Monday, October 19, 2015

Work Ethics: Fantasy and Reality

Every Job Has Its Worth

This is not a political rant, but rather a human one. One of the recurring themes in my Saga of Magiskeep is how most men want to work for something in their lives. In a sense, some of the Magicians in the Saga are "the idle rich" who so depend on their Magic to meet all their needs that they have no need to work for anything. Their lives, because of that, have a certain purposelessness which leads them to seek ways to satisfy their needs.  This often leads to dominating others just for the sake of having "something to do."

Jamus, the hero of the novels, recognizes this need, and respects it in his role as Master of Magiskeep. While Magic might certainly be able to solve every problem with no effort except the lifting of his hand, more often he chooses a more human solution, both out of his own need and out of respect for those around him who lack Magic as an answer.

Although the Saga is a fantasy, its culture is rooted in reality. In this case, the reality that people do want to earn their way in the world. Several real world examples reminded me of this reality lately.

One was an encounter in my doctor's waiting room. A middle-aged woman came in to deliver something and then sat near me to relax for a few minutes. I soon struck up a conversation with her and found out she was a newspaper delivery woman. From what she said, she delivered papers all day long for several different distributors. She told me about a car accident she'd had recently, the problems it had caused with her truck, and of the financial issues she was facing.

Paper Boy Clip ArtI'm sure her job does not pay well--most likely minimum wage--and I suspect most people would think that it also requires very little skill. Driving, following a specified route, and tossing papers out the window certainly doesn't seem very high tech to most of us. But as I talked to this woman, I realized there was much more to it.  She explained, with certain pride, how she had mastered the technique of throwing the papers so they would hit people's driveways. "Papers today are much lighter than they used to be," she said. "You have to throw them flat instead of up in the air so they land where you want them to. I've figured out just how to throw them so they almost always hit the driveway where I want them to"

Clearly, her job was something special, both to her and to the customers she served. I know she worked hard every day with long routes and long hours. Then, as an even better revelation, I found out that she was the person who delivered a local free paper to my house. I told her I was delighted to get the paper, but apparently whoever was delivering it thought my two driveways were for separate houses, so I was getting two papers each week. Immediately, she asked me where my house was. I gave her my address and told her the driveway with the mailbox was the best one for the paper.

Sure enough, the next week, and every week since, I have been getting only one paper, delivered by special throw, right by my mailbox.

Talk about pride and a job well done.

More in the next blog.

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