Sometimes, doing a job can be like doing a dance.
I work in production. What this means to me is the act of making a product, in sequence. People learn different positions in the sequence, and then they do it, over and over and over again. I’m sure there are lots of jobs like this all over the world.
In my case, I can’t talk about what I help make. Anyway, due to cutbacks in the government, our production has slowed considerably. At least half our personnel have been laid off. I myself was put on a three week furlough. When I returned, quota was seriously low.
I am used to lots of activity, continually challenging myself to work faster, more efficiently, more accurately. Now, the pace is much more relaxed, and I find it harder to stay alert and focused during my 10 hour shift.
(This time does not include my 45 minute lunch break, by the way. It amazes me when I encounter people who just take for granted they will get a paid lunch. I guess that says a lot about me, who’s never had a job that pays a person for eating. I don’t know.)
Anyway, often I find my eyes drooping, losing focus. That’s when I’m grateful for a personnel absence, or any extra bit of work. Something that lets me get that groove back. That hustle.
But after many weeks of being rather slothful, I found it hard to find that hustle again. It made me conscious of the process of gearing up and I thought I might blog about it, while I wait for my clothes to dry.
First, I must combat the physical feelings of weariness. This is an issue when you have been working hard all week, or when you are drastically doing less work than previously. I’ve been using a shortened type of affirmation. I just say words that I associate with having hustle. Energy. Focus. Vital. Lively. Alert.
My brain might be very simple, but I urge you to try this. Just say words silently to yourself, words that you associate with the feeling or attitude or aptitude you wish to have.
Then, I channel Sarah. To watch Sarah work is to be amazed. Imagine a sewing machine going at, I don’t know, half speed. Saying she is like a machine is not quite right. She is so very smooth and human.When I need to perform, I visualize Sarah’s swift movements and strive to copy them.
I’ve worked next to Sarah a few times in the morning and talked to her about her amazing ability. I don’t know if she does this every morning, or if my compliment made her think about what she does too much, but she became a bit fumble fingered. Not to a detrimental effect, just short of her normal flowing pace.
I’ve experienced this a bit when I begin gearing up. I don’t fumble, I just can’t find my rhythm. My muscles are tight. I am really trying. I am whipping myself. But true, efficient speed cannot come until it is natural, smooth, unthinking.
That’s a trip, right. A thinking person just turning off and just doing. Sort of like meditation, maybe. My understanding is that you attempt to turn off and just be. (I am most certainly wrong. I tend to paraphrase things in my mind and often go right off the track.)
I’m going to bet a lot of people reading this are thinking, I could never do a job like that! Doing the same thing over and over would bore me to death. I couldn’t stand it! I want to be an internet entrepreneur. I want to find my bliss and make money doing what I love.
More power to you, I say. I myself started this blog hoping to generate interest in a novel I have yet to complete. I have very detailed ideas about being my own boss.
But consider that shirt you are wearing, those pants. Consider that burger you bought for lunch. Consider the container you pour your shampoo from. This stuff was made for you by people. Hopefully by people getting paid a decent wage with medical benefits, but when you buy your stuff from China, well…
I’m sure a lot of people making these things for you are bored by their job, but they have to pay the bills. Maybe they feel stuck and only live for the weekends. Only dream of escape.
I’ve been there. Heck, I didn’t even have Saturdays and Sundays off for many years. I was doing good when I could swing two days in a row off. I was the person in the chain hair salon styling your hair for peanuts, hoping for a good tip.
I thought I was miserable, but as I look back on it, styling hair was fun. It was cool, all the different people I met and worked with. I got to be creative. I got to get out of my own head.
And I like doing production. I like doing my part to make a thing of worth. I like being able to listen to an audio book or music while I work, being able to day dream all day. I like the people I work for. I like the people I work with. And, I like to hustle!
I recently tuned into some Fleet Foxes lyrics, “And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be/A functioning cog in some great machinery/serving something beyond me.”
That started me thinking. Of course this contrasts with Bog Seger who feels like a number. Or Huey Lewis working for a living. But I can get into that lyric. I can get into my life.