Labor Day, it’s not so much what you do as how you do it

IMG_2764 There’s an old Jimmy Buffet song (yes I’m dating myself again) entitled “It’s My Job”, that I really like and one which helps me to keep things in balance.

One of the lines goes something like, “It’s my job to cleaning up this mess and that’s enough reason to go for me. It’s my job to be better than the rest and that makes the day for me”. Jimmy was quoting a janitor in those lyrics.

Too much in life people focus too much on what people do and how much they make versus what the person adds to society and how dedicated they are and how well they do what they do.

We fawn all over celebrities, doctors, lawyers (well maybe not lawyers, just kidding there are good ones) and people who have high paying jobs or are the leaders of industry. Often the janitors, teachers, fry cooks and people who don’t have traditional jobs like artist and authors are often considered in a much less desirable light.

Last evening I tried to think of all of the various jobs I’ve had over the years and realized it is a quite extensive one. At the risk of boring you I will try and list them all (If you get bored just skip over them to where I get to the point).

The jobs I’ve had are paper boy, caddy, tree surgeon, dock builder, fry cook, waiter, professional pall bearer, air force crew chief on a spy plane, shoe salesman, bartender, retail manager, insurance and bonding agent, retail installer, consultant, public speaker (paid and unpaid), surf shop employee, surf instructor, ski and snowboard instructor, artist, writer, lawn servicer, volunteer and leader of a local environmental group and home improvement contractor.

I’m sure I missed a few but I’m sure you get the point that I’ve done a lot of stuff. I have made some really good money doing some of those jobs and very little performing others. The truth is though I’ve gotten a lot more enjoyment and reward from some of the jobs that paid the least and were considered by many to be less worthwhile.

While I enjoyed my time in the Insurance industry and made good money in it, I have gotten a deeper sense of satisfaction from instructing, writing, artistry and volunteering which paid little to squat.

I have even received derision from some at times for not having a “real job” or making the most out of my potential while doing some of the things that I felt were most beneficial for me and society. I’m sure there are many others who have heard the same things.

I have known janitors who are extremely satisfied and happy with what they do and highly successful people who are miserable despite their “success”.

As the son lyric tries to point out, if someone tries to be the best at whatever they do and attempts to make a positive difference in the world then it should be enough for them and society.

I, like many others, sometimes struggle with my place in the world and whether or not I fulfilled my potential (This is one of the key themes in my novel “The Nonconformist”). The thing that usually gets me back on track is the realization that, despite my shortcomings, I’ve always tried to do my best and make a difference. Bottom line, I believe that’s all we can do.

I hope you enjoy your Labor Day and keep doing the best you can do and don’t ever let someone else judge you for what you do or don’t do or what they expect you to do.

Thanks for checking in and see you next week.

Aloha, Paul

About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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