Monday, December 4, 2023

It all looks easy until you are the one doing it

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It all looks easy until you are the one doing it

Sam Houston is a syndicated columnist and newspaper executive. He is also an author, actor, playwright, and entertainment producer/promoter.

Dad was quite a worker and made sure he instilled a work ethic in all his children. From an early age he instructed his offspring on the importance of work, the obligation of work, and the commitment to doing a job well.

One of dad’s lessons was directed towards the performance of work. Dad said, “The easiest job in the world is the one you do not have”. The first time I heard the statement it did not make a lot of sense to me. On its face, it seemed reasonable. If you do not have a job to do, it would be easy. Was Dad setting some sort of trap for me? From experience I had learned there was usually an explanation to go with his philosophical assertions.

He went on to explain. Someone driving down the highway who observed men out in the middle of a field throwing bales of hay into a wagon might believe all they are doing is walking along and picking up bales. What a simple, easy job!

As sure as taxes, such a statement would be determinate the speaker had never experienced “bucking” fresh cut hay. As one who has thrown more than his fair share of bales, I should tell you hay is cut in the summertime meaning that it is never cool when bales must be picked up in the field. Usually, it is hotter than the devil! Most people bale hay tight, meaning the hay is compressed as tightly as possible. This produces less bales to pick up, but at the same time, the bales are very heavy; many times, weighing from 40 to 60 pounds. This means if there are 500 bales in a field, that is a lot of lifting! Haying is hot, dusty, dirty work and very exhausting. It is a lot harder and more taxing than the casual eye would ever know. Oh, and once it is loaded on the wagon, it must be unloaded at the barn!

If you think about it, most work is that way. Whether it be driving a truck, painting a house, or even writing a newspaper column. Some might say there is nothing hard about a job until they are the ones who must perform it. Once they personally experience all the obstacles and troubles in getting a job done, what looked like a simple task becomes a tough undertaking.

I frequently hear folks complain about the job performance of others. They complain the waitress is too slow, the city employee was too abrupt, law enforcement too demanding, or the teacher too lackadaisical. People who have never made a difficult arrest, never taught an unruly child, nor had to make a city of thousands of people function and do so with limited financial resources, are quick to point out the perceived shortcomings of those performing the job. After all, “it is not that tough to teach school and teachers are off from work the whole summer”.

Oh, to see the masses spend a day instructing a classroom of students who have received little discipline at home and bring their lack of regard for authority to the schoolhouse. To see them walk into a dark house in the middle of the night in response to an emergency call, and then arrest a violent criminal without being hurt or killed. To hear an alarm and be woken in the middle of the night only to race at high speed to a burning house and then attempt to save lives and property. Not as easy as some believe it to be, and truth be told, not tasks most folks would want to undertake.

It would be my pleasure to follow those who loudly complain about the work of others and see how they perform their job. I wonder if day in and day out they perform their job tasks to the meticulous standards they impose on others. I wonder if their boss would hold the same high regard for their performance as they have. My guess is few would want to be judged by the same standard which they  judge the performance of others.

No job is easy, which is why they call it work rather than fun. Perhaps we should all be a little less critical and a little more understanding, especially about jobs where we do not comprehend the difficulties of the task. It all looks easy until YOU are the one doing it.

Thought for the day: Before you shake your head in judgment, be sure you have one.

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out

sam@hcnews.com