I was talking with my supervisor during one of his field visits. Somehow we got on the topic of retirement. I mentioned that our youngest daughter told me recently I could quit work and she would keep us.

My response was, “Why would I want to quit working when I am having fun?”

My supervisor has heard me say that many times. This time, however, he looked at me and asked, with incredulity showing in his voice, “Are you really having fun?”

Understand that I work at a job that many people do as a stop-gap to something better. The pay is very low, and since the level of salary often becomes, in our culture, a measure of success and worth a low wage spells failure. I work almost entirely night shifts, including weekends. The job has no benefits (medical, pension, sick days), and I have to supply most of the equipment needed for the work. And most of those pieces of equipment cannot be claimed to reduce income tax. The work rarely occurs near home. Usually the shift is 12 hours. I can get called in with short notice, and, if a contract gets cancelled, I can have shifts cancelled at short notice. Most often I post in my own car.

Yeah, I’m having fun!

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow (Photo credit: flythebirdpath)

Right now I work beside the 401, a major Ontario highway and the traffic flows all night long. A pair of herons and a pair of hawks keep it interesting, not to mention the tree swallows, red-wing blackbirds and the little orange cat that appears almost every shift. Not to mention the toads and rabbits. Foot patrols keep me moving. Post position gives me a chance to be comfortable. Sometimes something happens (staff come on site, field inspections, trespassers, site equipment failure requiring action immediately, and so on). Police stop by sometimes, too, just to check or because they received a report of activity on site, which always ends up being me on patrol.

And I help keep the community safe.

Sure there’s the downside, but the upside compensates. What in life doesn’t carry the same description?

I’ve had enough deeply negative experiences in life to feel that I choose, not only to make the most of what I have, but enjoy every good thing and every good moment. The powers-that-be can take away my calling, vocation and good pay. They can’t take away my fun anymore.

I play in the divine play in God’s playground.

That’s fun, even when it’s tough work.

Do you have a better option?