Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Divine Work (pt.4)

I am in the process of reading the book, "How Starbucks Saved My Life". It is the memoir of Michael Gates Gill. A man who was raised in a lap of luxury, went straight from an Ivy League university, into a high paying advertising job. After more than 25 years with the company the "let him go".

He then started his own advertising firm and after another 10 years of that he lost all of his clients, and around the same time was divorced from his long-term wife, and mother of his three adult children. His life of luxury was falling apart. He finally landed a job at a local Starbucks.

He relates to a story from his past, while contemplating his new work philosophy...

"...Fitzgerald wrote, "She realized too late that work was dignity."
Work is dignity, I repeated to myself. That could be my mantra.
Why had it taken me so long to realize this essential truth? Fitzgerald had written his daughter thhis key perception, yet I had fought my daughter Elizabeth, whom I called 'Bis', when she had wanted to go to work. When she was just twelve years old, she had been offered a sumer job helping the tennis pro with scheduling and teaching and I had turned down the job offer- without even talking to Bis about it.
"How could you do that, Daddy?" Bis had cried, tears cascading from her eyes.
"But I want you to have a chance just to enjoy yourself this summer."
"But I like to work," Bis had angrily replied.
For me, work was something one had to do, not what one should do. I admired those who never had to work... and lusted after the huge trust funds of some of my richer friends. I thought I was doing Bis a favor by protecting her from having to work. How wrong I had been."

His bio on the back cover sums up his new work philosophy "...(he) has no plans to retire from what he calls the best job he's ever had."

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