Each task may not be all that difficult. But the job as a whole is. So, the next time you are tempted to make light of what someone else has to do - resist that temptation. Because you probably have no idea what you are talking about.
I ended yesterday's blog post with the statement above and I stand by that statement. In fact, I received many pieces of excellent feedback on that post. And that got me to thinking, which is a dangerous pastime!
Steve K, posted a response to yesterday's blog that I will include here:
I was just thinking about this ... when [we] helped a local nonprofit ... We helped for two hours and we were exhausted! Some other people mentioned how easy the paid staff had it because "all" they had to do was direct the cars to us so we could load them up. I reminded them that the staff started at 8 am while we worked from 10 am to noon. There [were] a million things that they were able to make look easy because they do this six days a week. And, they still had to work until 7 pm before their day was over.
First of all - a big cheer for efforts to help those who need help. Second of all, a big cheer for recognizing that those who do the job have so much more on their plates other than the two hours of loading that volunteers provided.
But, now, I'd like to point something else out.
Gratitude for those who step up to provide respite from the "not so difficult" tasks that are part of the "much more difficult" job is always important. And the relief that comes from receiving that sort of help can be immense.
I know my Dad appreciated getting help when the backlog of orders to be entered in the computer became overwhelming. The knowledge that I had helped to make something a bit better for him was a bigger reward than the pay I received for my time. I can also say that we have greatly appreciated the relief from egg washing duties when family members visit and are willing to handle that activity at the farm.
Sometimes the respite from the "not so difficult" has more value than you think. In fact, you usually don't fully realize how much it meant to you until the task falls BACK on your shoulders (so to speak).
A small, diversified farm is a perfect place to locate a fairly large number of "not so difficult" tasks that a farmer must do on a frequent basis. And this is exactly why farms like ours are often willing to accept help. There are numerous things people can do without having to be highly skilled in farming.
Two examples are already shown in this post. The first picture shows a couple of totes full of split garlic heads. We have to split seed garlic heads into individual cloves so we can plant them in the Fall. The process of splitting can take a fair amount of time, so some additional hands are often welcomed.
The second picture shows some smiling volunteers who worked to pull cull tomatoes off of our dead vines (we'd just had a killing frost) so we could feed them to our poultry. It's another "not so difficult" task that needed doing - and it was wonderful that the farmers did not have to do it all themselves.
Gratitude Can Be Difficult
Tammy and I do our best to show our gratitude when someone helps us with a "not so difficult" task on our farm. But, I am certain that we don't always achieve that goal as well as we should. Sometimes, we are still so overwhelmed by the whole job that we forget that ANOTHER part of that job is to show proper gratitude to those who have helped.
Taking a leap off of Steve K's example earlier, I have been involved in situations where the volunteers grumped that their sacrifice was not properly acknowledged.
First - let me remind you again of yesterday's post. A volunteer's desire to make a bigger deal out of their own contribution is just another way that people belittle the larger job that someone else does.
And second... Trust me on this. If you came and you worked and you helped to provide respite from that "not so difficult" task... there was gratitude for what you did. It just may not have manifested itself in a form that you could readily see.
So today's gentle reminder to me and anyone else who needs it:
If you have had the good fortune to have someone provide respite for you, take the time to recognize for yourself the benefits you gained. Maybe you were able to get some other task done that has been bothering you for weeks! Perhaps this WAS the task that has been eating at the back of your brain since spring? Is it possible that there was no other way everything that got done could have gotten done without that little extra boost?
Or maybe it was just nice to not have to do that particular task yourself for a while.
Once you recognize this for yourself, take the time to let those who provided the respite know that you did notice and that you appreciated the help. A kind word and a little recognition can go a long, LONG way.
For those who have provided respite from the "not so difficult" for us at the farm. Thank you. We noticed. We benefited from your help. We appreciate you.