Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
All of us have to work. For God said so: “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground” (Genesis 3:19). Adam, the first man, was given the job of taking care of the Garden of Eden. All throughout the Bible, God has commanded man to work. In the Ten Commandments, He said, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work.”
Henry Ward Beecher expounds it this way: “When God wanted sponges and oysters, He made them and put one on a rock and the other in the mud. When He made man, He did not make him to be a sponge or an oyster; He made him with feet and hands, and head and heart, and vital blood, and a place to use them, and He said to him, ‘Go work.'”
Somebody once said that work is the father of success, and integrity is the mother. If you can get along with these two members of the family, the rest of the family will be easy to deal with. However, too many people don’t make enough effort to get along with the father and leave the mother out completely. Some even quit looking for work as soon as they find a job.
I have been working in the company where I am currently employed for more than twenty years now. I still find my job challenging, and I am happy with what I am doing. But I find it strange that some people have a hard time staying with one employer. Maybe because they are bored or worse, they thought they should be paid more for the work they are doing.
Walter Hoving advises, “Find a job that’s suited to your talents and then do a lot more work than you’re paid for. In time, you’ll be paid much more for what you do. Workers who get what they can, are bound to be disillusioned. Such people fail to make progress simply because they aren’t profitable to the people who hire them.”
I have met some employees in other institutions who work for the required eight hours. Most of them don’t bother to give an extra minute or two if there are other works to be done that day. I know personally, some people who, when the clock hits 5 p.m., immediately leave their desk without bothering to clean their tables. “That’s what the janitor does,” they say.
But what American inventor Thomas Alva Edison said? “I am wondering what would have happened to me if some fluent talker had converted me to the theory of the eight-hour day, and convinced me that it was not fair to my fellow workers to put forth my best efforts in my work. I am glad that the eight-hour day had not been invented when I was a young man. If my life had been made up of eight-hour days I do not believe I could have accomplished a great deal.”
The Laggard’s Excuse confirms the principle that the man who is born the luckiest is the man who doesn’t believe in luck – but in work! The poem goes this way: “He worked by day and toiled by night. He gave up play and some delight. Dry books he read, new things to learn and forged ahead, success to earn. He plodded on with faith and pluck. And when he won, men called it luck.”
Luck is always waiting for something to turn up. Work, on the other hand, with keen eyes and strong will, turns up something. Luck lies in bed and wishes the postman would bring him news of an unexpected inheritance. Work springs out of bed in the morning and lays the foundation for success with competence.
In a workplace, there are people who work diligently, and there are people who watch other’s jobs, thereby placing his work in jeopardy. Elmer G. Leterman was right when he observed, “The average human being in any line of work could double his productive capacity overnight if he began right now to do all the things he knows he should do, and to stop doing all the things he knows he should not do.”
We were not put here on earth to play around. “Life is real; life is earnest,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote. We are not here to “have fun,” which seems to be the chief ambition of everyone. “There is work to be done,” said Alden Palmer. “There are responsibilities to be met. Humanity needs the abilities of every man and woman.”
For twenty years, he worked in the “trenches” in hospital emergency rooms, only to find himself overwhelmed with a bad case of “burnout.” He describes his work this way: “It was years of screaming, dying, drunks, drug overdose, terminal cancer, and exhaustion.” It was at that time that Dr. Lance Gentile enrolled in the University of Southern California’s film school.
While continuing to save lives on hospital late shifts, he tried his hand at writing a screenplay. State of Emergency was turned into an HBO movie. Then, the offer to be part of the successful popular television show, ER, came. He did not act in the series, but part of his job was to monitor storylines to ensure no harm was done to make-believe patients or the show’s credibility. He made sure actors use correct terminology, hold instruments correctly, and have their X-rays right side up.
Gentile’s story reminded me of this statement: “When you do the things you have to do when you have to do them, the day will come when you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.”
In the Holy Bible, perhaps one of the most often quoted chapters is Psalm 23. Someone has adapted the said chapter with emphasis on work. It reads:
“The Lord is my real boss, and I shall not want. He gives me peace when chaos is all around me. He gently reminds me to pray and do all things without murmuring and complaining. He reminds me that he is my source and not my job. He restores my sanity every day and guides my decisions that I might honor Him in all that I do.
“Even though I face absurd amounts of e-mails, system crashes, unrealistic deadlines, budget cutbacks, gossiping co-workers, discriminating supervisors, and an aging body that doesn’t cooperate every morning, I still will not stop — for He is with me! His presence, His peace, and His power will see me through.
“He raises me up, even when they fail to promote me. He claims me as His own, even when the company threatens to let me go. His Faithfulness and love is better than any bonus check. His retirement plan beats every plan there is! When it’s all said and done, I’ll be working for Him a whole lot longer and for that, I bless His name.”