John Dewey once said, “To find out what one is fit to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” In other words, if you do what you love you’ll be a whole lot happier, and work won’t seem like work. If cleaning toilets makes you happy–so be it. Maybe you feel your calling is to be a teacher–go for it.

And if you’re reading this thinking, “Wellll…it’s not that easy,”…you’re right. For those of you thinking that–it isn’t. Because you’re not willing to believe you can change whatever is holding you back. Know this though–bitching and complaining aren’t going to entice someone to approach you and say, “Hey. Here’s a hundred grand. Come work for me doing your dream job.” Granted, the likelihood of that happening is slim anyway–but I’m trying to prove a point here–which is this:

Believe you can change things. No one’s going to do it for you–especially if you’re not willing to do it yourself. If you can do that–you’re halfway there. And if you need any help along the way cleaning up after truckers–you just let me know.

  1. wmarsau says:

    You have had many interesting jobs! lol.

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