Job One is Doing the Job

Dear Michael and Caroline,

I never in my life really wanted to hold a job, much less the 15 or so that I’ve held. A job often meant doing what someone else wanted me to do rather than what I myself chose to do.Some of us prefer to preserve our independence, to think and act as we wish to think and act.

Then again, one also has to get real.

I’ve taken jobs because I needed to, because I had to make a living and support my family. A job also means you go in to an office to work and then you come home with money in your pocket. Your health insurance is covered and you have a pension plan. You get to take vacations and holidays.

A job has its advantages. If you’re lucky, your job is inherently rewarding. You’re assigned to cover a murder for a newspaper. You interview a police officer at a coffee shop about a union official found shot in the head at his desk, gangland-style. So you write an article that people read.

Your client comes to you needing attention for a new drug or a service or his CEO. You put together a plan and discuss the strategy and start calling the media. And then comes coverage in The Wall Street Journal.

You see, I have no issue with the work itself. I like the work. It’s the rest of it I could do without. The protocols, processes and procedure.

But that’s how it goes with a job. You deliver the newspapers, just as I did as a boy. You stack the papers into a basket on the handlebars of your bicycle and pedal around the neighborhood flinging the news onto front lawns. It could be cold out or rainy and you could be sleepy and maybe you would rather watch Popeye cartoons or play baseball. But you do it because it’s your job.

And let me tell you something important here. I’ve loved most of my jobs. I’ve learned something valuable from every job I’ve held.

P.S. – See Part 2 tomorrow.

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