Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Hardest Job

For most of us the hardest job we ever had to do was something unpleasant, usually during our teen years, as we entered the work place. For some of us this was cleaning the grease pit at a convenience store "kitchen," specializing in chicken wings, low-grade burgers, and French fries. For others it might have been clearing tables at a busy restaurant. Maybe it was working in the blinding heat of summer, carrying stacks of roofing shingles up a ladder to a carpenter. Or it might have been enduring the exhausting monotony of assembly line work, trying to keep up with the flow of experienced workers, before you lost your mind.

For me one of the hardest jobs I ever had involved scraping and shoveling asbestos insulation from ovens used to cure sewer pipe. That was a very long summer.

Each of us keeps a memory tucked into some corner of our mind of the hardest jobs we ever had to do. It's good to pull that memory out once in awhile, so we can put our current job in perspective.

For example, a veteran sitting all day long in an air-conditioned office, attending boring meetings can seem a grind at the time, but it's absolutely delightful next to being yelled at by drill sergeants and endless hours of PT.

When it comes down to it, hard jobs aren't always defined by soaring temperatures, blitzed muscles, or intolerable bosses; they can also be measured by the amount of stress produced, anxiety raised, or nightmares encountered.

I can do great doing most anything physical or mental, but the hardest job for me involves relationships.

One of the hardest jobs I've ever volunteered for is being a husband. I struggle daily to define my role and responsibilities in this endeavor.

The transition from husband to father creates numerous opportunities for other hard jobs to surface: changing diapers, giving baths, helping with homework, encouraging broken hearts, and teaching one to drive.

In retrospect, my job as husband and father may be one of the most difficult in terms of stress and anxiety, but it's one I would not trade for all the air-conditioned corner offices and six-figure salaries in the world.

That being said, there are fringe benefits too. Like right now, as I get to watch my son pitch his first game.

Those hours we spent playing catch in the backyard are paying off.

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