So I started writing this post with the story about a little, red hen baking bread for some ungrateful townsfolk who absolutely refuse to help do any of the work and want only to enjoy the outcome. I had planned to draw out this comparison between myself and the hen but it all got a little ridiculos and it seemed to ramble on and on so I killed it for the Cliffs Notes version.
In the original tale, the story ends when the hen is all like “Hell’s nah, biotches” and eats all the bread herself.
In my version, the hen does all the work, the townsfolk do all the enjoying, and in the end, the hen is left standing like an idiot without anything to show for her months of hard work.
Last week ended with the most unsatisfying, unpleasant moment in my professional life to date and I’m extremely unhinged about the whole thing. I won’t get into details, but I will say that I gave my life for months to single-handedly plan and execute every detail of an important company event only to have my efforts go almost completely unnoticed by the people who sign my paycheck.
Sometimes(more recently than ever) I wonder if this whole get up and go to work every day thing is really worth it. Right now, I honestly don’t know the answer.
I am extremely grateful to have the job that I do. I enjoy the work and have accomplished more in the year and a half that I’ve been here than in the previous three years combined. I have worked my way into a position that is secure and demanding and never, ever boring, BUT, and this is a big but, the return on time and energies invested is painfully minimal.
Maybe I shouldn’t care as much as I do. Maybe pouring so much of my time and attention into every little detail is the wrong way to go. Maybe but I don’t think so.
I refuse to believe that only doing enough to get by is anything to be proud of. I won’t lower my expectations for myself and allow half-ass work to be acceptable. I just can’t believe old-fashioned smarts and hard work aren’t as valuable in today’s corporate environment as manipulation, cheating or sex appeal.
I guess I’m just naieve or stupid or both. Probably both.
And if that’s the case, what’s the point? Let’s say I was even able to discard my moral compass or toss my code of ethics out the window to lie, steal or charm my way through life, what does that get me? More money? Why is that the end all, be all? What is this all-powerful hold money has over us?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first to complain that the amount or quality of my work is not equally proportionate to the figure on my paycheck. I’ll tell anyone who will listen that the value of my work doesn’t really equal what my company feels it is worth. Believe me, I WANT to get paid.
But money won’t fix my ills or make me happy. In fact, money isn’t the answer to anyone’s problem. Why are things more important than people? Why would anyone be willing to sacrifice the relationships with their husbands, wives, kids, or friends to the alter of the almighty dollar? Money won’t love you back, people, but it might turn the people you love against you.
And now I’m preaching. Sorry. Stepping down from my soap-box.
So, what would you do? I know I’m going to keep grinding the grain and baking the bread, just like that little old hen, because I have to. It’s what I do. But the next time I do all the work, I’ll be damned if I let anyone else take the biggest bite.