Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Guy In The Glass

For most people who were not fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth, working is a necessity.

Most days we smack the alarm clock, stretch, groan and mumble while we climb out of our cozy beds and dive into the shower to wake up.

Eventually we must look into the mirror. The question to you is, do you like what you see?

As I have progressed throughout my life I have encountered many types of people at work. Luckily, many of these folks like their jobs. They may make a comment or complaint about this or that thing that bothers them, but for the most part they are making do with the position they hold, and trying to do their best.

Then there are the folks who hate their jobs. Can’t stand working there in any shape or fashion. Many of these people, if you dig deeper, hate many aspects about their life.

I find it really amusing when I find such employees at jobs that have the single function of customer service. Ever go to someplace like a DMV and get some pissed off clerk who thinks you should know all of their forms and how to properly fill them out? Or perhaps they go off on you for not having this piece of paper or that?

These are the same people who will walk up to another customer service person in a store and bitch and complain about anything and everything in the store. They seem to just go through life upset at the world.

Is it their job that makes them this way, or is it something far more reaching?

Generally, I can guess, they aren’t happy at home either. Nor would these people be happy on vacation, or at an amusement park. When everyone else is smiling and laughing, these are the people who are complaining that their feet hurt, it’s too late, it’s too early, it’s raining, it’s too hot, or any number of things that affect them.

I’m willing to bet that these are the majority of the folks that have the most medical problems. Heart attacks, stress, headaches, and any other number of assorted symptoms come to mind. I can’t imagine being so wigged-out about everything 24/7 can be anything but damaging to their health.

It’s hard to really grasp at what makes these people tick.

All my life I have approached whatever situation I have been in with an upbeat attitude. Sure I get mad, yell and stress out over certain things, but in the end it’s a reaction that is more like watching a wave hit the beach. The wave will hit the beach hard, raise up a little, but then subside rather quickly as it calmly glides back down the sand and to it’s starting point.

I don’t hold my anger inside, and make everyone around me miserable because life is against me. There are a few sayings that I like, and although they can be corny, they hit the nail on the head.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff… It’s all small stuff.”

“Whatever will be, will be.”

“If I worry, will the future change?”

When I was in the Air Force, my first assignment was being sent to Suwon Korea. Instead of complaining about being sent there, I got out and saw the country, met the people, and had a good time. In the Air Force I would often encounter mostly younger folks who complained about being at one assignment or another. The advice from the older members was always the same. “Your assignment is what you make of it”.

Our jobs are that way as well. Instead of going into work day-after-day complaining about things, go there to have fun! Do the job the best you can. When I work, whether it’s a job I enjoy or not, I still go to work and try to do the best job I can do.

I spent over 20 years in the Air Force, and had many jobs in that time. Many of them were a lot of work, but I had a good time doing all of them.

Some would tell me that I have been lucky to be able to do work that I enjoyed. This is true, but I enjoyed the work not because it’s something I always wanted to do, or because it was my dream job. I enjoyed each job I have had because I made it that way!

Throughout my life I have had physically demanding jobs, boring desk jobs, worked outside in 40 – 60 below zero temperatures, and temperatures reaching over 100. I have been a teacher, police officer, store clerk several times, a supervisor, worked in a factory, technical writer, tracked equipment and supplies, drove a truck, and probably a dozen more things I can’t even remember.

You know what? I had fun doing each and every one of these things.

Sure, now I work with computer systems and enjoy that as well, but it’s not because the job is easy, or not stressful, or even fun. It’s because it is a challenge, and I make it fun for me to do.

I go to work every day looking forward to the unknown of what is going to break today, what problem I will have to deal with, and then get excited when the task is complete. I enjoy helping people learn new things, or providing them with better tools so they can do their jobs better.

There are some who work with computers who complain when a user calls them with a question, who refuse to learn new things about the equipment they work with, and could care less if their network is the best that it could be.

Luckily, these are not the folks who survive very long in my current career field. Lazy, annoying people who don’t like their jobs don’t last long in the computer networking career field. Thank goodness. The stress alone would kill them!

Let’s get back to the point of this rant. Make your job fun! Work not for that terrible boss, or even for that terrible company, work for yourself!

This same philosophy can be applied to many things, such as education, weight loss and exercising to stay healthy. Don’t do it because your spouse, or society tells you to, do it because YOU want to.

Look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Are you too grumpy, too fat, too ugly (okay, that’s a tough one). You can change anything about yourself you don’t like, but it has to be because you want to.

I looked in the mirror recently and didn’t like my weight, so I have ordered the Nutrisystems meals and am starting on the road to recovery. Wish me luck!

I’ll end this article with a poem I got when I was taking Karate years ago. It is a good message for not only the man in the mirror, but the woman as well.

The Guy in the Glassby Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934

When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.

For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.

He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.

You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.

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