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Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Here & Now #82: Work ethics

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Here & Now 82 picS Sorrensen

My place. Monday, 7.05pm

I work pretty hard.

Like a lot of modern people, I have more than one job. It’s an economic necessity in these hard times. If I had children I would have to work them in the mines. (Oh, actually, some are working in the mines.)

But if you want what’s really important in life, such as a 4WD that can mount Uluru, attract smiling women, and deliver freedom, then you’ve got to work.

If you want a house the size of classical Athens (with a statue of Zeus in the garden), then you’ve got to work.

If you want a week in exotic Bali so you can get some real Aussie culture, then you’ve got to work.

I work pretty damn hard.

That doesn’t mean I work all day in the shop, gulp down a bowl of rice at closing time while changing into my overalls, ride my pushbike downtown to work the night shift at the iPhone factory till 3am, then crawl home to sleep for three hours on a bed of bubble wrap before again tying on the apron for shop duties. No, I’m Australian. I buy phones, I don’t make them.

But I work pretty hard at my various jobs. I’m conscientious and, most of the time, conscious. (Except for when I popped three aspirin to combat a shiraz headache, but they turned out to be Valium. Anyway, no harm done – I was in management.)

Now, if you add all my jobs together it’s almost like full-time (with maybe three sickies). Okay, it may only be a short working week compared to your average working class hero, but it’s a really intense two days. Right now, after a second day (in a row!) dedicated to making the already rich richer, I’m exhausted. And now I have a column to write. Oh dear.

And because it’s only two days, I make sacrifices: I don’t have a 4WD that attracts smiling women – mine attracts smiling mechanics. I don’t have a large house with a divine statue – I have a shack with an ungodly bottle pile. I don’t go to Bali – I went to Ballina once for Thai.

I work hard.

Like today, I had to get up (even though I didn’t feel like it), make my own breakfast (it’s sad that at my age I have traded the obligations that come with hot-breakfast-made-by-a-significant-other for the freedom to eat dry Sultana Bran alone), drive to Lismore, work nine to.. well, three (with only an hour off for lunch… and 20 minutes for morning tea), before driving back home to slave away at a column. Whew. I’m a workaholic. (Or is that working alcoholic?)

And, it’s not just a one-off; I’ll have to do it all again next week. Oh God…

Work is relentless. It deadens the spirit. Work swallows my freetime and bloats my debt. It distracts me while I die.

But I do it nonetheless because I like to pay my way. I’m no bludger. Or leaner. And, unlike the really smart, I’m proud to pay tax to support hospitals and schools.

But with my tax dollars also providing subsidies for mining companies, perks for politicians, arms for terrorists, changes to the climate, and a pension for that whinger on my community with his (well-warranted) inferiority complex, I’m getting a little over it, emotionally. I’m tired.

Like tonight, all I want to do, after five hours of gruelling work in difficult conditions (the aircon was so noisy), is have a cup of tea, read some Bible passages and maybe listen to a little Taylor Swift.

But no, I have to write a bloody column.

Oh wait… it’s done!





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  1. I am working hard, biting down hard to find out what S Sorrensen is working hard at as I put my hard hat on to crack the hard nut as I crack hardy on the hard nut in nutting this out as it is so hard to think just what this is about. Now the next chocolate.


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