While most of the best advice I ever received in my life came from my mother's mouth, occasionally my father would pop up with a pearl of wisdom that I readily accepted and adopted as a part of my value system. In fact, all of my father's good advice related to 'work' and 'how one should always apply oneself to the task at hand' The very first thing I remember taking on board from dad was, 'Billy, always do whatever you do to the best of your ability'. Another oft-repeated saying of dads was, 'Billy, if you have to leave one employer to take up work with another, always leave on good terms. Then, if the new job doesn't work out, your old boss will always take you back!'
I have always retained these working principles that my father advocated me in my youth and have put them into practice. Naturally, over the years, I have experienced aspects of my own work that has enabled me to collect a few of my own pearls of thought along the way.
If you are lucky enough to have a job today, and however positive a person you are, you are still unable to make your daily work stimulating and satisfying, that is all the more reason to find activities to engage yourself in during the time you spend outside work. I will never forget an old working pal at the mill where I once worked telling me (forgive the precise words as they were his and not mine), 'Bill I hate Mondays to Friday, but so long as I always have my Friday night to Monday morning to enjoy, I can put up with this shit hole for the rest of the week!'
The more boring one's job may be, the more stimulating should be your home life and pastime to compensate. We should never forget 'life's breakdown' if we want to avoid having a physical/ mental/ emotional breakdown ourselves. One-third of our life is spent at work, with one third being spent in bed and the final third spent on the remainder, to use or squander as we see fit! As we usually have none or little control over the time we spend at work or in bed, we are foolish and most wasteful in the extreme when we do not use the remaining third in the most satisfying of ways that sustain us. So do something! Get out of that mental rut, that lazy routine. Get up off your sofa if your mobility remaining allows you and get yourself out into the world more. Failing that, then bring the world more into your life through stimulating pastimes like writing, dancing, singing, going to night-school to learn about this or that you always wanted to but never found the time to do so. It matters not whether it's baking, mending cars or even brushing up on a foreign language(especially English classes)!
In my time, because I recognised the importance of work in one's life in providing extra money, prospects, stimulation, satisfaction, worth to the community, I always knew that my work would always take up a large part of my life (invariably more than the traditional third). The one prerequisite I needed to make me content and stimulated in my work was to believe in what I did, because only in that manner can you come to love your work.
I have liked every job I have ever held, and they have varied from mill labourer, mill foreman, mill manager, washer-up, hotel receptionist, railway restaurant server, singer and probation officer. I have also liked being a storyteller, writer, author, gardener, relaxation trainer, dancer, singer, charity worker, rummy and scrabble player, collecting and repairing antique furniture, attending the theatre, watching television documentaries, being with friends; all things I have done outside my paid occupation. The one thing I have always loved and dearly miss today is walking across fields, valleys, moorlands and through meadows and woods. And our allotment; I must not forget that small piece of seasonal heaven that Sheila and I enjoy, and going on holiday, and............................... I literally could go on forever.
I do believe strongly that a worker is more productive when they are happy with their labour, and therefore I believe that they do their best work when they do a job that makes them most happy. I also believe that we only become truly accomplished at doing something when we love doing what we do.I believe that there are no shortcuts to creativity as your 'specialness' originates inside yourself and your experiences, not without.
One of the most admired quotations of mine upon the topic of work was spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. It carries identical meaning to my father's views on the subject but is delivered with a greater eloquence: 'If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.'
So, the very next time you are sweeping that floor or cleaning out the loo basin, or mucking out the pigsty or cow shed, take a deep breath, put on a big smile and think on Martin Luther King Junior's wise words." William Forde: March 3rd, 2018