Thursday 9 July 2015

A Good Day

I like to talk to guys that are working. I like to talk to gals that are working. I just like to talk to people who are working.

To me, nothing is more interesting than listening to someone tell me about their job. It need not be a positive thing about their work and in many cases I learn far more when they are complaining. No matter how unhappy someone is, there is a reason that they are staying at that particular shitty job. Sometimes it is the money that keeps them where they are. Sometimes it is the people and location that is what is desirable. Mostly, I suspect they are where they are because they are comfortable with the job. It takes a lot of will power to leave a regular paycheque for something that is an unknown.

It has been my experience (through others) that for the most part you are better leaving a shit job for one that doesn’t cause you to make yourself ill every day. The vast majority of people I talk to like the job they do and for the most part they take some pride in doing it. They can bad mouth their job, but don’t think for a minute they want you to do the same. You just don’t know. Every job has something that is of interest and has something to take pride in.

It saddens me when I talk to people who find no joy or pride in their work. A friend of mine just can’t wait to retire to get away from his menial job. He thinks that to retire is going to fulfill him in a way that work never did or could. I hope that he is right and there will be rainbows every morning when he wakes up and his bank account will top itself up every day. I hope that he finds the joy in retirement that has evaded him during his working life.

I remember that when I was working, I looked forward to people talking to me during the day. Well, not for a long chat, but just a short “How do you do? Beautiful day isn’t it? Take care and tomorrow I’ll bring you a cheque or a present.” The worst people to talk to would be retired mailmen. They knew that I was in a hurry to get done, but they just didn’t care. They would grab your sleeve and hold it tight so that I couldn’t start to drift away while they were in the middle of telling me how the summer of ’59 was so much hotter than this summer. Eventually, they would talk themselves out and let me go. I liked those talks, not at the time of course, I had places to go.

I ran into a city worker today whose job was to water the trees that have been planted in this quadrant of the city in recent days. He pulls his tanker truck up onto the boulevard, takes out a 3 ½ foot pipe that he sticks down into the roots of the tree and pumps in 20 – 30 gallons of water. I asked how many trees he had to do and he told me about 350. Those 350 trees take about three days and then I suppose he starts over again. He told me that the trees that have recently been planted are replacing trees that died. He looked after them as well, but he said they did well for three years and then 90% of them died. He figured someone poisoned them, but that was hard to prove. I said that it could have been Buster; he likes to pee on the trees every chance he gets. The guy laughed and Buster and I went searching for new trees to “water”.

That one 10 minute conversation made my day, giving me some insight into his work life and a glimpse of the pride he takes in the job and some information about why the city just spent thousands of my tax dollars on new trees. All in all, it has been a good day. 

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