Reading Sole Connections by Ivy Johnson on the Facts and Arguments page of today’s Globe and Mail made my heart sing. Ivy, who has what I presume is a fine arts degree from McGill University works as a shoe shiner in the bowels of Bay Street’s office towers.
She concedes that there is not necessarily a direct relationship between hard work and success. I remember learning that lesson when I was in Girl Guides. My girlfriend, Bonnie and I spent many nights carefully sewing patches onto old clothes so we could win the best costume contest as tramps at our troop’s Halloween party. We were stunned when we didn’t win. Someone with a truly imaginative costume deserved it and won. We’d worked so hard. But there was still value in the effort. We could apply ourselves productively toward a goal and we could accept failure with grace. And we’d certainly improved our hand-basting skills.
No matter what job you do in your lifetime there are character-building benefits. Ivy Johnson very articulately describes the benefits she has enjoyed while shining the shoes of Prada-loafer-wearing Bay Street brokers.
Some of the jobs I’ve had over the years include reeling yarn at a carpet factory at the age of 14, waitressing (who hasn’t done this), delivering diapers, taking orders for a courier company, selling cosmetics at Eaton’s College Street store, go-go dancing at the CNE (as described in an earlier blog) – but every job had value and I learned useful skills and lessons at each one. Job benefits are not always monetary. Ivy – keep writing.