Monday, September 1, 2008

In the beginning...

I think it's only fair to start this blog about work at the beginning... not my first "for pay" job, but back further than that. Because I think so much of my attitude about work was shaped by that early work experience.

I refer, of course, to "chores". I'm providing a definition here:

chore //
(chôr, chōr) n.
  1. A routine or minor duty or task. See Synonyms at task.
  2. chores Daily or routine domestic tasks, especially a farmer's routine morning and evening tasks, such as feeding livestock.
  3. An unpleasant or burdensome task.
Chores, the "character building" tasks given to children by parents. One of my earliest chores, and one that I think set the tone for much of my working life, was picking up sticks in the yard so the lawnmower (a nasty non-mechanized push mower which could probably be the topic of at least one 50 minute therapy session) could get through the yard without having to chew through sticks. We had many trees in our yard and there were always PLENTY of sticks.

I would be rousted out of bed at about 7:30 on a summer Saturday morning by the hideous morning person my stepfather was by him yanking off my covers, ripping open my curtains and having him fairly SHOUT in a sing-song tone "It's getty uppy time" (the only time you were allowed to be in bed past 8AM ANY day of the week was if you were running a fever of AT LEAST 102). NOT. a. morning. person. I never was. I never will be. And weekends are MADE for sleeping in, ESPECIALLY summer weekends. So, this early rousing to an unpleasantly cheerful morning person did NOT start my day off right.

I'd go out and pick up the big sticks. The really obvious ones. I'd go back in and announce I was done. An inspection would follow. I'd receive a lecture about how if he did a half-assed job like that where he worked he'd be fired (keep in mind here, I was under the age of 10 at the time this was happening). I'd go out and pick up most of the smaller sticks. Go back in and re-announce I was done. An inspection would follow. This time I would be dragged around the yard and SHOWN every single missed stick. More lecturing about half assed work, poor work ethic with a great deal of "back in my day" thrown in and threats to use the biggest stick that could be found to give me a proper "lesson" in doing the job right the first time.

With this setting the stage for me as to what "work" was like, is it really any wonder that I have issues with authority figures? Is it really any wonder that I absolutely DREAD performance reviews?

I promise that future entries will be less trauma-inducing. It may interest you that I resolved early on in life to live in apartments so I would never have to take care of a lawn. When I got older I figured I would at least have to be the level of rich to be able to hire people to do my yard work (I am informed that I got an early start on that, saving up my meager allowance and paying a younger neighborhood kid to do the work for me...I don't remember doing that, but it really sounds like something I would do...)

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