Saturday, June 09, 2007

What I learned from Work

Here's a topic we all have in common - we all work. My first work was at age 16 - not counting my paper route :) . Robert Hruzek at Middle Zone Musings asks "what have you learned from WORK"? for this months writing project. It caused my memory cache to overload. Its more like "What haven't you learned from work"? considering that we spend nearly 1/3 of our days toiling away. Of course, there are some who work even longer - to the point of attending support groups. If you are one of these people - get professional help...seriously!

This I firmly profess - work is not intended to be consumed 24/7. Life is intended to be consumed. In the process, we constantly seek the good life. On this life journey we aim for happiness. Work is a means and not an end. But you already know all of that.

Here are a few lessons learned at work, about work and from work. The term work is used very loosely in my vocabulary. Above all, work has taught me to approach it with humor and a smile! No secrets here -

1 - The Newspaper Carrier learns - Some customers will pay you for the work you do and some customers won't. Try to avoid the customer that doesn't pay. Or who tries to beat you out of time and talent. There is value associated with work.

2 - The Dairy Queen cone maker/helper/trainee learns - Output must exceed input - or at least equal it. I think this is a pretty basic law of work physics - but I could be wrong. When the boss says, "You get all-you-can eat along with your $.60 per hour", he doesn't really mean "all". Either that or he forgot what it was to have the appetite of a 16 year old. My fast food experience was brief. My food intake exceeded my work output by 10 to 1 easily. In order for the boss to turn a profit - I had to be "downsized" aka dismissed. Most bosses expect to make a profit on their investment.

3 - The Car Wash attendant learns - Roll the windows up before entering the portal. If not, you will pay for a new interior in the automobile. Details matter.

4 - The Plumbers Helper learns - S*** don't run uphill and pay day is Friday. The simpler the message, the better.

5 - The CamBus driver learns - No matter how often you say - "please exit the rear of the bus" - someone will go against the flow, try to get out the front and then sneer at people entering the bus. Its OK to make your own path. Learn to do it with respect for other's paths!

6 - The Bartender learns - Remember lesson one and replace "customer" with "boss". Work for someone with ethics.

7 - The Janitor learns - You might never get rich but you will have steady work. Someone is always willing to pay for picking up trash or cleaning a toilette. Work is valued by the amount of money you make - this is a misplacement of value.

8 - The Window washer learns - Always wear a safety line when working above two stories. Always, always, always. Falling will result in bad consequences. This is a rule. Do not argue. Rules are made to be broken. However, not all of them. Follow the critical rules without sniveling.

9 - The Newspaper guy learns - Its not about the work, its about the people. Life is good!

That was fun accept for the part where Blogger crashed, I lost everything I'd written yesterday and I had to re-imagine what I'd said. You'll never know whether it was better or worse - nor will I. Ahhhhhh, technology - love it or hate it, its an ongoing experiment. Another lesson, I should have listened to Robert more closely when he said "sharpen your pencils". I know pencils work all the time.


Anonymous said...

except in the rain. Pencils don't do very well in the rain. :>

Just wanted to stop by and say "Thank you for stopping by."

I was suprised to see you linked to a Spokkesman-Review article. I was so angry when they became a "pay-per-view" style website. It was losing a link from home that I wasn't willing to pay for.

Other papers find ways to survive without doing it that way. Grr.


Hattie said...

Sometimes a simple tally sheet works better than an Excel spread sheet.
As I found out when running a vote count yesterday.
I also think that certain tasks would be simpler if we just followed certain standardized rules instead of trying to impress each other with fancy stuff.
As I think every time I read some blog that's so full of bells and whistles I can hardly read it but which does not have anything out of ordinary,content wise.

Lewis Green said...

I had my first job, two jobs actually, at age 10: babysitting and working with the town maintenance crews cleaning up and stuff. I learned, it's best to work for yourself or in a job outdoors.

BobG said...

Thanks proxima...your right about pencils. Just to let you know - most of the S-R site is no charge. Its the local information offered as premium. Newspapers gotta make $$$ somehow to survive :) I know your in Seattle (love your blog style and writing) but just to let you know customers who take the print product - even the Sunday only...which is dirt cheap (less than 3 lattes per month) - get total access to the site. This is becoming a pretty common model for newspapers of our size. Stop by One Reader again - there are a few who check in for an ongoing discussion of newspapers - both current and in the future.

Good tip, Hattie - finding the proper flow to this blogging is ongoing. I've tried all sorts of stuff and never had a problem with Blogger aka Google. Looks like I'm back to making a notepad backup for any post I spend significant time on.

LG - I loved working outside as a window washer! The ladder steps seemed to get a little further apart as I aged. A friend used to have a sign on his desk, "No bosses is better than more money" - he preferred working for himself, too. And was enormously successful. I've found having work that allows time to pursue "real" interest more my style.

Bob said...

Bob, thanks for participating in the project this month. These were some great lessons!

BobG said...

My pleasure Bob - great idea to write about work!