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Kicking the mud of others off your work shoes

July 5, 2013

During the Depression of the thirties, my grandparents owned a bakery, and she was on her knees, scrubbing the floor, when my grandmother said a woman who was a “rich lady” entered the store and said, “Stella don’t you feel ashamed about being on your knees cleaning the floor.” And my grandmother snapped, “No, I’d be ashamed if I was on my knees cleaning your floor.”

There are a-ha moments and touche moments.

After going through cancer and chemo it put me in touch with voices. I’ve been struggling and doing many jobs that are beneath my abilities and talents, but I’m doing whatever it takes. One humiliating moment came to me, I was at a winery, and spent the day stacking cases and carrying out garbage and recyclables, and then at an event, where we were serving food and wine to people we wound up with roughly $70 in tips between the three people working the event. I wasn’t there for the first hour of the event, but they weren’t taking out the garbage or stacking boxes either. And the women in charge decided on handing me $9. I was completely humiliated. I wanted to throw the money down at her feet and leave. It was an insult. But I took the hit. But when I came home I was emotionally devastated–and this is after having chemo. Why? Because this was being done to my life. I was angry at myself for being in this situation and deeply hurt that I was treated this way. That said more about her than me. Game over. And all I could do right now, was keep working there. But part of me was done there, and no going back. I took this hit because I had chosen to work there, just like I chose chemo. I would get through this the same way. It became one of those jobs where you would never spend the money you earned there.But still…

The next day, I was at the winery cleaning glasses, and my body tingled along the edges, and I knew it was my grandmother, who was proud that I was willing to look past the slight, and continue to work hard to face my responsibilities and eventually get out of there. She was smiling and saying, “Fritzie, working for the money. He’s not running away.”

In the business world, there are things that are unforgivable. But I will not carry them. I value my life. I’m not marking myself down on anyone’s shelf. They don’t belong in my canteen.

They can keep the consequences of their deed, I will develop the kindness to others they don’t have. Just like chemo, some jobs have side effects!

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