For this past month, and especially the last two weeks, my work has dominated my wakening hours.  It has also reduced my sleeping hours as the work days stretched on.  One work stretch went from 5:00am last Friday to 3:00pm Saturday.  34 hours with no naps, no lunch hours, just the “Got to get this plant up and running and catch up the production line… this is costing us over a thousand dollars a minute to be down.” kind of pressure.  Personally, I don’t know how my “Beautiful Wife” works around the clock like this so routinely.  I am hopeful that my labor and maintenance problems at work have diminished to the point that I can begin to resume some kind of life outside of work.  

These past few days, while in the thick of battle (hiring new employees, catching up the production line, shipping out the orders, and plowing through the stack of paperwork which has been on “ignore” for much too long for Corporate’s liking), my pondering time thoughts have been on work in general. 

I love my memories of working on our farm.  With no child labor laws applying to family farms, I can’t remember NOT working.  But for the most part, I didn’t think of it as work.  I was just out helping Dad, and my brothers on the farm.  Much later, when I was about 12 years old, I got my first paying job from another farmer.  For 6 cents per 40 foot pipe, every morning at 5:00am and again at 5:00pm, I got to move sprinkler irrigation lines across the field to water the crops.  Other outside jobs followed.  I was a movie projectionist, a lights and sound man at the local college, along with many other personal projects I did in my spare time.  Mechanics, photography, electronics, you name it… I always had something going. 

In the years since, as a manager, I have hired and worked with hundreds if not a thousand or more people.  I am always intrigued with how an individual reacts to a job.  Generally, a new hire (whether they are new to the workforce, or just new to that particular job), said all the right things in the interview and is happy and excited to GET the job.  It takes about as long as it takes for them to really learn how to do the job, and how they fit into the organization, to separate the wheat from the chaff.  It doesn’t matter if they are entry level (first time ever employees), management, or something in between, there is plenty of chaff mixed in with the wheat when it comes to workers. 

I am thankful for the strong work ethic in my childhood home.  The very stringent child labor laws have done many children a disservice just as no child labor laws disserved the children of my ancestors.  As I watch many young adults, fresh out of school, trying to make it in the world, I wonder what makes a few workaholics, while many experience work culture shock. 

Because I have studied my family history, I know where my strong work ethic comes from.  Samuel Webster and John Smith in the British coal mines.  Harald, Christoffer, and my other Norwegian ancestors out on the oceans of the world battling for their lives in leaky ships.  John Everett, my Prussian ancestor who at the age of 13, left home never to see his family again to work as a sailor.  Johann Tillack who was a farmer from Prussia, who chased after the gold fields of Australia in 1855.  Jorgen Jensen, my Danish ancestor who always was a farmer, even when he immigrated to America.  Frank Rubbra, who at the age of 16, left his Eastern Canadian home, joined the Canadian Mounted Police, and ended up going to South Africa to fight in the Boar War.  All these and the many more that were not mentioned have given me a legacy of work.  If it’s in the genes, then I should be an all time classic workaholic.  I should look into the ancestry of my “Beautiful Wife”.  There must be some awesome untold work stories from her genetic past.

Obviously, the key to a happy work life is to do something that you love doing.  Like too many others, economics and a changing world has forced me to trade what I loved to do (continuing our family farm), to something that I like to do.  Too bad I can’t get paid for storytelling.  Then I would be a workaholic comparable to my “Beautiful Wife”.    

19 thoughts on “Work”

  1. I work at Wal-Mart so you know I’ve seen first hand what ‘culture shock’ can do to these poor young people who put all their effort into whining about how hard it is to work at Wal-Mart…LOL!  I whine, because I have to go home and there is still work to be done….Not enogh hours in the day. Love your storytelling. How awsome to know your family history and have all those great pictures. Thanks for stopping by, I love to see new faces visit my site. And yes, Vallerie is beautiful..inside and out.

  2. It is hard for our young ones to find that balance of work.. some over do with work and study, and burn out.. others want to work more but can’t because of their age.. My son is in the middle of this.. he wants to work more hours but because of his age, the companies are afriad of the labor laws.. he falls right between the 14 to 16 year olds.. and is just under 18.. I hope that his wanting to work at this age does not falter because he is being denied..
    I have always thought that part of the high school years.. the children should have to work on a farm.. builds strength in so many ways.. but then maybe  its because I was raised on farm..  😉
    so happy you stopped in once again..
    Hope that your work load even’s its self out soon.. God bless soft hugs ~Hope

  3. It is definately important to learn how to live first,not how to work for us.
    I agree with your opion of work:find a job we like .sometimes i found people are not ready for job,but they choose one hurriedly.It is not wise,i think.An aricle I read yesterday says: we mustn’t sell our soul,just keep our personality and original idea about life.

