Tag Archives: work

An Idle Mind is the Devil’s Workshop

I hate to do nothing.  I get stir crazy.  The Husband gets annoyed when we go on vacation and I don’t want to just sit by the pool.  One hour at the pool in the morning and one hour at the pool in the afternoon and that’s more than enough for me.  I’d much rather be doing things, sightseeing, walking around, anything but sitting.  I know most people enjoy doing nothing, but I’m a weirdo.

About an hour of that is all I really need.  Maybe two hours...

About an hour of that is all I really need. Maybe two hours…

We recently went on Vacation and all the downtime drove me nuts.  We did a lot, don’t get me wrong, but there was too much down time for my liking.  I’m the same when it comes to work.  I want to be busy.  I think that’s partially why one of my most favorite jobs ever was being a Front Desk manager for a busy Cape Cod hotel.

Being a front desk manager in a busy hotel in a vacation hotspot means being ready for anything, and I mean anything.  There are so many different people, coming and going, needing directions, needing recommendations, having complaints, just chatting while they wait for their friend.  It was never a dull moment.

The Aria Front Desk

The Aria Front Desk

There was one night when we were patting ourselves on the back for a smooth Friday night check-in. We had just checked-in three coaches full of tourists from various places who had come to visit Cape Cod for the first time.  After the room moves, the luggage deliveries, and making sure that everyone was happy, we got a call from another local tour operator.  They had a coach full of unhappy guests.  The hotel they had checked into did not meet their standards and this tour operator wanted to know if we had any rooms.  We did, but it took at least a day in most cases to prepare for a coach.  I gladly took on the challenge.  We made the key cards in record time.  The room maps were highlighted and attached to the key envelope with precision.  We labeled everything and entered in the rooming list all before the bus pulled into our parking lot.  The guests entered the hotel relieved that they had found somewhere nicer and for once, they were all happy with their rooms (a rare thing).

It felt good.  It was crazy.  It was chaotic.  It was glorious.  I thrive on being surrounded by a chaotic mess of business.  It’s wonderful.  I know that some people might think that’s not healthy but it’s just something that I just love.

I sometimes miss that chaos of a busy job.  I don’t necessarily miss the hours that are required but it sure beats the opposite.  I have experienced the joys of unemployment and I nearly went insane over it.  The first few days of unemployment were lovely.  I read books, watched daytime tv, realized why I liked reading books during the day more than daytime tv, watched movies.  Then the boredom hit.

Yeah - that was pretty close to my list...aside from applying to jobs...

Yeah – that was pretty close to my list…aside from applying to jobs…

It’s amazing how having nothing to do can really wear on one’s brain. There’s that old poem by Shel Silverstein “Whatif” that pretty much summed up how my brain began to function.  It was like a switch flipped and all of a sudden my brain realized that it was being underutilized.  I stared thinking crazy things like in the poem.  When I had nothing to think about during the day,  I just started going to places that no normal person goes and it was like my mind couldn’t shut off.

That was when I really learned about myself and how I needed to be thinking, problem solving, having some kind of thing to do during my day other than trying to entertain myself.  I actually missed people complaining to me or even accusing me of stealing their orthopedic shoes (true story!) which is something I thought I would never miss.

I guess that’s why I have turned to blogging.  It helps fill the void.  I work part-time now and I now have a daughter who takes up a lot of my time, but it’s not really chaos.  Blogging has helped me keep my mind busy and kept me from a padded room somewhere, though I hear that those rooms are very relaxing…

Do you like being busy or do you prefer relaxing and vegging out?

This post was inspired by NaBloPoMo, a month-long blogging project.  Read other blogs that are participating by clicking here.  Today’s prompt: Are you happier when you’re working or when you’re relaxing?

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Burn Out

All month long, I’ve been following the prompts from NaBloPoMo and have really been amazed at how much I have had to really dig to discover my true feelings about the questions that have been asked.  Since this month has focused on work, a lot of my answers have been in relation to my experiences as a parent; how wonderful it is, how hard it is.  But today, I really struggled with the prompt: “What do you think would be the hardest job for you to do?”

This job may also be up there in the "worst job" category.

This job may also be up there in the “worst job” category.

I tried to think of what job I would have the hardest time doing.  My first thought as defense attorney because I don’t know what I would do if the person was really guilty and I had to defend them?  Then my second thought was family/divorce attorney because what would I do if I had a parent who wanted to subpoena their own child because they didn’t want to have to pay for their college?  I suppose that’s the reason I didn’t score too highly (I got a 145 and that was without studying the guide books that you can buy) on my LSAT when I took it five years ago…

Then I started thinking about police officers.  I don’t know that I would be able to do that job either because sometimes, you are called to some hairy family disputes or fights.  Or worse yet, you get your leg broken by a bunch of high school kids.  That crosses that profession off the list.

