It’s My Job….Really?

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I love a good song ballad. Jimmy Buffett is one of the best story tellers in his songs. Oh sure, there are many pieces in his work that are just silly, but then there are jewels that slide by if you are not paying attention.
Courtesy 123rf.com
This one caught my ear. Jimmy takes a very important subject and makes you think. “It’s My Job” was released in 1981. It talks about the contrast that can be seen in the way people look at their jobs. Here are the words:

“It’s My Job”

In the middle of late last night I was sittin’ on a curb
I didn’t know what about but I was feeling quite disturbed
A street sweeper came whistlin’ by, he was bouncin’ every step
It seemed strange how good he felt
So I asked him while he swept

He said, “It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the rest
And that makes the day for me”

Got an uncle who owns a bank, he’s a self-made millionaire
He never had anyone to love, never had no one to care
He always seemed kind of sad to me
So I asked him why that was
And he told me it’s because, in my contract there’s a clause

That says, “It’s my job to be worried half to death
And that’s the thing people respect in me
It’s a job but without it I’d be less
Than what I expect from me”

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I’ve been lazy most all of my life
Writing songs and sleeping late
Any manual labor I’ve done is purely by mistake
If street sweepers can smile then
I’ve got no right to feel upset, but sometimes I still forget

Till the lights go on and the stage is set
And the song hits home and you feel that sweat

It’s my job to be different than the rest
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that’s a tough break for me

It’s my job to be cleaning up this mess
And that’s enough reason to go for me
It’s my job to be better than the best
And that makes the day for me

Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/jimmy-buffett/it-s-my-job-lyrics/#HD6yYpbLQC3YcLSX.99

I believe the contrast told in this story includes the lowly street sweeper versus the big banker. One would think the banker was happy and fulfilled while the street sweeper was discouraged and downtrodden.

Yet, the street sweeper had a remarkable happiness about his work though some would say it was a nasty, dirty job. The banker had a ‘respectable’ job, but was miserable.

I see a few lessons in this piece.

1. Who you are cannot be defined by what you do. Yes, who you really are should not be defined by what you do. The street sweeper had a very healthy sense of self. He found pride in doing his work because it was needed.

The banker let contracts define who he was going to be, and he wasn’t happy about it.

2. True happiness is not a function of the job title you hold. One of life’s greatest challenges is the ability to find happiness and encouragement despite your physical circumstances.

3. You get to choose. The funny thing about happiness is that you get to choose. In most situations I have ever encountered, my own happiness was mostly a function of what I chose to feel. In the darkest of days, I can still choose to have a happy face.

When I have success, of course it becomes easier to feel happy. However, like the banker, I might find a reason to be sad about my success. I need to choose to NOT do that.

4. It IS your job in this life to be different. I love the idea of being different. So many people struggle with that. The Bible tells us we are “uniquely and wonderfully made”. It has never made any sense to me why I would want to blend in and fit into someone else’s mold for me. NO! Be different. Make a difference!

I hope you have a reason to look at your job differently. There are so many ways we can wake up each day and make a difference in someone’s life. It should never be a function of what job you hold.

Go get ’em and make it a SUPER day!