List the things that motivate you:
- Money. I’m thinking of tips, here. I like money as well as most people, but there are lots more important considerations. I have left well-paying jobs (two) for reasons of moral indignation. I have chosen jobs with low pay because I thought they would be fun, or rewarding in other ways. Tips, though, are a big motivator. Doled out bit by bit, accruing over the course of a day, counted in piles of coin and stacks of bills at the end of each shift…whatever the totals, tips are a bonus. I think any job could benefit just from money being handed out at random throughout the day.
- Disappointment, humiliation, discouragement or heartbreak. Odd, but true. When I’m at my worst, I am motivated to create, to rise above the hurt and sadness and worldly judgement and reaffirm my essence.
- Deadlines. Unfortunately, though, not until they are right on top of me. We “practiced” as children (with Mom, sometimes, as co-conspirator), when we delayed all of our end-of-week housework until one hour before Dad was due to be home – at midnight – from his second shift job. We might have been playing board games or watching TV, but when the eleven o’clock news started, we were galvanized for action. Dishes, left to drain dry on the counter, were quickly put away. Counters were wiped down; sinks were polished. Clutter was gathered from the living room: magazines put back in the rack; stray articles of clothing to the laundry; toys to the back room. Someone would run the vacuum. Someone else was sent to the bathrooms, to gather the wet towels and polish the fixtures. Yet another was on sweeping detail. The ones too little to tackle major jobs were kept busy gathering and running. The kitchen and back room always needed to be mopped. Linoleum – and later Congoleum, with a built-in shine – made the kitchen pretty simple after all the chairs were tipped upside-down onto the tabletop. The back room, which had two doors to the outside and got all the traffic coming and going to the garden, always needed a good scrubbing. It was usually our last job, and the clock was ticking toward midnight. Sometimes, if time was short, we’d run a bucket of hot soapy water, and spill it out over the floor. Everybody would join in, then, to sop the water back up – with towels and sponges and mops – bringing all the dirt up with it. It was a slippery, soap-bubbly, giggly finish to our chores. I’ve never gotten beyond it! For almost any project, I torment myself by waiting until the last possible moment, or beyond. I still sometimes get that heady burst of energy that is, I suppose, an adrenaline-fueled panic. I always get the huge sense of relief and accomplishment when a job is done. What I miss out on, these days, is the fun in between: the group activity, the working together for a common cause…the giggles. These days, deadlines are just too serious.