  4. One aspect of genealogy is that you become less judgemental of the laws that existed when our ancestors were alive. I am sure they would liked to have done an 8 hour shift, had 3 weeks holiday a year and shopped at walmart[?] ! My grandmother left school at 12 and was working 14 hour days,6 days a week. My point is that to them it was normal.  No factory acts, no health and safety, no television!

  5. ah yes, the old work ethic….  it’s enough to drive those who do not have it crazy when meeting those of us that do in the work place…  and being able to retire after marrying MR. Guppie 4 years ago took a little adjustment but how well I enjoy it.  I agree that many folks today do not have that work ethic.  One sees help wanted signs all over, and we are told no one wants to work… sad.. but true.  have a good week. lottiemae

  6. Hello StoryTeller !!The Queen here is a little slow hehe, i am just now figuring out that your are the lucky man to be married to Princess Bake Alot …AKA Val !!  Congrats on the beautiful new Grand daughter, she is absolutely adorable.
    Nice site you have here, mine is private but i am sending you an invitation to Crash the Castle !!!

  7. Hello, i received your request to come into the parlor i think on friday i came by but got bothered by work so i got side tracked sorry.  I am pretty sure i granted access for you & now that i know Princess Bake Alot is your wife it is my pleasure to have a visit from you.  She is wonderful none of us can figure out how she does all that she does we only know that you must be a very happy man to have such a good woman 🙂  I am a little short on time right now to catch up but i have read a few things & will be back to read more.  I also must go say good morning to your princess 🙂  Wishing you a wonderful day & let Vall know if you have problems getting into my site & i will check on it thank you Nathalie aka Princess Pout Alot

  8. Hi Again,
    Yes, it’s great to work hard, especially if you enjoy your work, but you must also balance that with fun and relaxation. Tough to do I know.

  9. Good Morning, StoryTeller…
    I thoroughly enjoyed the way you married the story of your work ethic and experience with those of your forebears… I only know enough about my family history to know it’s mostly German, which explains my tendency toward stubborn, bullheadedness, I guess.
    When I landed my job of ten years, working as a propagator in a greenhouse, it felt as though I’d come full circle in my life–my maternal randfather was an avid organic gardener and some of my strongest memories are of Grandpa working in his huge garden. I remember carrots wiped clean on his denim overalls until they were clean enough to eat and munching them, right out of the garden. I recall helping him harvest tomatoes and green beans…even the green beans were delicious, freshly picked and eaten raw. As I worked in the greenhouse, I found myself imagining Grandpa watching me as I worked, pleased that a little part of him lived on as I worked. Nothing in my family experience prepared me for the loss of my job to the two immigrant ladies I didn’t realize I’d been training to do my work.
    So I’m writing now, telling my stories as you tell yours: we both have something to say, and I am enjoying your stories of how the past shaped you into the person you are today. That is one of the best kinds of stories a human being may relate.
    Peace and love, always…

  10. Hi Storyteller,
    Don’t worry about me running away, I was going to go to my great aunts house, they lived about 2 miles out of town, and I knew I could walk that far,haha.
    Would you believe that I know some women who pride themselves on NOT cooking!! I always want to ask, but don’t you like to eat??? (Unfortunately, I like to eat desserts more than anything,lol)

  11. Hi: I am letting you know that I have reviewed your space on my spacewalk space. I put very deserving spaces there and yours really fit the bill to a tee! I love that you say you are a bad typer and speller and then your
    space is so well done. Congrats for blogging these three months..hope you stay around a lot have
    something important for people to read.  CONGRATS AGAIN……..   Caroldee   :  )  PS if there is anything you wish for me to add to the review or change feel free to contact my e-mail.

  12. work ethic…can it be passed on?…what causes us to forsake it?…fail to instill it?…how much does events drive it? some will quit when faced with hard times, others will persist to the death…  some convince themselves of their existence by the reflection they make…by what they do…what does it mean to be lazy? sometimes I can think of no good reason to labor on…and yet I do anyway… sometimes I feel buried so deep that I feel like I will never see daylite again…then work is almost an escape, a place where I dont have the time to recognize my fears…which are meaningless unless I dwell upon them… I guess then work is the medicine for the troubled soul…and the only way into the future we envision…either way it sure beats a complete lack of motion..

  13. I am so proud of you for being a great Dad!!!  It’s a breath of fresh air, not to read blogs about unimportant things, like reality TV shows, etc. 

  14. Hey…I just read your blog/story…very nice…..and touching. Feels like Your entire family has lots of warmth within! I have a business idea I would like to share with you. Send me an email at Looking forward to hear from you.
    Take care

  15. i really like ur "storytelling" makes me want to go back in time and pick at my earliest memories.  U have a beautiful family.  Just lovely. 

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