By: Revanche

Life is hard but the fight has merit

February 5, 2012

When I first reacted to the original post of that blogger, I only intended to comment. Before submitting the comment, though, sanity prevailed.

It dawned on me that no matter how well meaning or well written or persuasive, to an unhearing mind, my words would mean nothing. I had seen how little any kindly meant words were getting through to her both on PopularBlogger’s blog and on her own. And the reason I found my way there in the first place was because of the unrelenting negativity and sometimes abuse she showered on PopularBlogger’s site on him and his commenters so, even though he and I are incredibly different, I just don’t have time for her to bring that into my blog life should she follow my comment back.

So I took my comment, and some grumpitude for the rudeness and assumptions she was spewing, back here to my own blog.

I didn’t link to her because I had no intention of giving herย publicity by naming her,ย nor did she have a clue who I was so I didn’t intend to open the door for her into my space here. Also, I think it’s rude and unprofessional, journalistically speaking, to cite someone’s words and name them without linking to them on the Internet. So I avoided identifying someone that, as it turns out, is much more well known than I expected. To be honest, I hadn’t heard from RachH and Tom before this post, evidently MW’s prodigy is more well known than I am! ๐Ÿ˜‰

You know what they say, controversy sells!

In any case, I’d like to turn this to a more positive light.

After reading more comments, particularly StackingPennies’s about the fact that we don’t cashier for FUN, I started to laugh. Because you know what?

I used to. I started working at a very young age to help out but also because I thought it was fun, and as it turned out, cashiering was one of those jobs.

And that reminded me of something important about work. At least it’s important to me. There is much of the Puritan work ethic in what some of us (me included) do and say in real life and online about money and paying down debt and reaching goals that I think it’s really not easy for the average person to see that we enjoyed the work we do, took satisfaction in a job well done or had pure joy of learning. It somehow is perceived as the seemingly righteous tone of trying to reach the goal.

I never thought that most of us were self-righteous, mind, but I do understand the feeling of singlemindedness or focus which I personally take a lot of joy in. Conversely, I understand that feeling stuck produces a serious sense of frustration, and when you can’t find the joy in the work, well, feeling stuck and then watching people succeed through perseverance and the idea that working for the sake of the goal is not a horrible idea probably evokes something akin to an allergic reaction.ย  (Solution: stop watching)

I remember being that kid who always thought there was something a bit more to do. I actually wasn’t the smartest kid in the class, ever. Just the boredest. Which meant I learned a lot, but not because I was gifted. Just because I was curious enough to want to learn, bored enough with the usual stuff to learn it and just bright enough to eventually grasp it. Not even all the time, though, I was pretty bad in a couple subject areas and just had to keep hacking away at it to keep my grades up because average grades weren’t acceptable. But the work itself was satisfying. I liked winning over the material, I liked reading any book I could get my hands on, I liked getting my homework done first.

My self assigned homework incentives were based on reading: two chapters for every homework assignment completed. Bonus: I could finish the whole book if I completed all homework by a certain time. I gamified before gamification was cool.

A shame I didn’t figure out this could work on other people.ย  See? I wasn’t really a smart kid. But I learned to enjoy certain kinds of work, I learned I didn’t like other kinds of work but I could do it and it wouldn’t kill me and I learned that you have to work no matter what to make a living. So I worked, and I made a living, and at the end of the day?

I had earned a paycheck by the sweat of my own brow and tired as I was, deep down, I had pride and satisfaction in doing a job well. That meant something to me. I did it myself, I made the best decisions I could, I learned something if it was good day and if I didn’t, tomorrow was another day.

And that’s just something, isn’t it?

Maybe this is just the whole Kid of an Immigrant thing – be glad you can get a job, any job, and be glad you can get paid a wage kind of thing. Maybe it is, but I sort of doubt it.

Bootstrapping lore goes back a long ways, Joyce described bootstrappers as those (perhaps a bit more grandiosely than necessary for our purposes): โ€œwho had forced their way to the top from the lowest rung by the aid of their bootstraps. Sheer force of natural genius, that. With brains, sir.โ€

The West wasn’t populated by weenies, either, especially not weenies who didn’t appreciate the opportunities they were afforded when they tilled the land or ventured further into the wild unknown.

