Work, work, work. On this Labor Day, that 's what I will be thinking about. Not the intrinsic irony of taking a day off and calling it Labor Day, but the obvious need for a standing eight count in the midst of a life spent working.
Most of us do, you know.
We get up and go somewhere, whether it's down the hall or across town, and find the things that make it possible for us to do our daily routine. The routine for which we hopefully will receive some sort of meaningful remuneration. Money is great. Let's get that clear up front. That is the reason most of us continue to show up. Over and over. Until someone tells us to stop. Or you come by that decision somewhere in yourself.
There have been times, for moments at a time, when I have imagined that potential freeing thought: Drop out. Find your way without having to punch the clock. Don't be a slave to the machine. Divest yourself of your unnecessary and burdensome possessions and take it on the lam.
But then what would you do for work?
This is where that dream falls apart for me, because I have so desperately clung to the Protestant Work Ethic. When I read about Powerball winners who suddenly find themselves obnoxiously wealthy and decide to go back to their job the next day, I understand. It's part of life's rhythm for me. And a few million others.
From the time when I started mowing lawns to raise money to buy a water bed to the job I had reboxing educational filmstrips for gas money, I have been part of the workforce since the 1970's. I haven't won the lottery, so it's off to work with the understanding that it really isn't that big check that I'm working for. It is the chance to make a difference. Getting those blades of grass back to something that appears even. Putting those filmstrip canisters into fresh new boxes so they can find themselves back in the mail to another school, another classroom. Showing up before the sun at a school to prepare for the day as a teacher of students who have no idea what a filmstrip is. I know this is better work than unloading trucks. I know this is better than working fast food. I know this is good work.
And I'm heading back there tomorrow.