By Barry Maher
For the most part, Tim Hennessy likes his job on the production line, but sometimes it can become tedious.
“That’s when I have my lunch out in the sunshine on the back patio,” he says. “I watch the migrants in the field next door. Bent over and planting or fertilizing or tending or picking the strawberries. Whatever they do, they’re always bent over. I know that every once in a while they look up and look over at the factory where I work and dream of having a job like mine. They dream of making the kind of money I do. And dream of having the kind of benefits I have. And dream being cool in the summer and warm in the winter. And dream of being dry when it rains. And dream of being clean; they never even get to wash up for lunch. I’ve got a dream job—and I never want to forget that.”
Too many of us who have spent our lives as professionals don’t really understand what real, backbreaking work is. And how little it pays. And what it is to be truly stuck in a life, knowing that you’re never likely to be able to do any better, never likely to be able to earn any more.
Just as death focuses the mind wonderfully, so—I can assure you—does standing up to your knees in overflowing sewage, holding an electric drain rooter with a badly frayed cord. It was at just that point in my life when I suddenly realized on a gut level why my father had worked so hard to send me and my brothers and sisters to college.
Your life right now may be somebody else’s dream. For those of you who live in the U.S. or Canada or a number of other places in the industrialized world, I guarantee your life is somebody else’s dream. A lot of somebody elses. That doesn’t mean you’ve reached your dream. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try for your dream.
It does mean that there are a whole lot of other people who would change places with you in half a heartbeat.