Integrity at Work

I started working at twelve years old. My siblings and I each delivered a local neighborhood paper. We had to roll the newspapers ourselves, which led to all of us sporting inky fingers for days. Though the leftover plastic wrappings made excellent water balloons.

Delivering papers taught me two things: 1) Do not pick other people’s flowers. I did not make the best decisions at twelve, shockingly, and could not resist flower buds. I learned my lesson quickly. 2) If you do not ask, you will receive nothing. If we wanted money, we had to knock on people’s doors and ask for a donation. Most people paid you better when it poured rain outside.

Anyway, I have held a job in some form or another since the tender age of twelve. I recently started a new job at an institution I admired from afar. Since working there, my admiration quickly dimmed.

Funny how proximity kills glamour.

Behind the curtain hides a meaningless bureaucracy and people who do not seem to like each other. In my division, the director only started two years ago. Within that time frame, all the full-time staff quit. All the full-time postings, with two exceptions, became part-time temporary.

In my short time period at this posting, I realized that I struggle to relate with people who do not care about quality. Look, it is just a job, not my identity. But I still strive to keep my work professional and quality focused. No matter how menial the details matter, and if people do not care about the end product or the process, things fall through cracks.

What happened to integrity and personal responsibility?

If you dislike the job, do what you can to get another one. But do not give up on the one you have, losing one job while looking for another solves nothing.

In my short life, I have noticed that my fellow humans adapt to terrible jobs. We all, myself included, justify bad situations because trying to change takes work. I realized today I complain way too much and do not take enough action. Looking around at my coworkers, I do not wish to emulate the behavior and career trajectory of those around me at the moment.

This is not a bash on my coworkers. Most of them seem like lovely people, enjoyable to work with on most days. Yet everyone in the office has something they dislike about their current situations. But no one talks about solving their problems.

Take some pride in yourself. Want to change? First work on improving the quality of your output. Second, find something else to do outside of work that does not involve computer screens. Get outside, see nature. We all spend too much time inside.

Finally, move on. Jobs end, but it is not your life. Take some pride in your work. Read the labels. Always strive to leave a solid, positive impression of your work no matter the job.

Apologies for the lack of posting, I seem to lose track of time.

Actually, I probably need to stop scrolling through news articles on Facebook. What a time vortex!


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Phillip McCollum

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