It is supposed to also be a celebration of the working man and woman, the backbone of the American economy, the "salt-of-the-earth nieces and nephews of Uncle Sam. With apologies to those in other countries, this is a Friday Five about LABOR. All can play. Put down that hammer, that spoon, that rolling pin, that rake, that pen, that commentary, that lexicon, and let's have some fun.
1. Tell us about the worst job you ever had.
Every job I've ever worked at has had both its good and bad aspects. When I was in college, I worked on a survey crew for the railroad. Sometimes our assignments would include inventory activities, and as I walked along the tracks counting railroad ties for miles on end, I remember thinking about how I thought as a child that it would be a really boring job to have to count railroad ties. And it was.
Another place I worked as an environmental engineer enforcing regulations on various industries. It was one of the most polluted places I've ever been. The air stunk, and the groundwater was purported to have a foot of benzene floating on the top. Beyond that, the work environment was also very poisonous, with egos that had to be protected and vicious back-biting. In the two years I worked there, I encountered at least 8 people who have since died of cancer or had other mysterious illnesses. I still credit my former boss with having saved my life by recruiting me away from that hell-hole.
2. Tell us about the best job you ever had.
Gotta be the one I have now! It took me 25 years to finally respond formally to my call, and now that I'm into the third year with my churches, I still have the feeling of "I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!" To get paid to love people and to be loved by them in return while serving God is the most incredible opportunity I can imagine! I get to read at work and visit people in the hospital and set up gatherings of others. I'm having a great time!
3. Tell us what you would do if you could do absolutely anything (employment related) with no financial or other restrictions.
I'm doing it now! (See #2 above). Like I said, it took me a long time to get here. I used to say that when I won the lottery, I would quit my job and go to seminary. The problem was, I didn't buy lottery tickets. I finally decided that I needed to take the Nike approach and "just do it." I used to make a lot more money than I do now, and had many job-related perks, but I'm so glad I followed this path.
4. Did you get a break from labor this summer? If so, what was it and if not, what are you gonna do about it?
As my first summer out of seminary and the first in full-time ministry, I was looking forward to getting some plans laid out, and my house cleaned, and maybe some start on some other household projects that have been on hold a long time. It was labor that I was actually looking forward to - somewhat.
None of it happened that way. I did get the opportunity to take a road trip with my daughter, and that was great fun, but the work didn't happen. I keep thinking that now that the kids are back in school I can get some things done. We'll see.
5. What will change regarding your work as summer morphs into fall? Are you anticipating or dreading?
Anticipating. I have a couple of new programs starting up at the churches, and I feel much more organized than I have been, so my hope it that I won't have quite as many things slipping through the cracks due to overload.
Bonus question: For the gals who are mothers, do you have an interesting story about labor and delivery? If you are a guy pal, not a mom, or you choose not to answer the above, is there a song, a book, a play, that says "workplace" to you?
A terribly appropriate question today since it is my dear daughter's 17th birthday. It was a rough 34-hour labor, and then she ended up spending 10 days in neonatal intensive care. Not something I want to relive, but stories aplenty. We ended up bringing her home from the hospital on Labor Day weekend - a major improvement over the previous year when I spent Labor Day weekend recovering from a miscarriage.