Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Work Ethic

When I was a kid, I always knew how hard my parents worked to make ends meet each month. We had budgets for everything that we had to stick to. Budgets for school clothes, food, entertainment, etc. I remember before we had our own VCR, we used to rent this huge hideous blue betamax machine and rent a video now and again as a treat. We had a chore chart at home where we divided up all the household chores between my brother, sister and I. On top of their jobs, my parents were always active in our church and also with a service club they belonged too.

At times, as a typically selfish child I resented those budgets and not having much extra for “treats”. I was embarrassed at times with our older vehicles, hand made clothing, our crates for book shelves, etc. But looking back at it now that I am an adult and have much more perspective and life experience, I am so grateful for those life lessons.

I have held my job for over 16 years now and have made myself pretty indispensible. I have earned performance awards, special act awards, etc. At my church I have never been one to be comfortable sitting back and watching others do the work. I am pushing up my sleeves, lifting things heavier than I probably should, getting sweaty & dirty, but getting things done. I have always tried to never have the attitude that I am better than anyone else, or that any particular job is “beneath” me. Toilets sometimes need to be cleaned, trash to be taken out, weeds to be pulled, floors to be swept & mopped, carpets to be cleaned, etc. Everything we do is an act of service for the Lord and anything that needs to be done is worth doing right. Autograph your work with excellence.

Where did I acquire this spirit or hard work? Definitely my parents! Through years of watching my parents work, stay up till all hours at times to get things done, numerous potlucks and events at church that needed chairs & tables set up, tablecloths folded back up, kitchens cleaned up, committees, counting offering, charity drives, delivering boxes of food to the needy, service projects, etc. Teaching me how a family sticks together during hard times. I have worked with my family doing janitorial service at car dealerships, paper routes, cataloguing pictures for display albums, adding beads to gowns, babysitting kids for bridal parties, catching doves that didn’t end up flying away at wedding receptions, running errands, moving a camera store to a new location, etc. I know I resented having to do some of those things at the time. Today, I know I am a better person today for having done those things.

I got a paper route as a middle schooler to make some money on my own. Other than some bad rains or heavy holiday ad laden Sunday papers, I delivered those papers on my own with my bike. When I was old enough for a regular job I worked at a department store, a bowling alley, a tuxedo rental shop and throughout my pregnancy and my daughters first year, I worked at a medical research laboratory. Before getting the job I have now, I worked for a pet sitter as well. I never took a dime in public assistance, and I managed to pay my parents rent.

In today’s economy, it is hard to make ends meet, but I know the lessons I learned growing up will carry me & my family through. I thank the Lord for giving me a sound mind, a strong back and lots of elbow grease and my parents for teaching me tenacity.

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