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Musings on Work

Ecclesiastes 2:24 says, "There is nothing better for a man than taking meat and drink, and having delight in his work. This again I saw was from the hand of God."

I enjoy work and am thankful to God for the work that he's given me.
Here's a note I wrote to my kids some time ago.
  1. The second most important thing for you to do in your life is to be self supporting, mature and responsible. I as your parent, am willing to do most anything to see that happen, including making your life rather miserable (for which you may hate me for a while.) The most important thing is to have a personal relationship with Christ, but if you aren't mature and responsible, you will be a disgrace to Christ - very bad.
  2. Getting a college degree doesn't mean a thing in regards to being successful. It might allow you to work at some jobs that you otherwise couldn't (like being a doctor, or engineer or lawyer). Not having a college degree doesn't mean you can't be successful at all. My next door neighbor never had the first day of college (wasn't even an American citizen), but he was willing to work hard and that is what makes the difference. Any job you do is completely honorable, so long as you are doing #1 above - being self supporting, mature and responsible.
  3. I don't care what you do, you will have to work hard (unless you are willing to be some street person, but somehow I don't think that's what you really have in mind for your life). If you work for yourself like Bo, you have to work especially hard. If you work for someone else, you still have to work hard. You don't have all the worries that go along with having your own business, but you will have to put up with stuff from your employer that you don't like very much. But either way, you will have to be responsible and work hard.
  4. It will be very difficult to make very much money as an employee (working for someone else) without having some special trade - being a plumber or electrician or hair stylist, or accountant... Some special skill. Without that, you will most likely have to be willing to work in retail, and that's not going to pay much. If you choose to pursue management in retail, that will pay more (still not great) but it will require extra hard work and maybe even a college degree.
  5. There is no way to get around it - you will have to be responsible and have to work hard. Until you resign yourself to that, and commit yourself to doing that, you are going to have a miserable life.
Here's Arlo Gutherie's song about Hard Work.

I've worked for IBM the majority of my life, and I'm working on some remembrances of my career at IBM: