Physical labor

srp i cekic

This week I am thinking about people whose job description depends on physical labor. I am thinking about people who work on construction sites in different weather conditions. I am thinking about people who paint walls, make pavements, clean office and domestic spaces, iron, etc. I am thinking about people in service industry working as waiters, cooks, bakers, beauticians, etc.

A few days ago, I accepted a one-day cleaning job. It was nine hours of work minus half an hour rest time. It was eight and a half hours of manual labor. With each step, I thought the next stage is going to be easier – doors are not going to be that hard to clean, but it did not get easier. Each step was a challenge. Towards the end of the day, I was getting tired, but the work was done, and the place was perfectly clean.

I gained several things from experience:

  1. I manage to perform the work I agreed with a person who offered it to me. I realized I was not that tired as I thought I would be even my ankles and shoulders did ache at the end of the day.
  2. I worked in a team. A working colleague was fantastic. She was charming and fun, and she was willing to advise. I hope I inspired her in some way. She thought being a storyteller and writer is a pretty good thing.
  3. It reminded me of my ancestors who worked hard manual jobs most of there lives. My grandfather Nikola worked in the forest as a lumberjack, my grandmother Maca (short from Marta) was a housewife. Also, they grow vegetables, crops, and cattle for food or sale to earn money to buy clothing and other necessities for the numerous family (11 in total).

I realized that I draw inspiration from my ancestors. I see my grandmother Maca as an excellent manager who raised nine children. She moved around all the time. All of my uncles and aunts but one finished high school. From there life, I can learn persistence and patience. From my experience, I can learn that a job, career, passion done with skill, knowledge, persistence pays in the long run.

It got me thinking that in Croatia it is not honorable to do any job honestly, based on skill, experience, and knowledge. For the past several decades the most important skill to become rich and famous in Croatia was to be „flexible“ (to cheat, steal and play dirty without scruple) and to be well connected.

I have nothing against flexibility when it helps a person to respond quickly to change in the business environment or to use the new circumstances to solve an arising problem or a need. I have nothing against healthy networks which help the development of business ideas and growth.

I want to see a change in perception and consciousness where knowledge, education, skill, persistence, etc. are valued and desired.

I want to see younger generation to speak about scientist, artists, healthy entrepreneurs, ancestors as there models and somebody they can look up while growing and deciding about there life path.

I want to contribute to that change with my own experience and path.

Photo – my collection, from the exhibition „ja sam“/“I am“, work of the artist Berković Denis.