It is Sunday, and I am getting a few orders ready to ship out on Monday morning. On Saturday I called my friend and former employee Jose to assemble a product I have sold for almost 20 years, the Texas Grill Brush. Moreover, like he normally does he was happy to do so, he arrived early Sunday while others in my neighborhood slept.
I think it is important to understand that the reason I ask Jose is simple, he appreciates the opportunity. The “ opportunity.“ , which could lead to something else, maybe he has no choice, he needs to work and being picky about what that work is… well, it is not an option.
He is an inspiring individual; his struggle is real, he is like so many living on the margin of the American dream. I am no longer his employer and have my own challenges, but they pale in comparison to his. So I do what I can to support him. He will get 30-50 dollars for the time he spent on Sunday. Did he complain, absolutely not, he just did the work? Was the work inspiring, aspirational or serving some greater cause, no not really.
What fascinates me is that work is not viewed as an opportunity any longer. I look at Linkedin profiles and realize that it is a progression, some of my earliest menial jobs shaped me as an individual. The “ opportunity” of working always taught me something new.
I am realistic; my kids would not jump at the chance to assemble a few grill brushes on a Sunday. None of their friends have jumped at the chance either. It is hard work, for an un-romantic product, but Jose could care less he just shows up and knocks out the work and collects his money. He is so dependable and has an attitude that I wish I could bottle and sell.
He is a hustler; he works when you call and is always smiling. He told me today that he is worried about what will happen to guys like him. I wish I had more work for beautiful human beings like him. See just work itself is meaningful for Jose, that is about all he needs, having the “ opportunity “ to work makes him happy.