Let’s face it. Most of us do not like our jobs. I’m not saying we hate our jobs, but we spend most of our work week looking forward to vacation. After all, work is work. It wasn’t meant to be fun. We start the week on Monday with a surge of energy, ready to take on the world. By Wednesday, we are dragging and trying to find the motivation to get over the hump. Thursday is filled with the anticipation of Friday’s exit. When that dreaded Friday arrives, it seems to last forever. Fridays are so painful. Every tick of the clock is audible. Every movement is calculated. It becomes really hard not to daydream about the upcoming weekend. Although you try to speed up the clock, time slows like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix. Those Fridays last forever and feel like prison. You’ve worked hard and deserve a break. Well, you think that you have worked hard.
Just when you are ready to complain about your Monday through Friday prison sentence, consider this. What if your Monday to Friday was indeed a prison sentence? Instead of counting down a 40 hour work week, what if you were counting down a 27 year prison sentence. Instead of working 5 days a week, what would you do if you had to work 9,855 days in a row? Instead of the cognitive prison of a job you hate, what would you do if you were in an eight by seven foot cell? Instead of browsing Facebook to pass the time, you spend your time breaking rocks into gravel. Instead of a promotion to management, you are promoted from rock breaking to working in the limestone quarry.
On Dec 5th, 2013 Nelson Mandela died. I thought of all the great work he did to help to abolish apartheid. I thought of the refined diplomat that was loved around the world. I thought about the style, grace and poise that allowed him to overcome the years of systemic racism. He personified greatness. If it’s hard for me to make it Monday to Friday, how hard was it for him to last 27 years in prison? What I learned, on this sad day, is that my job isn’t that hard. My week isn’t that long. My Friday isn’t that far away. If Mr. Mandela can smile as he walked out of prison, then I can surely smile as I work through the week.
When you don’t believe you can make it to your Friday, think about Mr. Mandela and his struggle. Think about his style, grace and poise. To honor his life, break rocks into gravel on Monday, shovel limestone on Tuesday, participate in a hunger strike on Wednesday, tolerate physical and mental abuse on Thursday and recover from tuberculosis on Friday. When you are done with your week, spend the weekend abolishing apartheid. Let’s honor him by struggling through every day. Let’s honor him by realizing that our jobs really aren’t that hard. Let’s honor him by being the very best we can be, every day of the week.
God bless you Mr. Mandela. We love and miss you. In our hearts you will never be gone. Mr. Mandela you have worked so hard, you deserve to rest in peace. Thank you for all you have done for us.