I am extremely lucky to be vacationing in the Black Hills this week, but perhaps even luckier to have found a gem of wisdom while here. Yesterday morning, my husband and I were outside the hotel with Forrest. Something about having a baby seems to open up conversation with about everyone.
This time it was with a maintenance man at the hotel. He was outside watering his plants and started telling us about his great grandchildren. The conversation quickly evolved to the subjects of his own children, how he adopted two of them, and then on to illnesses and deaths in the family.
I commented on how many stories he has to tell, and that is when he told us he is 81 years old. This man is in wonderful shape, tons of energy, just looks tremendous; and he is 81 years old!
He said he was retired once. In fact he worked here at this hotel for about 15 years (if memory serves me correctly) before he retired. For whatever reason, he came back to work at the hotel and has been doing it for a few years now. Now here’s where you should listen. Here’s the gem.
He said, “Working is a lot more enjoyable when you want to do it than it is when you have to.”
All those years working here before retirement, he did it because he needed the paycheck. He didn’t come to work because he wanted to. He did it for the money, and he didn’t enjoy it so much. Now he’s back doing the exact same thing, and this time he loves it.
It’s not a new manager or better pay or more inclusive benefits that made it better this time. It’s his mindset. Only his mindset. What does that mean for all of us? What does it matter for those of us who are still working for the paycheck?
The point is not literally that if you don’t need the money, the job is more enjoyable. The point is the perspective through which you choose to look.
Tomorrow you can go to work with the perspective that you want to work. If you just hate your job and feel like you cannot convince yourself that you want to work there for any reason whatsoever, find a new one! There are millions of jobs out there and probably at least a few at which you are qualified to work.
Then from the first day on, choose that perspective that you love it, and never stop loving it. Tell yourself every day that you are going to work because you want to. After all, no one is forcing you at gunpoint to walk through that door. Sure, there would be consequences for not working, but that is why you choose to work.
You choose to work to provide sustenance for yourself and your family. But you can also choose to work for enjoyment. For the socialization, for the learning experiences, for the passage of time, for the escape from everyday life at home, for the lifelong friendships, for the contribution to the economy, and possibly, at the right places, for the contribution to the greater good of this planet.
So now you know. Thanks to the maintenance worker at a hotel in the Black Hills, you can choose to enjoy your job for the rest of your working years. Looks like he made a little contribution to the greater good just yesterday at his job. Hats off to you, man, and thank you.