I know an accomplished, hardworking, popular teenager who just turned down a job offer. Why? Well, it was the desired retail job, but it would have required working weekends, andÂ “Weekends are my time.” Now, this might be a sign that I’m old, but much as I like the kid, I couldn’t help it: I laughed out loud and repeated it somewhat incredulously.
And regardless of the rest of this I have to point out that Â I feelÂ badly about that, because that was bad manners.Â But since then, that rationale, and my reaction to it, have stuck in my head.
On the one hand, I firmly believe in the value of the hustle. I’ve been working my whole life – including eight years in retail starting when I was 15 (yes, I worked weekends). I’ve been paid to wear a whistle, steel-toed boots, a hoopskirt, rubber gloves, and many nametags. Â I’ve changed diapers without number. I’ve written millions of words. I’veÂ dealt with every variety of surly human being under the sun – customer, supervisor, employee.
Knowing how to work – how to get it, how to do it, how to appreciate it, and how to get a better job next time – is an incalculably precious skill set. It both requires and develops patience, humility, a sense of timing, and an understanding of human nature.
That said, it was pointed out to me recently – not for the first time – by a very dear, very tactful friend, that I can overschedule myself.Â This is quite true.
So, on the other hand, perhaps there’s something to be said for realizing right out of the gate that your working life is going to require boundaries, and you’re going to have to be the one to set them. Maybe my acquaintance, half my age, is smarter than me.
What do you think?