Talking to my Dad last night, I realized that in the last 19 years, the longest I’ve ever been without work is 3 business days. No joke.
I’ve both quit and been fired from jobs. In the case of the former I always made sure to have a job acceptance in hand before I gave my two weeks, and in the case of the latter I always went out and found something that paid — always within three business days.
Didn’t matter what the job was, or where I was living. Small town, or big city. I canvassed the hell out of the place. Bussing tables. Working a register. Flipping burgers on a grill. Pushing a broom & mop. If it was honest work and they were hiring immediately, I went for it. Even if it seemed like a temporary thing until I could move on to something else. Because some kind of paycheck was always better than no paycheck at all.
That’s just the rule in my house. The man’s #1 priority is bringing in the bread. Every day the man isn’t bringing in the bread, his “job” is to look for a job. For at least 8 hours, or more. Anything less was unacceptable. No excuses.
I’ve never had to look long. I wasn’t too proud to take what was available. In whatever capacity was required. Nothing was “beneath” me — except being unemployed.
And, honestly, I never got fired again after that first year. I learned quickly how to spot the trouble signs, and how to line myself up for a new job when I saw the end of the old job coming a long ways off. I did get caught in a mass layoff once. That was a surprise. It happened on a Monday. But I was back to work with the same (overall) company, only at a different campus and in a different capacity, by Wednesday — then wound up right back at my original desk within a year, after the two separate portions of the company merged assets in 1999.
It’s now 2012 and I have three jobs; one full-time civilian, one part-time military, and one part-time freelance. And I am doing very well in all of them. I typically put in 55 to 65 hours a week, or more. Sometimes, it’s literally 80 to 90 hours a week, depending on what I have going on.
There’s precious little idle time in my schedule. I don’t play video games much these days, nor do I watch a lot of television, nor movies. I don’t even read a lot, recreationally — something I am forever trying to remedy because rec reading is vital for writing. I do build in time for church. And for family. And I am satisfied that nobody can accuse me of not paying my dues.
I am also satisfied that nothing I’ve done is unique to me. I don’t think it’s been magic. I don’t think it’s been luck. I don’t think I am a special case. I just think I have a certain mindset — as a result of my upbringing and the example my father set for me, and because I have a spouse who accepts nothing less of her husband.
I’ve noticed I get one of two reactions to this story: people who “get it” and relate to me their own stories of work and striving, and people who get defensive, make excuses for themselves, and/or become accusatory.
When America is run by and for the benefit of individuals in the latter category, America is officially over.
If this statement offends you, I don’t give a shit.