People the world over are making their lives by sheer force of will, determination, genius, curiosity, need, desire, joy, delight, creativity, or innovation. Whatever it is that makes them tick, they’re driven to do something about it, and I think it’s gorgeous. People would do well to know why we did it all in the first place and get back to that, or find our way to that place, whatever it is.

I’m lucky that a big part of my (happy) place is general and a little bit is found everywhere: I like getting things done. And I like doing things better, more organized and smarter, every time, every day.

::What’s your place?

8 Responses to “Life is hard but the fight has merit”

  1. SP says:

    This is interesting, and a perspective a lot of people miss. The ambition itself seems somewhat innate (or at least, learned at a young age). Can you teach someone to be a go-getter ambitious type, to enjoy being busy with productive work? If that isn’t your natural inclination, then how do you get there?

    I have a close family member who… at least right now, has none of that. And I just want to shake some sense into her. Get it together!! But honestly, I can’t think of a useful way to help her (other than to refuse to enable this behavior).

    I hope I didn’t miss the point of what you were saying here and instead take off into my own tangent ๐Ÿ™‚

    (PS – I cannot get the comment word verification to work with my wordpress.com account for the last 2 posts. But it is probably just me.)

  2. I used to be a waitress and I LOVED it. Like, I would still be doing it if I could manage with a baby. The problem is, once I got a degree I felt pressure to *better* my life…even though I loved what I did. I couldn’t see myself as a 40 year old cocktail server (nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t see that in my family plan). My husband too, loved serving but we knew those careers weren’t in our future plans for a family.
    There was a satisfaction to waitressing that I loved. And I loved the people I worked with.
    I can imagine I’d probably like being a cashier too. I like customer service.

  3. That sounds typical of certain people who comment on these PF blogs. I have generally found that most people – both the bloggers and the commenters – are generally polite and respectful towards each other. However, there do seem to be some folks with a bit of negativity (jealousy??) cooped up inside them, and find these blogs are a good release point. Just try to ignore them, really, not worth it.

  4. I am a lazy person at heart, but that has always worked in my favour. I’m lazy but I work hard earlier so that I don’t have to work as hard later.

    When I was little, I would find a way to finish my chores as fast as possible, so that I could have as much time to play and read to my hearts contents.

    In university, I’d do my homework regularly so that I didn’t have to do too much studying at the end of the term.

    Now, I save for retirement so that I can cut my future self some slack.

    PS. I have not been able to get the word verification to work for the life of me. ๐Ÿ™

  5. kevntazz says:

    I used to wait tables and work as a front staff at Brisbane’s first donut store. Those jobs weren’t the easiest, esp because the pay was okay and the customers could be quite a handful to handle. But I enjoyed them because it was kind of mindless work, didn’t really have to think too much, just followed the motions ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. mochimac says:

    My self assigned homework incentives were based on reading: two chapters for every homework assignment completed. Bonus: I could finish the whole book if I completed all homework by a certain time. I gamified before gamification was cool. < --- This was me too. I just like doing a good job. Simply put, I enjoy seeing things done right and being rewarded financially for it. It also annoys me when people are lazy, but not as much as when they bitch about it.

  7. Revanche says:

    @SP: No you didn’t miss – that’s pretty much it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Kris: Honestly, there are some things that are “menial” or “simple” about every job that I’ve done so far that I still like doing. I’d still do them if I could make the life I wanted for our family doing them because I don’t see myself as better than that, if you see what I mean.

    @fabulouslyfrugal: Love this – because yes I get extra lazy too and that’s what motivates me to get things out of the way faster. So I can stop working ๐Ÿ˜€

    @kevntazz: Nothing wrong with a little mindless work sometimes, mm?

    @mochimac: Ditto!

  8. RachH says:

    Haha, I have been reading here for awhile actually and just hadn’t commented yet [shame on me! ;-)].

    I used to work as a barista at a tea shop, and I loved it. I loved chatting with the regulars, helping new customers with understanding the menu and working around their dietary needs, and all of it. I loved that I could be on my feet and useful. Now I work at a desk all day and I’m miserable at it, having to sit still and stay by the phone constantly. If only waiting or retail paid a bit more, or I owed a bit less on my student loans…

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