Be Proud of What You Do!

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Yesterday, my wife went to wash clothes and the washing machine wouldn’t turn on. Simple enough. I checked the circuit breaker, and sure enough, it was tripped. Having spent 20 years as an electronics technician, I know tripped breakers are typically a symptom, not a cause. There’s usually something else wrong. I turned it back on and we immediately smelled smoke. Yeah, not so simple anymore.

My washing machine at home is easy to get to. I can pull it out and walk all the way around. In an RV, you need arms as long as Wilt Chamberlain’s, and as skinny as Peewee Herman’s. I don’t qualify on either account. But, as it turns out, there is a third option – somebody who knows how to disassemble the entire back half of the motorhome and set the washing machine in the bathroom door.

There was a time when I did all my own repairs. Rather, I should say, I attempted them. It was a skill borne of necessity. When you can’t afford a professional, you grab a few tools, expose a little butt crack, and make do. If you’re gonna do the job, you have to dress the part, right? Of course, by the time you’re done replacing all the parts you messed up yourself, it would have been cheaper to hire Bubba.

My grandson is at that age where he needs to earn a living, but he’s not quite sure what he wants to be when he grows up. He’ll be 21 next month. And he’s engaged. I’d say it’s about time to start figuring this out. My advice has always been to find something you can enjoy, because you’ll be doing it for a long, long time. Find something that can’t be outsourced, and you can continue doing it a long, long time.

I grew up at a time when there was a little less respect for those professions where you actually need a shower at the end of the day, like mechanics, carpenters, and plumbers. Tell people you spent your days hanging off the back of a garbage truck and you were the life of the party. You know, the moment you left the room.

Jeff Foxworthy once joked that his sister was so proud of her son because he pointed to the sky and said, “Airpwane!” He said, “Well, I would hope so! He’s 13 years old! That boy is gonna have a job with his name on his shirt!” Okay, I’ve had a few of those jobs. At least I used my real name. Not like calling Customer Service and a guy who can barely speak English says, “Hello! My name is Steve!” Right.

Still, there’s always been that stigma about careers that are a little less glamorous than others. But let me tell you, when my drainpipes stop working, a plumber is worth whatever he charges to clean that mess out. Sure, he goes home smelling like whatever was inside those pipes. But ten minutes in the shower, and he’s good as new. Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out which bills to put off.

I think we put way too much emphasis on how others perceive our chosen profession. I have one of those “respectable” jobs and, thankfully, it’s something I love. But I’ve been a truck driver, a marine carpenter, a carpet cleaner, a paper boy, a bowling alley mechanic, and even a pizza delivery guy, among others. And you know what? The money all looks and spends the same.

I’m in a business that’s often used as a punchline, especially by people who never had the ambition to try it themselves. But it’s something I enjoy, where I’m able to reach my own goals by helping others do the same. I’m not wealthy, but I could be. And at the end of the day, I can go to sleep feeling good about what I do. Do other people get a chuckle out of it? Sure. That’s their problem, not mine.

Be proud of what you do, but for the right reasons. Not because it makes somebody else happy, but because it makes you happy. Be proud because you’re good at it. Be proud because it’s an honest living. Be proud because you’re willing to get up and go to work every day at a job not everybody else could, or would, do. It doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks – your opinion is the only one that counts.

It’s been said that if you find a job doing something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m not so sure about that, but if you have to work anyway, wouldn’t you rather do something you can enjoy? Consider opinions, but don’t let anybody else steal your dreams. They’re too important. And so are you.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s Okay to Be Comfortable, But You Still Need a Backup Plan

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

There are lots of things we take for granted. Your parents love you. That’s a big one. When you strap yourself into an airplane, you’ll arrive safely at your destination. That one involves a little more trust, but odds are it’s a safe bet. And when you flush the toilet, its contents are transported into a medieval abyss, never to be seen again. Unless you use too much paper. Then you’ll do more than just see it.

When you’re in an RV, there’s a way station between the commode and that mythical destination, one that fills up until you step outside and do something about it. And it’s not exactly like the scene from Christmas Vacation where Cousin Eddie is standing at the storm sewer in his bathrobe pumping you-know-what from a gurgling hose. I’m usually in pajamas and slippers.

Too much information? I know. But it’s one of the realities of RV living. The good part is you have another tank, one with a mild concentration of clean soapy water from the showers and sinks that does a really good job of flushing all the nasty stuff from the sewer hose. So, the last thing you see draining through that clear elbow at the end of the hose helps restore your appetite in time for dinner.

How long would it take you to make a list of all the things you take for granted? You know, things you just expect to happen a certain way, a cause and effect that occurs without so much as a second thought. It would be a daunting task and would likely fill an entire book by the time we’re done. And even then, we’d be taking it for granted that there’s nothing else we take for granted. Getting dizzy?

Taking something for granted amounts to nothing more than a leap of faith. If I turn the key, the engine starts. If I pull the ripcord, the parachute opens. And that gauge on the wall that says my RV’s propane tank is empty means it’s almost empty. God, please, let that be what it means. Otherwise, we’re in for a really cold night.

Taking things for granted is pretty much a way of life.  When a student applies for a college loan, they take it for granted they’ll find a job that, over the course of two decades, will pay a little more than the cost of the loan. And the lender takes it for granted they’ll pay the loan back. Talk about a leap of faith!

All our lives we’ve been told to get an education, find a good job, and climb the corporate ladder. And that’s great if you’re into ladders. The problem is most corporate jobs can be done just as well by somebody overseas for a whole lot less money. If you really want job security, become a plumber or learn to work on cars. Sorry, I just report the news. Don’t shoot the messenger.

I’m good at my job. I’ve never had to worry about being replaced because I don’t measure up or haven’t stayed up with emerging technology. Even at my age, employers place a premium on experience versus the potential health issues of age. Still, I know that any day they could come to me and say, “Dave, we’re sending your job offshore. It’s not personal – just business.”

Thanks to modern technology, remote work becomes more feasible and profitable by the day. That’s why I’m able to work from the RV, regardless of where it’s parked. It’s also why finding somebody halfway around the globe who’s willing to work the night shift in their time zone opens a world of opportunity for employers who need to cut costs.

So, while I take it for granted that reliability and doing a good job will keep me in my employer’s good graces, the reality is that I’m only here for as long as it’s profitable to keep me. And most of us, especially if you sit in a cubicle or work from home, are in the same boat.

So, what’s a person to do? Well, let me answer that with a question. Do you keep a spare tire in your car? Do you have a few dollars set aside for an emergency? Do you keep a few extra light bulbs in the house? Does your pantry have food you don’t plan to eat today? I could make some kind of profound statement here, but I think you get where this is headed.

Never before in our lifetime has it been more important to have a Plan B. Yes, rely on what you’ve built to this point in life and make the most of it. But realize that, in a moment, everything can change, and you may have to find a completely new way of getting things done. The sooner you find that something new and get started on it, even if it’s just on the side, the better you’ll be in the long run.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2021 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved