I’ve been thinking about this lately. I have always believed this statement to be true. I grew up with a firm work ethic instilled in me and I was taught to follow through on my commitments. So I naively believed that this was the way of the world.
But in reality it’s not. I mean, sure, good things do come to those who work. But good things come to those who beg, kiss ass, annoy, cheat and lie too.
Josh has heard me carry on about this way too many times but I do find myself asking, why do I work so hard? When I see others being rewarded for something they don’t deserve, it takes away from the pride I feel in the work I have done. For example, in grad school I worked very hard on my papers. I painstakingly proofread and edited every paper before turning it in. Thus, I received high grades, sometimes even 100’s on my papers. At the time, I felt so proud of myself and thought I must be some great writer!
After I graduated, I had the opportunity to see the writing of other students in my program and I thought it was not so great. However, they too were receiving high grades on their papers.
Another example: Why do I work so hard in the gym when a few thousand dollars could buy me what I want to see?
I guess it’s on my mind lately because I see it in the schools every day when I sub. The students who cause disruption are the ones getting attention (negative attention, but attention nonetheless) while the students who work quietly get overlooked because I am too busy yelling at the ones causing problems. This is NOT the message I want to be sending to America’s youth.
I hate that at the end of a day, I remember the names of all the students who caused trouble, and have a really hard time recalling the names of anyone else. I do make a point to write the names down of those who are “good” and those who are “bad” and hope that the teacher handles it accordingly. But, at the end of the day, there’s only so much I can do. I am only a substitute and have very little power for doling out due consequence to unruly children.
And this is true in all areas of my life. I cannot control what others do. If they choose to suck up, use people, “know people” or just happen to get lucky, there is nothing I can do. I can only control my reaction to the world around me.
And I have to believe that somehow, someday, I will benefit from being one of the people who choose to work. Because if I don’t believe this, the world becomes a very grim place. Any Scrubs fans out there here’s an episode related to this (it also has one of my favorite Brett Dennen songs).