So yesterday we bought a new to us van.
This was not the way I intended to start the day. But the van had another go around this weekend and the cost for the repairs reached the point that it was more than the van would be worth - and that would be if there were no other issues with it. Even I am forced to work on some level of financial sense in that respect.
But that is not really the point of today's post.
While I was there, I asked our salesman - a younger sort of fellow - how he ended up selling cars.
This is a question I have learned to ask others, especially in situations where I do not otherwise know what to say. I am always interested in how people ended up where they are, especially in something like car sales, where it is not a career that a lot of people think of going into.
He said he had been doing it about three years and had sort of stumbled into it - had been doing manual labor sorts of jobs up to that point and a friend asked him if he wanted to try it. "I was nervous about walking up to people and asking them if they wanted to spend money" he said "but then someone told me 'that is what they are there for -to spend money.'" He said the rewarding part of the job was helping people get cars when they thought their credit was too poor and that overall he did not mind the work too much.
The only thing that he did mind a bit was theyhours - six days a week with one day off. He is a hunter and said that it made it more difficult with only one day off (Sunday), but what were you going to do.
The one day off thought buried itself in my brain as we moved to the finance manager - mid-forties, a four year old daughter. Chatting away with him as we filled out the innumerable forms and signed I glanced above his desk at his schedule: six days a week with Tuesdays off in his case.
By the time were done we had probably exceeded both of these gentlemen's scheduled hours by 40 minutes.
It has been a long time since I have had to work anything more than five days a week - and it is now almost 7 years beyond the days of having no job at all and over 10 years since the days of the Firm, where income did not really match expenses. In my forgetful sort of way, I do not recall as often as I should what those days were like - or even worse, the days before I came into the industry at all where I was working retail and teaching to make ends meet.
There is nothing more noble about working six days any more than there is something more valuable about working five days- the thing that stuck with me as I drove home - that feeling of effort and doing what it takes to make ends meet.
I complain - probably more than I should - about what I do right now. There are seemingly numberless reasons why things are not what they should be (and if you have read here long enough, you may be familiar with some of them). But for all of that I have a lot of benefits that lots of others do not have, like only working five days a week or vacation or even reasonable benefits.
Am I thankful for them? Or am I always consumed by how inconvenient things feel and how unhappy I think I am, wanting something more fulfilling? Perhaps the fulfillment is not so much in what I do but in what it allows me to do. Perhaps if I looked more to the benefits of what it accomplishes in my life and less about how I feel I might change perspective.
Because I am sure to a great many number of people out there, 5 days a week that covered the bills would seem like the promised land.