Jobs come in many different varieties, demanding different schedules, and requiring different levels of flexibility in hours, and in certain cases – location. From what I gather, many of us are tied down to some sort of desk job plugging and chugging away in cubicle prisons Monday through Friday. We often take this life for granted. It is way too easy to sit in our leather reclining chairs in an air conditioned office with access to private stalls and hot coffee and complain about the situation we are in. As bland, monotonous, and repetitive cube life can be, it could be a lot worse.
As I sit here writing this, I’m at the tail end of a 12 hour shift in the pouring fucking rain. My hands are slowly regaining enough circulation to type these words. And as I ring out my outer layer and remove my boots to find relief in the fact that I do not have trench foot, I reflect back on a better day when I was not on a field assignment – days where I could log in at 8:00 a.m. and leave at 4:30 p.m. if I wanted to – days where I had enough energy to go to happy hours or grab wings with my buddies at the end of my shift– days where I got to go to wake up in my own bed next to my wife. Today marks month 5 of a field assignment slated to end the second week in January. And this will require me to work through Thanksgiving, preventing me from spending it with my friends and family like I have become so accustomed to all my life. I’ve worked construction before, so I’m no stranger to long days and travel – it just sucks. But as undesirable as my situation currently is, my work is challenging, I enjoy it (most days) and my company treats me well.
In another life, instead of doing my business in a porta-john in borderline freezing temperatures, my business could be emptying those same porta-johns in the freezing cold. All day. Every day. In another life, I could have wound up scrubbing toilets somewhere for a couple dollars above minimum wage. In another life, I could have spent my days stuck in traffic jams and pissing in water jugs driving an 18-wheeler across the country. In another life, I could still be unemployed. And as scary as all that sounds, at least I would have still been safe.
There are people who wake up every single day and risk their life as part of their jobs. I am grateful that I don’t have to wake up every morning on the other side of the globe to incoming enemy fire. I am so thankful that I don’t have to run into burning buildings and put my life at risk for the safety of someone I’ve never even met. And it is a relief not having to wear a bullet proof vest as part of my attire each and every day I walk onto the street. My friends and loved ones can find solace in the fact that even though I am away, I will be coming back. For others out there, this is not a security that they have.
The world needs janitors, ditch diggers, and truck drivers. It just isn’t for me. I’m glad those positions are being filled by others. And the world needs heroes – brave, selfless, and passionate people who put themselves at risk each and every day they clock in. Thank you for your service. The also world also needs desk jockeys, cubicle warriors, and number crunchers. If you find yourself getting apathetic or unhappy with your job, then change it. But before you start bitching, take a look at the world around you. That old office chair may lack proper lumbar support, but don’t take it for granted..
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