This summer is the 50th anniversary of my first paying job. Oh, sure, I had worked for and with my grandparents, various aunts, uncles and the occasional neighbor, but never for hard money I could stick in my jeans and waste anyway I thought important.
When the job opportunities started coming in for summer work, I, being the all-seeing, all-knowing 11 year old, let most of the good ones slip away. Remember, I was smarter than most, and just knew the best job for me was going to be the very next one.
Well, as life will have it, my job search ended with two choices. I could spend the summer on the kill floor of a slaughterhouse in Midvale, Utah, or I could catch an old school bus at 5 in the morning and get ferried out to the backside of Utah Lake and thin beets for the Mormon Church.
As was to happen many more times in my life, Grandma and Aunt Ruthie stepped in and made sure I wandered in the right direction. So, I became a Utah beet digger.
At first, I thought the job didn’t sound all that tough; after all, how hard could it be to carry a hoe all day, next to a lake full of fish and still get paid?
Well, kids, we couldn’t see the lake, and the rows of baby beets went on forever. OK, maybe not forever, but they were, however, just six feet short of never-never land.
My job was to take hoe in hand, march along the assigned rows, and rid the earth of weeds, sickly baby beet plants and the occasional rattlesnake.
For this high desert walk in the park, we were paid a set amount per row, there were no 15-minute breaks, and you carried your water and lunch.
The day lasted from our arrival to whenever the son of the ward teacher and some missionary from south Florida thought it should.
After sticking a number of dirt clods up the exhaust pipe, to see how far they’d shoot out, and a rare attack of smart mouth, I was told, “Mr. Glanville, our situation isn’t working out the way it should.” I had no idea I’d been fired until the next morning when the bus driver was plain about it.
For the time I spent in beet-digger heaven, I received $12.36. Not bad, I thought, after taxes and my church tithing. I later learned that my archenemy, Doug Garretson, made almost $80 a month setting pins at the bowling alley, one of the jobs I’d passed up.
I bring this job anniversary up because I’ve come to notice, at my part-time job, that with all the improvements in the work world, some of the kids we have working and looking for jobs lack one important thing — a work ethic.
There’s more to a job than hanging with your friends and texting the ones across town.
Sure, it’s OK to have fun at work, but if you can’t do two things at once, choose work and do the best you can. If you have to make up an excuse for something, use your imagination, make it worth listening to, and tell it while you’re working.
Nobody gets paid just for showing up. If they did … better yet, nevermind that part … just do your best and learn everything you can. It’s far better being paid for your brain than your back.
And finally …
While fishing this weekend with our granddaughter, Haley, I was almost shutout, skunked, sent to the showers, but with my skill, daring and woeful need not to be fishless, I prevailed. Although she caught 12 to my seven, my dignity remains intact.
After several questions about moss and other green stuff in the pond at Loudy-Simpson Park, I spoke with Tammy Seela of Parks and Recreation. I caught up with this nice lady while she was cleaning the restrooms at the park.
(Note here: Any boss who is willing to clean bathrooms is someone to work with, or for.)
She took time to explain the budget restrictions that won’t allow her to rid the ponds of the green gunk, so we have to live with it until cooler temperatures return.
I suggest a bobber with bait two feet below. If that’s not productive, increase the distance between bobber and bait.
Hey, you be careful out there.