Wednesday, September 8, 2010
My little brother got a job this week. I am so proud of him, he is the newest employee of a local pizzeria. Let me just tell you that my brother has done pretty much every job under the sun.
He has pumped gas, he has made pizza, he has bussed tables, he has painted pottery, he has delivered papers, he has roasted coffee, he has made coffee drinks, he has babysat, he has run errands, he has done telephone tech support, he has fixed computers, he has cleaned, he has cooked. The list goes on and on and on.
I once said that one of the things I was the most proud of was that the members of my immediate family would pretty much do anything for work; that an honest days work was an honest days wage and that there was nothing beneath us or above us that we would not do for a paycheck. I know this is not the case for everyone. I know a guy who did not work for nearly 5 years because the jobs available were not up to the perceived standards of his degree. And so he waited for the job he considered to be worth his education... I know another guy who preferred to ask his grandmother for money because he figured out that after taxes his pay wasn't even enough to pay his rent. I know someone else that feels that certain jobs are beneath them because of what people would say if they knew they were working retail or waiting table. I have a girlfriend who worries that taking a steady job would mean passing up future opportunities.
I know there are not a lot of jobs out there. I know that you can apply for 20 jobs and not get callbacks on any of them. I know that a great job opportunity will sometimes turn out 500 applicants vying for the same position. But I also know that there is a list of jobs out there that some people will not do to avoid shame - to avoid having to tell people, "I make pizza for living" or "I pump gas".
I took care of my grandmother for the last 2 years of her life. I remember at first being very ashamed to tell people what I did for a living. After all, I had finished school, I had had a career, I had been a teacher, I had made my own living, I had shared an apartment with a roommate, I had freedom and my own space. All of a sudden at age 27 I had to tell people I was living at home and caring for my grandmother full time and it was difficult to do. Now I feel great about it, I think about what a wonderful opportunity it was to spend time with her and to share those last years with her and to give back to her after all the time she gave to me.
My grandmother used to tell my brother as a child when he would start to get mouthy or cocky, "you are just too big for your britches!" I think she meant he was larger than life or that his head was getting too big. I'm not sure how he feels right now but to me he has every reason to be too big for his britches, because he's got a job!