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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Working the Addiction 2

Working Addiction
I hope your youth and school years through high school were interspersed with a good doze of hard work.  I say that because if you were lucky enough to have experienced that kind of life, you were building the foundation for the rest of your life.  If youth starts by teaching you to work for everything you get, you will never forget that your goals can be met through hard work, and constant effort.  Many different generations followed the Baby Boomer Generation, and they came along with varying degrees of values (some even came along lacking commitment to any specific values).
In the various sports that I participated in, I never had a coach that encouraged me to excel by saying go out there give it your best and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose.  I most definitely remember being told by some coaches that second place was not an option.  One coach had a large banner attached to the ceiling of the gym where wrestling competitions were held.  The banner read, “IF YOU CAN READ THIS, YOU ARE NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH!”  Everyone knew that if you could read the banner you were about to get pinned, and let your team down.  I remember two occasions where my opponents were better than me, and yet when I read that banner I knew that I didn’t want to lose and face my coach after the match.  The banner inspired me to get a burst of energy out of pride or fear, it doesn’t matter, but I got an escape and a take down before the time ran out and I won by points.  The point I am making is that going forward some generations were told that participation was the key and outcomes didn’t matter.
I believe that we are beginning to pay the price as a society for raising our children believing that there are no losers or winners and that everybody wins.  Life sooner or later was going to provide a rude awakening to the young adults raised to believe that everybody wins.  I don’t like to play the game of political blame, but we all have a responsibility to at least understand where our future is likely to end up.  After all we are the government, we the people. 
I entered the workforce after high school and during college, with a strong work ethic, and a commitment to be all I could be.  Even after I retired from my career, I remained very involved in the work concept, and operated a couple of enterprises under personal service contracts.  During this period of time I broke a vertebra in my lower back that only slowed me down, but didn’t stop me.  I continued to work 6 days a week 10 to 12 hour days.  My theory is that work doesn’t stop just because you slow down. Fortunately my responsibilities have almost always been in management, and easier physically than working with your back. 
My first born daughter drop by to visit and checkup on me, but I was so busy that I didn’t spend very much time with her.  When she left to go home her parting words were, “I’ll come back to visit when you are more seriously hurt, cause obviously a broken back doesn’t slow you down!”  I’d like to think that she wasn’t really mad at me, and I know for my part that I love her very much, and could never get mad at her.  A friend told me to slow down and seriously consider retiring all together.  He followed with, no one has ever said from their death bed; “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”  I promised him that if my mind was still intact I would say from my death bed; “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”
Since I retired from my career, I haven’t returned to my office to visit.  I am pretty much a person of finality, I refuse to go back and face the ghosts of 27 years of commitment to work.  My real coworkers, and peers are the ones that were around my age and retired just before me or soon after me.  I did retire early so there are many my age that are still working by choice or circumstance.  My style is to hold a tight grip on things around me, but when I let go there is no returning, and I can live with the consequence. The best is yet to come….

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