Are fat ticks sucking you dry?
You work and then you die?
Before that day, you might want to consider your priorities. When you’re in your last moments, will you be thinking: “Wow I’m so happy I skipped my friend’s birthday to work late on that weekend!” -- you know that weekend when the boss said you had to get it done and that you wouldn’t be able to contact him because he would be on a wine tasting trip to Napa Valley. Are you glad you skipped your kid’s recital so you could clean up another mess your boss made. He was off partying with “Important People” that weekend. How about that Organization-wide Motivational Retreat Weekend on Father’s Day. That was so motivating you thought your brain was going to shrink to the size of the omnipresent mosquitoes and fly away. Were the bologna sandwiches as good as the meal your kids had planned for you? Did your bosses show up? Did they eat that junk? Now that you think about it, they always had a private meeting at meal times. And how about that time your boss begged you to work thru Christmas and New Years. He stayed in touch, calling everyday from Florida.

So why am I spewing this drivel? What does this schmuck know about it? I’ve been there. All of it including the dying part. When the last thing you remember is, “He’s crashing!” and that annoying alarm on the heart monitor, you’re lucky. You’ve gotten a gift, a bonus round, some time to play better than the first round!

The doctor said, “You can’t have a heart attack, you’re the same age as I am.” I’m the youngest one of his patients. I’m not a smoker or immense. Since then I’ve found out that staying up more than 24 hours over and over to try to finish projects of demanding “fat ticks” is very bad for your body. Add an infected tooth, money stresses, too much coffee and potato chips, no exercise (just work) and feeling trapped. Then have the boss hold your pay back a month (after you saw him get paid 3 times what you’re charging). Finally shake up with more demands that “need to be done yesterday” and have your day turned upside down by the wife.

I hang out with older folks a lot now. We’re all heart attack survivors. Humor is important. Don’t take yourself too seriously. They’ll tell you the truth. Experiences make the life: the hugs, the scary times (especially during war), the adventures like being lowered over the side of a freighter to get in a porthole. Any time you almost died doing something. The unexpected discoveries (finding out the big cowboy movie star hated horses and was always drunk). The beautiful places.

Sometimes there’s wistfulness: the gal they lost track of, that place they never got to see, the place they wanted to hike to but are now too frail. Sometimes it’s a whole career that went missing.

If they talk about work it’s usually about a joker or goofing off or the boss that electrocuted himself. Most say “I’m retired” in a sing song like the Ur-Song “nana na na nah nah”. Thumbing their noses at those long gone bosses.

Being an employee does not make you chattel or a slave to be traded. You are not an toaster. Watch out for bosses that treat you like a robot.

Think twice before you pass up a hug so your vampire boss can suck your life-force dry.
“I may be an ass but
I’m nobody’s asset!”

-- Alan McNeil
“Being an employee does not make you chattel or a slave to be traded”
When the last thing you remember is, “He’s crashing!” and the buzzing alarm on the heart monitor, you’re lucky.