A 25 Cent Job
My 8-year-old mind was wandering. It was a cold spring afternoon, and the TV show I had been watching droned on, forgotten. Hearing my grandma come in from the other room, I stirred myself enough to peek over the couch - she was dusting.
One thing you should know about my grandma is that her house was impeccably clean - she vacuumed every day, dusted every other, and animal hair or crumbs were eliminated upon contact with the floor. I wouldn't be surprised if her cat gave up shedding entirely - as it had no impact on the house.
Turning, my grandma saw me as I ducked back behind the seat.
"Marie?" she called, "Do you need something to do?"
I sheepishly looked back over the couch, and shrugged in typical 8-year-old fashion. Smiling, she motioned me over, handed me her Swiffer, and we went to the front room. I followed, dragging my feet just a little.
Another thing you should know about my grandma is that she was an avid collector of decorative bells and crystals. Over the years she had gathered quite the assortment, and displayed them proudly all around her front room - in cabinets, on side tables, and on glass shelves.
She bent down and said with a gleam in her eye, "Dust the room, and I'll give you a quarter."
A real job! I'd never been paid for a real job before. I looked around the front room again - suddenly seeing mountains of shiny silver quarters.
"Ok!" I said, lifting my Swiffer high, and dislodging a swirl of dust. My grandma smiled anyway.
That day I did the best dusting job I have ever done: every crystal, every bell, between and underneath them, not missing a single speck of dust. Not long after, I proudly presented the evidence, a well-used Swiffer, to my grandma (making sure no dust escaped). That day I received one shiny US quarter, plus a hug from my grandma, and it was the most well-earned twenty-five cents of my life.
Now, at twenty-two, I earn far more than twenty-five cents for a job. However, I’ve learned the monetary reward doesn’t make the job more meaningful. For my eight-year-old self, it wasn’t the job, or even the reward, that made the job worthwhile – it was my relationship with my grandma. It’s been a few years now since she passed away, and I sure do miss her. Fortunately, I have all these memories to keep close. In order to find meaning in my day to day life, I focus on the experiences I have, and the people I am with – because that’s what creates well-earned memories.