June 22nd, 2011
My grandpa was born in 1927. His first job was a shoe shine boy, making a nickel for polishing shoes of the old timers sitting at the bar. That’s right, little kids were allowed in bars, so long as they were shining shoes or some other very important public service.
His second job was as a newsboy. I can’t make this stuff up. As the son of Sicilian immigrants, this kid had to really reach for the stars. So he slang newspapers on the south side of Chicago.
The real step up though, was when my gramps hit high school and landed a job at the local bowling alley. Yup, he become a pinsetter.
Being a pin boy back in those days was actually a glamorous job. He was granted free bowling and a big ole nickel for every game he set. A game cost 15 cents, so the house cleared 10 cents per game. But apparently those 5 cent pieces add up fast. He learned the skills necessary to quickly drop the pins and also the agility to avoid getting splattered by errant pins and bowling balls. And from his stories, it sounds like quite the task.
It got me wondering though, about the jobs we do today and all the special training and learning we put into these jobs. A lot of effort goes into what we end up spending 8 hours a day (or more) doing. And remember, that ends up being 2000 hours a year.
If you’re doing what you love, then I guess it doesn’t matter. But if not, are you investing your energy, time, and passion into a job that will one day be a relic of a time long forgotten? Sure, dodging bowling pins and bowling balls makes for a good story, but I’m not so sure I want to be a pin setter.