Even with these clear front-runners for “job I would never want to have,” I think there is still one that really would burn me out faster than anything.  Social workers, especially social workers who work with children have earned my deepest respect.  These professionals face amazing circumstances day in and day out.  They do not get the glory of big paychecks or even good funding for their jobs.  They work with some of the saddest cases and sometimes see things that most of us wish we never had to even know existed.

Yes, there are social workers who do get to see good things too, but I think that for me, not being able to help them all would be too hard.  I would want to help them all. I think that in the end, I would burn out and it would not be the good kind of burn out.  There’s just a lot of people who need help and are in “the system”  and these social workers do their best to help them all but there are just so many people who need the help.

So, if you know someone who is a social worker, thank them. Thank them for trying to help people.  Thank them for giving themselves to a cause that will help society.  Thank them for just being a kind person, because let’s be honest, you’d have to be kind in order to want to help so many people.

This post was written as part of the December NaBloPoMo series with the theme of Work.  Check out other blogs and see what other’s had to say about today’s prompt: “What do you think would be the hardest job for you to do?”

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The Happy Worker

Work is just that, work.  I once had a boss say something along the lines  that there’s a reason you get money to do it otherwise it wouldn’t be work because you would do it for free.  It makes sense really if you think about it.  Though, I do think that you should enjoy your work otherwise, why do it?  I know that sometimes there are factors beyond your control, especially today, that can sometimes force you to work a job you can tolerate over one that you absolutely love.  But even when you are working in the job of necessity, I feel like you should try to find something that you like and be a happy worker.

I love to write.  It’s why I ended up changing everything I had known before to get a job that would allow me to write.  I am lucky.  I was able to find a job that would let me do that.  It took a while but it was worth it.  Definitely better than asking if you want fries with.

What is a job you have had that made you feel completely satisfied with yourself?

This blog post is part of a month long series, NaBlaPoMo.  Check it out!  Today’s prompt “Do you enjoy your current job (or your last job)?”

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15 Miles and What Do You Get?

There is an old song called Low Bridge.  It talks about life, long ago, working on the Erie Canal; the hard work of dragging barges by mule.  It’s an old folk song and we used to sing it in Girl Scouts.  That must have been a lot of work to walk from Albany to Buffalo.  There was no easy way to do it.  No technology invented yet that would make this an easy job to accomplish.  I think of the men who would lead their trusty mules and how all that walking probably kept them healthy, well healthier than people who didn’t walk all those miles back and forth.

Then there’s the other classic song, 16 Tons.  It talks about the hard working miners and it isn’t just about the back-breaking work but it’s also about the spirit of the working man.  Those men who work tirelessly to provide energy for thousands of people risk their lives every day they go to work.  Remember the Chilean coal miners?

When I think about the question, “how hard do I work?”  I know that I do not work like those men did.  I know that I do not do manual labor.  So in that sense, I do not think I work hard.  Does that mean I have never worked hard like that? Of course not.  I worked in housekeeping making beds and scrubbing toilets.  I have worked at McDonalds.  I have unloaded 18-wheelers full of furniture and merchandise for a famous home design store with really funky items.  I have the knowledge of a hard day’s work.

Now, I work on the computer.  I write, I blog, I monitor social sites.  It’s not back-breaking labor but it’s work.  I work hard to make sure that they are properly monitored and kept up to date.  It’s a different kind of work.  It’s something that does not require me to break a sweat but it does make me think.  It takes time and the willingness to log into different sites, make sense of trends, make up “compelling content.”

Raising a child is a whole different definition of hard work.  It is a work that comes naturally for most parents.  There is so much that goes into it and every tear of frustration, every smile of gratitude, every sleepless night – most parents will tell you they wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Does that mean it’s not really work though because you are not paid in money?  Does it make it any less difficult or hard because you are not paid money for it?  But here I go again on all that talk about being a parent…

So, dear reader, the real question is if you do all this hard work, what is there to be gained?  It’s not a simple answer I’m afraid.  Aside from the feeling of accomplishment that you are doing something productive with your life, whether or not you like doing it, people depend on the service you provide by working.  Warm fuzzy accomplished feelings aside, work helps people feel connected.  Hard work builds character too, at least someone somewhere told me that.  It really does though.  Scrubbing a toilet or filling out the same form day in and day out requires one to keep working with the same dedication every time.  Some people really do make an immediate impact.  Others may never meet the people that their work impacts but it makes a difference in someone’s life.

"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret.  Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work."

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”

When I think about my life today, at this very moment, I realize that I do work hard.  It’s a different kind of hard though.  It’s the kind of hard that has me realize that there are people who do depend on me.  It’s not just me making a bed for an arrival or unloading a truck for a paycheck.  This work is just as hard, if not harder at times.  I realize that just because I’m not working a 45 hour work week anymore, a choice that was not easily made, I am still working just as many hours on different tasks and projects.  I agonized over that choice to not work a full-time job and to be a part-time worker/stay-at-home mom.  I was afraid it would mean I wasn’t a hard worker.  It wasn’t until I was actually working part-time and being home with the Daughter that I realized exactly how hard this work really was.

 

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