Work is a 4-letter word

This the last night at the umpteenth job I’ve had over the years. I’m  saying goodbye to yet another job and it has caused me to pause and contemplate what it all mean.

I have been working for most 35 years of my life and in that time, there are only a few that I can say that I really enjoyed. I have been a secretary, cashier, kennel worker, pie server, bookkeeper, cook, baker and a waitress. As funny as it sounds, I think I enjoyed being a waitress the most (Somewhere along the way it became politically correct to call us servers, but I can’t get used to it.)

What I liked most about being a waitress was the fact that it was different every day. I never got bored. I enjoyed the people, too, though some of them could really be jerks. Some people don’t tip, as a personal rule; some take their bad day out on you, and some are just plain mean. And people thought we got regular pay plus tips. When I told them that I made $1.96 an hour at my first waitress job in 1980, they couldn’t believe it. I relied pretty much on my tips to pay my bills. When my tips started getting smaller and smaller, I decided I couldn’t do it and switched careers…as a cashier.

I didn’t like it as much. I had to stand in one place all day and count money. I still got to work with people, but it wasn’t the same. I went back to serving for a while before getting a job with REM Iowa, working with mentally challenged adults. The pay wasn’t much, but I enjoyed helping my clients learn how to live independently. It also helped me learn how to better relate to my son, who is also mentally challenged. But it too became monotonous and I began to look at what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Once I started back to college, the choice was clear; I wanted to be the publisher of my own paper. Where else could I be busy all the time, do something different every day, and work with people? (besides being a waitress, I mean) Sounds perfect to me.

So here I sit, a few minutes left of my shift. I enjoyed my summer job editing web pages, but it too became tedious. Sitting for eight hours looking at the computer screen not only strained my eyes, but my back, as well. I need to keep moving. I think I said it before but I will say it again; work doesn’t have to feel like work if you really enjoy what you’re doing. Work doesn’t have to be a four-letter word.


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