Consider the Privilege of Working
By Molly Gardner Burgess, President, RedFusion Media, Inc.
Often, friends and relatives react with comments of extreme sympathy when they learn that I am working on the weekend or a holiday. ‘That’s terrible!’ ‘I’m so sorry to hear that,’ and ‘You need to take some time off for yourself,’ is the resounding cry.
But, I consider it a privilege. People in small business get the privilege of working whenever they want to – any 12 hours of any day.
I think back to our grandparents and beyond and realize that I really have a wonderful way of working. I have a pleasant office near great restaurants that is air conditioned and heated. Plus, I can listen to fabulous music as I work. None of my ancestors had all of that.
I think of my grandmother, Hattie Hyde Gardner, who was one of the first women to graduate with a degree in mathematics from the University of Oregon. She worked with her children and husband building bridges in Alaska and Washington. She helped grandpa with the engineering math, then did all the cooking for the work crews in the camp. She had a small camp cook stove, fueled with wood that had to be chopped, and she worked from before dawn until dark in tents with none of the amenities that we have.
Grandma, like most men and women before her, worked hard all their lives, taking some time off on Sunday for church. That’s the work ethic our country was built on. You worked to eat, to survive, and to get ahead.
Even if the work is hard, hot, and boring, workers can take pride in their accomplishments. They built something, fixed something, or helped someone. Progress is made through workers’ efforts.
I recently saw an interview with an intern of Fox News. She wanted her unpaid internship so badly that she was willing to commute from her home nearWashingtonD.C.to her job inNew York City, daily. She rode the bus 4 hours to work and 4 hours back—then worked as a restaurant server to pay for the privilege.
Exactly 150 years ago, on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the proclamation which set the precedent for our national day of Thanksgiving. The Proclamation came at a time of great suffering due to the Civil War. Families were often separated, many had lost their homes and possessions, and people were mourning the injuries or deaths of loved ones due to the events of war.
In the midst of these burdens, Lincoln could still see reasons to be thankful. He mentions the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies and considers it remarkable that peace had been preserved with all foreign nations, order had been maintained, and laws had been respected and obeyed. And so the last Thursday of November became our national day of Thanksgiving. (To read Lincoln’s proclamation, visit www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/thanks.htm.)
Many people will celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional way (with family and friends, a feast and football). Others will have the privilege of working on Thanksgiving.
Those of us at RedFusion are thankful for the work we do: for the privilege of doing good and helpful work for our valued clients. Despite the hurdles that small businesses face, (you know the list of complaints) it’s still a privilege to work.