Andy’s Newspaper column archive

Title: What's the big deal about a job?  ©

Before we get to the job thing and what the big deal is, I have to schlog through a bit of personal history. It begins with my first

business. It was located in front of my parent's apartment at 24-32 Calamus Ave in Queens, New York. It was a lemonade stand my mom set up for me. I was, after all, just four years old. It was just a card table, a hand written ad sign on cardboard and a chair. A glass of ice cold lemonade was 2 cents. I only remember one customer, a man in a suit and fedora standing at the curb. He spoke with me while having his drink. My lemonade business shut down later that day, forever.

My next job was helping Dad when he was laying cement block walls for the basement of our new country home in Mastic Beach. I pestered him until he said I could help. My first order was to get him a plane. "You know what a plane is Andrew?" he asked. “Yes, yes, 'll be right back. It's in the shed.” I came back with my toy airplane. My firing was post haste and not pretty.

There was no more work until I was twelve years old. I became a proud 'Newsday', newspaper delivery boy. I had my own Road master bike with a basket and large saddlebags across the rear fender. Just like the Postman, I delivered in rain, sleet or snow. My customer list was kept in a little book of delivery dates. It was my guide for collections at the end of every month. I was good at collections and always delivered on time. I loved my job.

At fourteen Dad employed me in his radio and TV store. It was about as big as a bedroom but there was inventory to sell, devices to repair and customers to service. It was my first day on this job. Dad went out on a service call while I stayed behind to mind the store. A man came in to buy some lead in wire but no prices were marked. I had no idea what to charge. We dickered and we eventually settled on four cents a foot. Upon Dad’s return I related what happened and I gave him the money. I had charged 3.5 cents too much and he hoped the guy would come back so he could return most of his money. He never returned. My Dad spoke of this often.

I eventually became skilled in the business and even at that early age I discovered that the company did not exist so I could have a job. It was my job to keep the company in business so I would have a job. It was always foremost in my mind that we had to make enough money to say in business and so there would be enough money to pay me. For this reason, I never slacked at this job or any job I ever Had.

There has never been a job I didn’t like. It was always important to me to do a good job, make it fun and interesting and engage my friends and fellow workers to do the same. It didn't matter what was involved. My first job in the Air Force during Basic Training was to clean the Latrine. Everyone laughed when I was assigned as Permanent Latrine Orderly. My first reaction was how I could do the work. What happened next was a surprise. Two other trainees were assigned to me as workers, I was their supervisor. I was so good at the job that I never pulled, KP, Bivouac or other crappy duties. I actually asked to pull KP and was allowed once. That was where I learned to crack eggs with one hand. The joy of it all.

There has never been ajob I didn’t like. Actually, I got my high’s from every success during my working life. I loved work so much I took on extra work away from my regular jobs because they looked interesting. The bonus was that I always learned new stuff. When work is interesting and fun it becomes almost addictive. I never realized it until my wife complained that I always had five projects going on at once, with two more waiting to replace any that I had finished.

After all this I have come to one conclusion. Work for me was never drudgery. It was rewarding. Even school was something I looked forward to attending. That’s when I discovered that school was my job and I neded to give it my best efforts. To this day it surprises me that some people don’t like work. That’s the big deal about a job, it makes life interesting. Maybe that’s why Government is intent on putting so many people on welfare and similar programs. They want the jobs for themselves. The issue with alcohol, drugs and today’s welfare system is that it is an escape from the joy of success or the lessons of failure. Mick Jagger said it best in a song: “I can’t get no, satisfaction”, although he wasn’t referring to a lack of a job.

The big deal about a job is, all work, no matter what kind, can bring satisfaction. It’s about setting goals, creating a road map to achieve them and then setting new ones when you’re done. That is so satisfying. Even failure to achieve a goal doesn’t have to be devastating. It can be exhilarating. Of course failure can be devastating so you need to find a way to make it work for you. Treat every event as a learning experience and resolve never to do it that way again or just avoid it altogether. Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn’t like. I never had a job I didn’t like. The big deal about a job is simply an opportunity to get satisfaction. It’s an experience worth working for. Try it, you’ll like

Andrew Alberti Jr