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Friday, April 11, 2008

What I learned from...Odd Jobs

I am a baby boomer.
I am not proud or ashamed of belonging to that demographic group, it was for mere casuality, I was born in 1952.
That was a time when there was much more time than money, and so much to rebuild, that the unemployment was zero.
What was close to zero was the salary, but nobody really cared that much, first because everybody was the same and second because without commercials, without TV, without fancy shops, you didn't even think of dreaming what today looks necessary.
The necessary at that time was being able to fill your belly and the luxury was filling it with the things you liked.
The situation was slightly better in 1960, when I was eight.
At that time the video games weren't virtual, they were real, and may be less expensive and more fun.
I belonged to a group of children, mostly relatives, cousins, brothers, sisters.
Our job was very creative, for being able to buy the things we liked (chewing gums, candies, sodas)we had to invent the most extravagant jobs.
We started with selling mushrooms, which were abundant at that time.
It didn't pay much.
Next was collecting frogs’ tadpoles, they paid ten liras for something like 20 of them.
Also that didn't pay much.
Next was selling roses (my aunt's roses)or fishes or whatever we could find somebody willing to pay for.

But the most extravagant job was something very special.
Those were the years of the nostalgic communists.
There was an old man, I guess an ex railroad man.
Somebody who, as he said, had fought with all his soul, for freedom and Communism.
He always wore something red and liked us children, because we were the only ones who listened to him.
Our task (and quite well paid compared to the rest) was singing "Bandiera Rossa".
I didn't even know what all that was about, but I remember, since I have a high tone of voice, I was the one who shouted louder "Bandiera Rossa Trionfera'", and I always got a little extra money for it.

I guess that was Communist Propaganda, and something I would be ashamed doing now, but, at that time, it was an easy and profitable way to make a little bit of money, and at the end of the day a free ice cream tasted so much better than the ones I can afford today, even eaten without counting the calories!

What did I learn from it?
That nothing comes for free, that you have to compromise sometimes to make a decent living, that you have to do your job well, whatever it is, also if well means shouting as much as you can (I am still very good at that), that old people like children, that children like old people, (for the same reason, because both have time and dreams to share),that there are no odd jobs, but just profitable or not profitable jobs, that a job IS a job, that good ideas can make you rich, that passion in what you do and goals to reach (like a free ice cream or a chewing gum)make everything much sweeter than what it is...


What I learned from ...Odd Jobs
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