As part of my ‘revision’ for my final exams, I’ve been working with my Dad. I say ‘revision’ because it’s been helping manage my anxiety and limit the amount of studying I’ve been doing, without either taking over.
It’s around this time of year that my Dad gets a lot of gutter, conservatory and canopy-cleaning work. People want their plastic and glass looking good for the soon to be sunny weather (fingers crossed!)
One day last week, we were cleaning the local Opera House. The glass canopy over the entrance looked like it had never been cleaned. The gutters were full of a two-inch layer of muck and water, whilst the glass and intricate metalwork were green with dirt. My Dad usually cleans the roof of the canopy quarterly, but it never looks like it makes much difference because the rest of it is filthy. He’d never been asked to do the full job.
But a recent change in management and a conversation between my Dad and me resulted in us getting the job. It would take some hard graft!
We started cleaning the gutters of the Opera House in the morning, and we started on the glass and metalwork around lunchtime.
By the end of the day, it looked fantastic (even if I say so myself!) and we had received multiple compliments from the manager, employees and passersby.
It was rewarding work because we could see the massive difference the cleaning made.
This kind of work is motivating. We like to see our hard work pay off.
But the difficult work lies in putting in the hours that no one notices – doing the work that others won’t do or fail to recognise. This can hurt us – one local council worker sauntered past late in the afternoon, saying he was surprised to see we still hadn’t finished. This came from the bloke who had been walking around with a clipboard all day. All he had done was chat to whoever would listen!
The challenge is to balance both kinds of work. We need results to affirm what we’re doing is working. But we also need to put in time and effort to cultivate habits and invest in ourselves that may take a long time to pay off.
What work do you do where you see the results?
What work do you do that no one recognises?