Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Take This Job

“Take this job and shove it,” is a country song written by David Allen Coe and made popular by Johnny Paycheck back in the 1970’s. The tune became an anthem for people who were fed up with their jobs. That tune ran through my head this past week after returning to work from vacation.
I spent my time off unwinding. It was a welcome reprieve from the day to day grind.
I was smiling when I walked into my home-sweet-cube this past Monday morning, but my good mood was shredded before I sat my lunchbox down, by a ringing phone that sounded like a screaming chainsaw. When I booted my laptop, I had over 500 unread emails, all of which wanted something – LAST WEEK!
I started to delete all 500 e-mails from my inbox and start the week fresh. My thought process was that if anything was really important, the requestor would resend the message. My boss takes a dim view of unanswered messages so I snapped out of my temporary insanity and got down to business. I spent the rest of the day sorting, filing, and responding to stuff. When I left that evening, I was down below 200 messages but my To-Do list was longer than the Christmas list of a spoiled youngun’. Completing all the tasks will take me well beyond the age of normal retirement.
I miss the days when people either called you on the phone, sent you a letter or simply came for a visit if they needed you for something. You’d usually howdy up, ask after their wife and kids, swill a little coffee and then get down to business. By the end of the visit, you were updated on each other’s lives, and you had a feel for how badly they needed your help. I probably drank more coffee then with all the visiting and what not, but I know for a fact that my blood pressure was lower, and I got a lot more things accomplished.
I’m not a whiney-baby by nature but I do sometimes find myself complaining about my job. When I do, I think back to when I first started doing installation and repair work for Ma Bell. I got a call one morning around lunchtime from our dispatcher saying the phone at a local business was having problems. As I took the call the dispatcher was snickering and I didn’t understand why.
I smelled the stench long before I turned into the gate and when I arrived at the address for the business, I realized it was a hide and tallow plant. It became clear why the dispatcher was amused.
Later, a veteran repairman told me that the H&T plant takes roadkill and all sorts of disgusting dead things and renders the stuff down to byproducts that are used in animal food and women’s makeup. I’m not sure if that’s true but he told it with a straight face.
On my way to the defective phone, I passed by some guys having lunch on the loading dock. They were laughing and cutting up like they were “lunching at CafĂ© on the Green.”
I replaced that telephone in record time, walked out to the truck, I wrapped the phone cord around the trailer hitch and dragged it back to the work center. There was no way I was hauling that stinking phone inside my truck.
Later, I thought to myself “If I was making a list of dream jobs, that one at the H&T plant would NOT be on my list!”
So this past week when I found myself whining about how bad my job was, I thought back to that day at the H&T plant and remembered the image in my rearview mirror of those guys sitting on the loading dock eating potted meat sandwiches for lunch, and I realized that I really have a GREAT job!

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