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August 4, 2008

Flipping Burgers is Good for You

by Michael Langlois

Warning: Soapboxing ahead! Rocks are three bucks each, no refunds if you miss.

Everyone has had their share of crappy jobs.  Among other things, I’ve delivered pizza, worked in a pawn shop (most interesting job ever!), and sold games in a mall.  Lots of people have jobs like this for one reason or another, and by and large, they can be trusted with whatever small of amount of responsibility they’ve been entrusted with.

They don’t cheat on their timecards, they don’t stick a paw in the till, and they don’t walk off with free goodies when they leave.  But what they do, some of them, and you know who you are, is half-ass around like a kid who’s told to clean his room, then stick out a hand for a paycheck.

This is about working the drive-through window at a fast food joint and rolling your eyes at the guy who’s order got butchered.  It’s about being that cashier who’s talking on the phone and can’t be bothered to ring anything up until they find out what Miffy said to Tad.  And of course, the bagger at the grocery store that is so busy chatting up one of his coworkers that he never notices that he’s putting cans on top of your lovely bananas.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t treat picking up butts in the parking lot as your life’s work.  But if you’ve ever tried doing it well, day in and day out, you know it’s pretty damn hard.  It’s hard to do something you don’t care about and don’t want to do, simply because you’re responsible for it.

Do it anyway.

It’s like exercise.  You work through the pain and you get something in return.  In this case, it’s the ability to follow through with your own life.  That song that you like didn’t fall out of thin air, that novel didn’t write itself, and that game wasn’t delivered overnight by the code elves.  Somebody worked at learning their chosen craft and sweated blood over it.  The ability to follow through on your plans is hard won.

Without it you’ll never be able to roll up your sleeves and do that thing you dream about when nobody is looking.  Not forgetting the fries isn’t hard, and in the end, you get more out of it than the happy guy in the drive-thru.

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