Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.
Do work. Rayner Fredrick
Today I got my first paycheck at my new job. And while there have been paychecks, over the years, that elicited enthusiasm, I do not remember one bringing me so much joy.
The unemployment statistics churn out week after week, anticipated by stockbrokers and Obama's press secretary and the governors of states who are trying to figure out how in the HELL they are going to make 2+2=5. But to millions of gainfully employed folks who are going about the business of life, they are just one more unfathomable number in a world filled with them.
14.5 million people in this country are out of work.
Until last Monday I was one of them.
And then, just like that, I was getting up at 6 and praying early and wearing clothes that weren't jeans. I was thrilled. I was terrified. I wanted badly not to disappoint. I made my lunch and got a security badge and the next thing you know, I had been there for two weeks.
The funny thing was I hadn't thought about the money. Of course the initial sigh of relief could have been heard in New Guinea, but once I started, I didn't even think about it. A hungry man appreciates food; a hot one, the AC; and a lonely one, companionship. You might be groaning about getting up and going wherever it is you have to go in the morning, but when I rise, all I can feel is grateful. So when Mike the mail guy handed me the big envelope with checks for my department I didn't even open it right away. I passed the other checks out to my colleagues and then came back, found my letter opener and saw in black and white the exchange I had made, of effort for reward.
I have gotten bigger checks in my life. But this one is, and probably always will be, the best.