Work isn’t supposed to be easy. If it was, it wouldn’t be called “work.” 

My father used to tell me how good it felt to be tired after a day of hard work. And even though I am not laboring manually like he did throughout his life, I wholeheartedly agree. Our muscles and our mind should both be used to their fullest most every day. We also need time to rest, relax and rejuvenate — a renewal of sorts. This is what author Stephen Covey called time to “sharpen the saw.” After a quick sharpening, we should then get back to our chosen work or purpose.

My former boss and business partner, Michael Gartner, has often said that 20% of every job stinks. He says it doesn’t matter what the job is, it won’t be perfect. There will always be lousy work days, probably one out of five every week — and that’s normal. He has also said if more than 20% of a job stinks, it might be time to look for another one. Unfortunately, for employers and employees, we live in a world where some staff members continually seek new jobs with unrealistic expectations that the next job will be the perfect fit. There is no such thing. 

I am fortunate that I have a job I thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to going to work every day. Yes, some days stink, but I relish those challenges, too. From writing to editing to designing to selling to distributing (and more), this job provides plenty of variety. But what can appear to some folks to be the simplest of jobs can also be quite satisfying. Russell Martinson proved it. 

In his “retirement,” Russell worked in our mailroom at a printing plant I managed in Syracuse, Nebraska, a few decades ago. Years prior, he was a WWII veteran, owned and operated a sanitation business for more than 30 years and was a volunteer fireman. But what amazed me the most about him was his respect for work. He was a stern man, but he greeted me every day with, “Good morning, Mr. Goodman.” Keep in mind, I was half his age. Russell organized the mail room floor, moving postal cages and keeping supplies ready for who were processing jobs. He was in his seventies at the time, but you wouldn’t have known it by his work ethic.

Some may have seen Russell’s job as mundane, but he took great pride in every task, and not just at work. We had a company cookout each summer, and Russell would come to the picnic in the July Nebraska heat in a shirt and tie. He was a man of few words, but he would seek me out each time, firmly shake my hand, look me in the eyes, and say, “Thank you for the picnic, and for my job.”

Russell died in 2018 at the age of 93. He, like my father, Michael Gartner and others I admire, knew the definition of work and that it wasn’t supposed to be easy. He also left a wonderful example of respect and loyalty to all who knew him and to those who are reading about him now. 

Have a fantastic Friday, and, as always, thank you for reading.

Shane Goodman
Editor and Publisher
Times Vedette digital editions