Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

I can still hear the high-pitched yell coming from Grandma Louis

“You D#@% kids you better get back to work.”

It was pelting season and that meant my cousins and I would work for a couple of weeks during the month of December pelting and skinning mink. 

If you know anything about Pelting mink, you will understand that the work requires a lot of special weapons: sharp knives, red elastic bands, staple guns, long wooden dowels, boxes and a slick floor for sliding. The dowels and the red elastic bands made the perfect shooter. 

The boxes used to ship the Mink pelts were stacked up for protection against hundreds of elastic bands being flung across the shed. 

It was game time and this type of game seemed to break out at least twice a day. 

It was total devastation when an elastic band would fly out of control over the top of the boxes to where all the Women were pinning mink. 

Game over. Grandma would start yelling and it was back to work.   

Grandma Louis used to love to get after us kids. She was the enforcer or at least she tried to be. Grandpa just laughed at everything and would go about his work. 

We started working 40 hours a week during the summers when I was in 3nd grade. I made $2.50 an hour, which meant I was rich for a 2nd grader.

Although my Mom would only let us spend 20% of what we made. 70% had to go to savings and 10% to tithing. We still had plenty to spend. 

The work was rather disgusting. We would clean poop off of false bottoms and scrape old Mink feed off of pens, which consisted of ground-up dead animals.  If the mink feed sat out a day it would become hard crusty around the edges and nice and soft in the middle.

If you know anything about Mink you will know they have a scent bag like a skunk. The smell is so bad that it would take 20 minutes every morning for me to get used to it. It would burn my nose. In fact, it still does. 

I can’t really explain how bad we stunk. To this day, when we visit my Grandmas I can hardly stand the smell. I have no idea how we worked in that environment. 

My Grandpa is 93 years old and he still gets up every morning and goes to work. They have a lot of money, but he loves what we does and will die doing it. 

Work is hard to explain unless you have done a lot of it and I am not talking about happy work. There is a big difference. I am talking about the type of work that you dread. You watch the clock and can’t wait until you get to go home. It’s man’s work!

Day after day you wake up dreading your life because you just didn’t want to go spend 8 hours doing something you hate, but you do it anyway because it’s your work. You can’t quit because everyone around you is working just like you and quitting is not an option. Maybe it was, but my parents had a way of taking away options.

Didn’t matter how much we complained, morning would come and I found myself working. That is just what we did. 

I started out at $2.50 per hour, which paid me $100 per week. My time and labor for my Grandpa’s money.

Years later this work ethic would be tested. I was in High School and I was not going to go back to the Mink Sheds. 

My Uncle Blaine owns Gravel Pits and I asked him for a summer job. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. 

That year the pit was struggling to make a profit and that meant the workers had to put in a lot of extra hours. 

I would wake up at 5:30 and start driving the rock truck. It was my job to make sure that the Stock Piles did not get too big. You would do the exact same thing over and over again for 14-hours a day. I kept track of my time by where the sun was located. I knew once it when down it was close to quitting time. 

By Wednesday I was already working overtime which meant I got paid time and a half.  My wage went from $14 per hour to $21 per hour.

Halfway through the summer, I was tired and I wanted to quit. I was missing out on things and felt picked on. My uncle could tell that I was not having the best time and he didn’t like my attitude.

So guess what he did?

Chewed me out. He said a couple of choice words to me and told me to quit whining. My bad attitude could wear off onto others and I had better put a smile on. Everyone else was working the same amount of hours as I was, including him. It was a lecture I needed to hear. 

He ended the conversation by increasing my wages. My long hours gave my bank account a huge boost and it would be enough to keep me coming back for 3 more years. I took note that my value had gone from $2.50 per hour to $21. What would it take to make $100 per hour?

My Dad gave us a choice to play sports or work. I always chose sports. I endured the long workdays that summer and was happy to get back to playing sports. When Football started, work ended. Playing sports is a huge passion of mine, which we will get into later. 

In life, you have to be willing to work. Work can help you stay out of trouble, give you confidence, eliminate problems, provide you with money, and may get you out of problems that you have gotten yourself into. 

Whenever I am feeling really stressed the best antidote is to get to work. I find that it calms the mind, relieves stress, makes you happy, and it is great for the soul. 

“6 days thou shalt labor” 

Whenever you start a new company or get a new job you have to make up in time what you lack in skill. A simple 40-hour workweek does not cut it.

If you’re competing for a Job or desire to move up in a company, work is what will get you there. 

I am constantly trying to pound this philosophy into my kid’s head. It’s hard to get children to work. I no longer live up in Coalville or they would be working down in the Mink Sheds. 

I worry, like a lot of parents, that my children are going to grow up entitled and lazy. Things are a bit different now and times have changed. 

Is it a good or bad thing?

I do not know nor do I really care. The younger generations always seem to figure out. 

Times change but good hard work will always be an anchor to success. If you’re stuck or in a slump, get to work; If you’re stressed and feel depressed, get to work. If you are losing or lack the skills to compete, get to work. 

“Excellence is never an accident; It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. It’s work.” Author unknown

When you see excellence I hope you see it for what it truly is. It’s the result of effort and hard work.

Over time, love and passion for work develop and you will be excited to wake up and get to work. If you have not felt this passion, you are doing the wrong thing and you should maybe consider getting out. You are going to spend 40+ hours a week for the majority of your life trading time and labor for money, make sure it worth getting up for.

Your happiness and quality of life will come down to how hard you’re willing to work.

Work will bring you happiness.