Do The Work!


Don’t be afraid of hard  work.  My first job was as a part time grounds keeper at a very small  condominium complex.  There were a dozen homes and lots of paths lined  by trees and plants.  It was my job to show up twice a week and sweep  the leaves and trim any bushes that encroached on the paths.  I was  fired. 

It was hard work that I didn’t want to  do.  What I did do, I did poorly.  In fact, in addition to repeatedly  failing to show up to work, I was fired because I carelessly cut down a  plant that I thought was encroaching a walkway.  Had I cared to pay  attention I might have noticed that the plant was in fact, blooming.   Furthermore, I was informed in my ‘exit interview,’  it was a type of  Yucca plant which grows for nearly 10 years, only blooms once and then  dies.  I had cut it off mid bloom, preventing it from fulfilling its  role in the pollination of future generations of yuccas and killed it.   Getting fired and explaining to my friends and family that I had been  fired were humbling experiences critical to my development. 

My second job required me to ride my  bike a couple of miles to go and clean gas stations.  I would clean the  pumps, water the plants, pick up litter and hose out the bathrooms.  I  could have been bitter, and I was.  I could have hated my job, and I  did.  However, I learned many important things from that job.  First,  neither the world, nor society and not even my family were going to give  me anything I didn’t earn.  Second, there is pride to be had in a job  well done and a day’s pay honestly earned.  Third, don’t look down upon  those cleaning or serving, admire their effort and appreciate that they  are getting their start on the road toward success and do what you can  to help them out. 

Finally, skills and education were the  keys to working smarter and greater rewards.  Those didn’t come easy.   High School, University, Graduate School - eleven years of deferred  gratitude to get to the starting line where good opportunities await  those who run the race.  

My son has a baseball coach, Brian  Bennet, a good man who understands the nature of work.  In the batting  cage he hands my son a heavy wooden bat and with each swing a blister  develops and finally pops leaving blood dripping down his sweaty hand.   It hurts but Brian is telling him to ‘DO THE WORK” and continues to  pitch balls.  Finally, bucket empty, Brian stops, grabs some ice and  wraps my sons hand in his applying the ice and adding comfort.   He  looks my son in the eye, “You know that feeling you get when you hit a  home run, or a double with two RBI’s?”  My son nods.  “Here, right now,  you are doing the work to get that feeling.  HERE is where you get happy, THERE is where you are happy.  You can only get there from here.”