My mom wrote this since she had some recent time on her hands. Thought you might like to read it...
TAKEN FOR GRANTED
Have you ever felt taken for granted at work? I guess at times we all feel this way, and it is probably pretty common for any of us to take for granted those around us who help us with our jobs, but maybe my story will help readers be more aware of this growing problem in today’s work force.
I work for a woman named Peggy. For years Peggy has taken me for granted. At the beginning things weren’t bad like they are now. At least the work environment was clean and I didn’t have to work so hard. And, of course, I was younger and stronger then. So was Peggy, for that matter. We’ve both gotten a little gray over the years, I guess, but she refuses to admit it. In a way I feel sorry for her. She really pushes herself, and the saddest thing is that, because she has put so much importance on her work performance, she has begun to lose sight of the really important things, like family, vacations, giving to others, and her faith.
Peggy used to take time off for these things. Family vacations were great and restful for her. She and her husband would take time to have a “date night” once a week. She used to go to church every Sunday, enjoyed weekly bible studies, and once a year she would go to a resort area for a woman’s faith retreat and come back with renewed joy and vigor. She also volunteered for a women’s shelter and at her kid’s schools. She would always come back to work fresh and rested. I would too, because I had had some time off and rest as well. Things are very different now.
The changes came about so gradually that neither of us even noticed at first. Date nights with her husband stopped first, because he was getting busier at work, too. Then church going became less regular and bible studies were dropped completely. When the kids got older they no longer wanted mom at school, so that volunteer work ended, and then the women’s shelter moved to a new area and was too far away. Every time one of these activities came to an end, it gave Peggy more time for a particular work project and somehow, before we knew it, work was all that was left, and it took up all her time.
I wish she would once again take time off from work for these things because it would sure give me a break and some time to relax, too. Unfortunately, she just doesn’t see it that way. She’s older now and thinking toward retirement and wants to be sure that she will have enough money to retire comfortably. She thinks that if she works hard now, she will have the time for those things later in life. I may have to retire before she wants to because I just can’t keep up with her sometimes.
Even though I feel sorry for her, I need to find some way to shock her out of this situation, so that my job will get better. She just doesn’t see how hard it is for me to keep up with her. I may seem selfish to you, but I really don’t want much. I just want to be assured of the things most people expect on a job: regular breaks, a clean work environment, medical care, and some recognition and appreciation for the work that I do.
I do get my breaks and rest times, but they’re not very regular. Whenever Peggy works, I have to be right there, available for her and working right alongside her, which means that my breaks are always the same time as hers. I never know when those will be because Peggy has an unpredictable schedule, and she rarely even considers the fact that I may get tired. Even if I tell her that I need a break, she usually ignores me.
At first my work environment was nice and clean, but lately things have become really cluttered. The mess has built up over the years and Peggy has never done anything about it. You would think she would stop and notice and give this problem some of her attention, but she seems blind to it. It doesn’t really stop her work, but it makes mine much more difficult.
I also need medical care now and then, even if it’s just a preventive check-up, but the cost of medicine is so high nowadays. Peggy doesn’t provide enough for me, and it is very difficult to get on my own.
We all thrive on being recognized and appreciated for the job we do. Sometimes recognition is more important than money, and that’s true in my case. But Peggy rarely gives me any attention. Oh, she knows I’m there, of course, because she needs me on the job, but it’s as though I’m only as important as her desk, or her calculator, when I am far more vital to her success than some inanimate object.
I’ve saved Peggy’s “you-know-what” so many times. Little things that I do for her, like helping her remember things or get through embarrassing situations, go completely unnoticed. I can jump in there and help her think things through so that she remembers where she left something, or even someone’s name that she’s temporarily forgotten, but she never gives me credit. I’m always expected to jump up and perform “above and beyond” when she needs help without her even asking for it. And I do it every time!
Once, I had to really work hard for several months finding a way to replace a vital supplier that had closed down, and she wasn’t even aware of it. I had tried to tell her about it several times, but she had continually waved me off, and I just had to go to work and do it myself. I really saved her that time. In fact, what I did was almost miraculous, but she didn’t even notice. She couldn’t do her job without me! That supplier never was reopened, but I was able to build up and get more from our other two main suppliers. Taking up the slack was a lot of extra work that I did on my own and it would have been nice if I could have had help when I needed it.
I guess that’s what bothers me most. I just can’t do this job on my own without help now and then, but Peggy just won’t admit that. She just loads on more and more work without considering whether it’s more than I can handle, and then just expects me to find a way to do it all myself. Well, it is just getting to be too much and I am going to have to find a way to let her know. If this continues I’ll have to quit working for her. I don’t think she will survive without me. Oh yeah, I’m replaceable, but she can’t replace me overnight. It could take a while to find a replacement compatible to her at this late stage! But I don’t really want to quit. I’ll just keep working for as long as I can and give her the best that I am able to give. In the meantime I will keep trying to get her to pay attention and fix the things that need fixing before it’s too late.
Maybe I’m making you think that Peggy is a really heartless human being. She’s not. She’s warm and friendly, always willing to jump in and help where her skills are needed. She has lots of friends, her husband is still in love with her after all their years together, and she is well respected at work. Her having no heart is the farthest thing from the truth, and I am the best proof of that because, you see, I am Peggy’s heart.
Peggy’s note: My heart did finally get my attention. She gave me chest pains that I tried to ignore, but finally she forced me to go to the hospital where I found out that I had had a heart attack. I am 56 years old, and have known that my cholesterol is too high for years. I have not exercised for years, nor have I made enough effort to keep my weight down. I did not have a medical doctor giving me regular checkups. Fortunately, my heart muscle was not damaged, so she does not have to retire before I want to. As she told you, we are down to only two “suppliers” for the time being, and I am very grateful and amazed that she did jump in and compensate for the loss of one completely blocked artery. She will not have to quit because she will now have the help she needs through regular medical checkups. And, thanks to her, all my other “body workers” will begin to enjoy a better, cleaner, more relaxed work environment. My heart got my attention, and I hope she gets your attention too.
Mom gave us all a big scare and a wake up call this week. I've already been told my cholesterol is a little high and I don't make exercise a big priority. I'm going to try to change that before it becomes a problem. God really blessed us by not taking her. Feel free to pass this story on. I think it would be good for people to read. Just give her credit for it...