Sunday, December 27, 2015
To set your sins in balance
There is no working person in the world who does not have failings. Not personal failings, though they too are the burden of every human and the ultimate source for what I'm referring to, but rather specific failings in their working role, whatever their job may be. The greatest soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi, working at an astonishingly high level in an extremely refined, demanding, and distilled job, nevertheless has a tendency to sometimes disappear in games, to become floating and uninvolved. A fine comedian may be cruel. A barista may be pompous. A blogger might be vain. And a library clerk may be indolent. But none of these failings necessarily make that person bad at their job. One can still be great at a job despite their failings. Aye, one has to be great despite their failings because everyone, excellent workers and poor, has them.
There is even a secret trick to it, an alchemy.
One is allowed their modest sin if it is set in harmony with a proper and complimentary virtue. Lionel Messi, as our first example, is capable of wizardry, that is, he is capable of divine physical moments beyond human comprehension. This unique quality is not a mere counterweight for his disappearances, rather it imbues it with tension and meaning. That comedian who is cruel may be utterly democratic. The pompous barista might be impeccable. The vain blogger may be honest.
Most of the workers I see in detail are library workers. Some are excellent at their jobs and some are not. Let us say my failing as a library clerk is indolence. I make my case that we should all only work half the time anyway, and that furthermore there should be a standard 20 hour workweek at most, but I know I can only get so far with that. My industriousness is rickety. I very much tend to drift into my own private, delicious, wanton idylls, and surely would still irresistibly do so working half the hours I do now. What I have for that failing is a sense of overwhelming responsibility. If it comes to me by way of a patron, or a crisis, through a problem with one of our items, a machine breaking, or a system in disarray, I will run that issue or situation down until its legs collapse underneath it. I at all times consider myself to be the library.
I have known a distracted librarian who is saved by passion. I have known uncreative pages saved by industriousness, overly sociable co-workers made whole by their attentiveness and kindness, and anti-social ones filled out by self-sufficiency.
When I look around my workplace, especially during a long day, it can get easy to see the shadows weaving around me, but sometimes there is light too. It takes such a paltry, pathetic amount of light to make a shadow, but, sometimes, enough light can make the shadows beautiful.