Blessed are the Laborers
One of my summer projects involves research at one of the research libraries in town.
The other day, I told Bud I was going to make a quick stop at the research library. Two hours later, when I realized how much time had passed, I hurriedly got up to leave. Joe the librarian asked me if I had found what I was looking for.
“There’s always so much more,” I said.
True about research.
True about life.
Nothing about research feels like work to me. But this research IS work-related.
Helen calls me about once a week to tell me that she loves her job. She’s a nurse and works as a care coordinator. Mind you — I don’t think she ever called to tell me that she loved her job when she worked as a floor nurse in a hospital. But she’s found her niche and it’s very fulfilling.
My father loved his work. He used to leave the house about 7 AM and get home after 6 PM. And then be on call. Or get calls when he wasn’t on call. And make house-calls. Or calls at the nursing home. Plus reserve duty one weekend each month.
He worked hard.
Honestly, I don’t remember ever hearing him complain about it.
I do, however, remember how special it was if he took time off from his workday to see me win an award at school — that one time I won an award. In fourth grade. For spelling.
But I knew my father loved his work AND his family. I never questioned it. His job was meaningful to him and impacted others.
I married a man who loved to work. Until last October Bud worked as a dosimetrist, creating treatment plans for people who needed radiation therapy. Often he would stay late or go back to the hospital after dinner to finish up plans for patients who needed to start treatment soon. When he left that job to help me take care of my father, he tackled all the outside work around my parents’ house, much of it having been neglected for years. The property has never looked so good.
He takes great pride in the work he has done here. People notice it often and compliment him.
Blessed are those who have found work that is fulfilling.
If you have a job you hate, I can relate. My three worst jobs:
1.) In college I signed on with a temporary agency and once worked for a week at a local factory. I stood at the end of a conveyor belt, caught syringes, and packed them in a box. My heart went out to the people on either side of me who caught syringes as a full-time job. The factory was loud. The work was thankless.
2.) I sold Tupperware for a time. Actually, I gave away Tupperware for a time. I felt so guilty at the exorbitant prices I couldn’t do it. I’m pretty sure I lost money on this venture, but ended up with a whole bunch of Tupperware.
3.) I took a secretarial job at a lumberyard in Cheyenne. The work may not have been bad, but the workplace was awful. At lunch on my second day, I drove to the hospital where Bud worked.
“I don’t want to go back,” I said, bursting into tears.
“Then don’t, ” he replied.
So I didn’t.
It turns out that 12 hours of crass and suggestive language in the office was my limit.
Blessed are those who work at unfulfilling jobs.
Your story isn’t over yet.
Do your work heartily.*
Keep your eyes and ears open for other opportunities.
Let that hope keep you going.