Jobs & Such

My friend Hollywood wrote a venting diatribe in which he was venting about…I’m guessing a practical joke went awry at his office and the employee couldn’t fathom why the business owner was upset. Not sure of the details by any stretch, but there was a quote at the end that reads:

“So when I have to have this conversation with you, and tell you that your $50K – $60K job is dependent on you growing up…and you look at me like I’m from Mars, forgive me for being blown away. I mean if you want to be a camp counselor or youth pastor (read play with your friends all day here), then go do it, but with that choice comes the economic realities of being with your playmates all day (no offense directed at youth pastors past or present intended…just venting).”

Now, truly, I’m not offended. I would be if I didn’t know for a fact that Hollywood values the youth pastors that minister to his family. If I didn’t have that background knowledge then his “no offense” comment would ring as hollow as Ricky Bobby’s “with all due respect” comment that preceeds diatribes in which he shows no respect to the hearer.

But, that isn’t the issue at all.

And I certainly don’t want to discuss the issue of office pranks or business protocols. I have always worked in small offices with easygoing and fun staff and we all were friends. This would inevitably lead to laughs. We were also working with a lot more commonality than many office situations. Hence, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about, either.

What I wanted to talk about was how we view other professions.

We see very little of what others actually do in their occupations. So, when some business person tells me of some lavish vacation they were able to get for next to nothing because they used air miles and hotel frequent-user discounts and credit card points, my first inclination is to go, “Wow…must be nice to flit around the country traveling and get nice perks.” The reality is that getting those perks was the result of a lot of time away from your family and friends and high-pressure meetings and lots of responsibility for the jobs of others and the whole bit.

Or when somebody says how cool it is that teachers get “three months off in the summer.” Well, most of the teachers I know are using some of those weeks to maintain mandated certifications/training and if you don’t think those folks need time off after dealing with parents of this generation and state-mandated tests, well, you don’t know what a teacher really does. And don’t get me started on high school sports coaches or college professors.

Or when somebody says how great it must be for firefighters to work out and play basketball and wash fire trucks and put out a fire every now and then. Right. Or cops just eat donuts and drink coffee all day. Right. My guess is that their life could be on the line at any point during that day.

Or when somebody says that homemakers have it nice just being able to sit around the house and do nothing all day. Uh-huh. That’s what they do all day. Just take a leisurely read and maybe nap when the baby naps.

Or when somebody says how much pilots make and it’s not bad for three or four days of work per week. Right. This is a skill that few in the world possess…and the pressures they must face flying 8 hours per day.

Or that pastors work one day a week.

I could go on. But you get where I’m coming from, right?

We rarely see what people really do all day…

…and just so you know that “youth pastors or former youth pastors” well, we did get to “play with our buddies,” but it was AFTER work. That game of ultimate frisbee with the senior guys was when they were all out of school, or that Friday night football game visit, or goofing off at the movies with the group after Sunday School, or any of that, well, it took place after we did our “job” that day. Mostly at the expense of time with our own wife & kids.

Same for weddings we perform.
Or funerals.

And while we’re at work we deal with some very dark things. Marriages fall apart right in front of your eyes. Parents get out of control. Kids make some awful choices that have serious consequences. While I’m at it, do you really think that I we get to turn that off when I close the door at 5PM, hoping to grab dinner with the wife before I’m back at 7PM to teach? Or, do you not think my wife gets an emotionally drained husband at that dinner, or who has to turn the TV on something mundane to keep from replaying conversations/advice so he can fall asleep?

And even when we’re “at work” on things like ski trips, well, let me ask you how much “fun” you’d have if you were responsible for getting 85 kids from Dallas to Winter Park and make sure each one has boots, poles, lift tickets, room with leaders who’ve had background checks performed, meals for 3 days and 4 nights, medical forms to the medical center, skiing down the mountain to the medical center to check on the injured kid every time the beeper they gave you went off…or mission trips where you’re camping out for a week with 120 teens & 25 adults in a field where all they supply are the toilets & space. Water, food, tents, not to mention the stuff…


…I’ll wrap it up.

We all have our work. And all our work matters. And all the gigs have plusses and minuses attached.

But, with all due respect, I don’t know any jobs that all you have to do is take a pay cut and then you can play with your buddies.