Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Work



Here are a couple of guys, on Mother's Day, in the afternoon cutting apart a thirty something year old diesel locomotive.

I stopped the truck to take pictures of the machine. That they were there that day cutting the old machine apart was the proverbial pearl in the oyster.

And yet, as much as I focused on them, they paid me less than heed. These guys had a job to do, on a Sunday, and they weren't going to stop and break for some idiot with a camera.

So here is work. Pure and simple. Doing something that somebody, aside from you, feels has value and compensates you commensurately. It's simple, cut apart a machine for scrap and yet it isn't. These guys are being paid by the hour or the job. If the former, they probably get a bonus for finishing quickly. If the latter, then the less time they spend cutting, the more they make. They feel the same stress to perform as you or I feel "ensuring the customer's experience" or "managing the overall relationship." We all go home feeling we've either made a difference or need to try harder to hit that target.

I like work.

It's what defines us. Not wholly, for we are sons and daughters and mothers and fathers well before we are welders, cooks, engineers and managers.

But it does define us, and that's not a bad thing. Work gives us purpose, direction, discipline and reward. Its not easy, it sometimes sucks and its often heart-breaking.

But I suspect, that given the choice between the balance of time in a chaise lounge and an alternative, most of us would pick the hammer, blowtorch, second shift, keyboard, camera, shovel, tractor and soldier on. It defines the character.

Bunny on.

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