This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a service project called the "Tuck River Cleanup". For the past 30 years, Western Carolina University has hosted this service project where students, faculty/staff, and members of the community can raft down the Tuckaseigee River (for free) while also cleaning up the riverbed. This weekend's event alone, had over 800 participants cleaning the river and we finished the event with a celebration full of food, music and plenty of fun. It has been a while since I have had that much fun and it really reminded me how ever the most tedious tasks can be done with ease with just a a different outlook.
Not many people know this, but I was a custodian at an elementary school for about 5-6 years. I did this job through the majority of my high school experience as well as over the summers of my undergrad years at college. The work was long, the pay was slightly over the minimum wage, and for many, this kind of job would not be the way most students would want to spend their summer vacation. For me, this job really wasn't about these aspects, it was about the community and the connections I made with that job. My boss, Dan, always held the work motto that I still hold today with my staff, "we work hard and we can play hard". Although there were parts of the job that were a pain (and very smelly), we were always able to see a silver lining to our work and brought a good sense of humor into all that we did. I have never seem anyone work as hard as our staff did, but I have also never seem anyone keep such a good outlook on life and hold such a positive work environment as the custodian staff as well.
I know I have used her multiple times in the past few weeks, but it reminds me of the scene from Mary Poppins when she gets Jane and Michael to clean up their room. In this scene she tells the children that "in every job there must be done, there is an element of fun, you find the fun and SNAP, the jobs a game!" This will make any job become a piece of cake if you only look at it through the right lens. Yesterday I mentioned that a way I stay focused is through keeping a clean room and breaking up my studies. The easiest way to do this for me is to clean up a certain number of things after each chapter. A lot of people think cleaning is a choir and something that will take forever to do, but if you make it into a challenge (let's see if I can clean 50 things in my apartment before my TV show comes back on) things really don't seem so bad. For a the question of the day, how do you make a difficult job fun? Leave a message in the comments section below :)