This is a selection from Andrea Tacoronte’s honest and amazing reflection, “Why Does This Work Matter? You will want to read the rest, I promise you. You can get it for print or digital reading habits here.
Some days…I’m just not sure why this work matters. Working in a city with serious economic woes has a tendency to wear one’s spirit to the nub.
When I say serious economic woes…I’m not being overdramatic. We were the national poster child for the economic downturn. It was ugly. Our city, our county and the surrounding counties have had some of the highest unemployment rates in the state. When thousands of jobs in our community disappeared between 2008 and 2010, the revenue stream for the city dried up.
Our city workers have been under a wage freeze for going on six years now. Unfortunately, that pretty much corresponds with the amount of time I’ve been working in the mayor’s office. I came in at the bottom of the pay scale…
and there I sit.
If I think too much about it, I find it really frustrating.
For a while now, I’ve been white knuckling through, subsisting solely on my work ethic. I work hard because…well, because good quality people work hard at their job. I don’t let myself get bitter because….well, because good quality people don’t sit around moping about their misfortunes. My parents raised me right.
But then the doubt comes creeping in. We live in a country where the word “government” is often spoken with a derisive sneer. I live in a state where I often question the wisdom and judgment of our political leaders. I work as an administrator in a city with not only serious economic problems, but with political leaders who have been known to argue like they’re in the midst of a middle school playground brawl. It’s enough to give government a bad name.
Against this backdrop, sometimes a good, solid work ethic is not enough to keep that chin up.
Some days, frankly, it’s exhausting. My “up and at ‘em” mentality withers away and I’m left with the question:
“Why in the world do I do this?”