Even Stephen: The importance of humility

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — It’s been several years since I have had to do the menial task of waiting tables, cleaning windows and mowing lawns.

Although these jobs serve a purpose, they are for the most part where many of us begin our journey as working professionals. I remember my dad saying if you don’t want to do that type of work for the rest of your life, get an education.

So ironically, after many years of being a working professional and having obtained a college degree, I recently found myself cleaning restrooms and taking out trash for a second time.

Several months ago, my wife, who also works full-time, was suffering with a bulging disk in her back and could not move. Months went by and she could barely make it down the hall to meet with a physical therapist.

Needless to say, like many of us, I could not pay the bills on my lone income; so I went looking for a second job. Unfortunately, the only things that would work with my busy schedule as a journalist were the same tasks I tried so hard to get away from by obtaining an education.

But my family needed help, and so I took pride out of the equation and applied for a position cleaning local offices.

After getting the job and receiving the codes for all the doors, I found myself slipping into a bit of mania.

After an eight-hour day, I would go home, grab a snack, change my clothes and prepare to clean wastebaskets and restrooms for several more hours. I would tell myself this is what it takes to get us back on track and push forward, but it was never easy.

After a few months of this routine, things began to lighten up. My wife recuperated completely and we put our finances back on track.

This tale has two outcomes: One, I have a greater appreciation for all of you who have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet; two, never take what you have, like your loved one’s health, for granted.

The thing is, it took looking into multiple trash bags and cleaning several toilets to change my point of view of the world.

Yet, after it is all said and done, I have found a sense of humble nobility in thinking that I was grown up enough to take on what many would consider low-level work. I have the utmost respect for all of you who have to continue this type of work and applaud you for your diligence.

It takes a lot of skill to do this type of work day in and day out without quitting.

So from the assistant editor at the Rio Rancho Observer, I want to say you are the unsung heroes in our society. I thank all of you for what you do and hope this column will help you push through any self-doubt and know that you are doing something inherently noble and necessary.

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