Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hard Work - The New Job

Author's Note: I know, dear readers, it's been a long time since I posted anything.  Both of you have been very patient, thanks, but it seems that I just haven't had anything to say for some time. Today, though, I want to write a bit about my new job and why I love it.  

Both of you already know that I just got a job in a BBQ trailer here in Austin, which, after twenty years of 'fine dining' in a very nice restaurant might seem like a bit of a step down for me.  After all, who would willing go from being a (well paid) 'wine guy' to a (low paid) prep cook in a trailer in South Austin?

Well the short answer is me. I love hard work. Now, working at my last job was often physically demanding--in a typical 6 hours shift I would almost never sit down, moving constantly through the restaurant in a circle.  I never actually counted my steps, but it's safe to say that I walked a lot.

I did a lot more than walk, though. I often cleared tables, carried trays, picked up trash and generally occupied myself with tiny but relentless tasks like folding napkins, polishing silverware and glasses and, of course, opening wine. After twenty years, though, the work had a certain routine--hard and fast at times, but often slow enough that staying focused could be a problem.

There is no such problem in this new job.  The work is hard, fast and hot. I love it. On my first day, I worked ten hours and I haven't been that tired since I tried working for a landscaper when I was in high school. I only lasted a few days on that job, but it wasn't because the work was too hard--it just wasn't a real challenge, mentally. Hard work isn't just about the amount of physical labor involved, it's also--perhaps even mostly--about the mental effort.

Of course, just learning a new job requires a great deal of mental effort, and some jobs require a higher level of sustained effort than others. I've come to realize that when a focused mental effort is combined with a demand for a strong physical performance, the result is just the sort of work that I crave.

What? Craving?

I have thought a lot about this in the past few weeks, and the best answer I can think of is that for me, hard work is the equivalent of physical exercise. Other than walking, which I love, I do not like to exercise. I certainly don't like to exercise just for the sake of exercising. With apologies to those whom I love who love to work out, I find that sort of physical effort to be, well, a waste of time.

Well, a waste of my time that is. Obviously many people do not find exercising to be a waste of time, and they are right. They crave it. I actually understand just why so many people love to run and do yoga and work out in general. Why? It makes them feel good. And that in and of itself is a good thing. The way I see it, the more folks who feel good physically, the more folks will be in a good mood generally and the better off we'll all be. It's not utopian, but you know, that rising tide floats all boats. We all benefit from all feeling good.

So, yay to exercise, but just not for me.

Actually that's not true.  In fact it's the very point here.  For most of my life, I thought I did not like to exercise. Until this month though, I don't think I ever made the connection between my love of hard work and my need for exercise. Now, it certainly helps me mentally knowing that the activity is 'work', and not just a 'workout', but really, does getting a few dollars an hour for doing something really justify doing it? I mean, I could sell my time for a lot more--in fact, I have for decades.  Taking a pay cut to work harder just seems nuts, right?

Well, to me so does doing ten sets of thirty reps on eight different machines in a sweaty, stinky, noisy gym.

Give me the aroma of cooking food (yes, even grease) plus sweat any day. Actually, these days, it's the aroma of smoked meats and hot, fresh tortillas on the grill that fill my senses, and when I am on the line tonight, making sandwiches and tacos, I'll be loving every minute.

Even at .25 cents a minute.

My theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3buNBwjstPY

No comments: