“I can’t wait to get out of this little town,” she said. “I’m so bored here. How do you stand it?”
My friend Sarah and I were both seventeen, and she was bragging about her new summer camp counselor job. She was getting ready to leave the next day for the woods of Maine, where she’d be surrounded by fun and games and community.
She and I were both springboard divers, and we were kind of competitive. I also had a crush on her and she knew it, so she liked to tease me. It was my first day of my third summer lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons at the same boring (from her perspective) club. She looked around at all she would be leaving behind with a hint of disdain, smiling smugly.
“I guess they don’t pay you too bad here,” she wrinkled her nose, obviously insinuating that she’d be making more. I bit.
“So how does the counselor job pay?”
“Oh it’s awesome. I get $4200 for 3 months, and that includes room and board.” Hmm. That was about $500 more than what I would make but I was still skeptical.
“And how many hours a day do you work?”
“Well, we’re doing stuff from 8 am to 8 pm, but there’s a two hour break in the middle for lunch.”
“I see, so that’s ten hours a day, seven days a week. And let’s leave out the room and board because that’s free if you stay at home. So that’s seventy hours, times four is 280 hours per month, for three months is 840 hours. 4200 divided by 840 is… I grabbed a dusty calculator off the desk.
“Oh, look at that! Exactly five bucks an hour!” I laughed.
It was my turn to be smug. Minimum wage at the time was $4.25. I was making $8.00 in my boring lifeguard job. She turned a little pale and tried not to frown. I could tell it hurt.
“But at least you won’t be bored!” I offered, quite smug myself.
I recently learned about a TV show called Adam Ruins Everything, in which the curious and investigative star shines light on common misconceptions that pervade our society. I’m so glad this show exists. The truth-seeking tradition goes at least as far back as Socrates, dubbed the father of western philosophy.
The title of the show, however, I find curious. The idea that truth “ruins” anything is short-sighted, and the cause of just about every problem humans have. In John: 8:32, Jesus said, “Truth shall make you free.” But you’ll notice he never says it’s an easy or comfortable process. And it’s no accident that both he and Socrates suffered the same fate, as many truth-tellers of that caliber do.
We say we want truth, but what do our actions show?
You can bet Sarah never took another salaried job without careful consideration. Isn’t that worth a little embarrassment? So yes, I’m still doing what I’ve done since I was a teenager, but I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut unless someone asks to have their eyes opened. The alternative can figuratively or even literally get you killed.
Got a question for me? 😉 The only thing you have to lose is what isn’t serving you anyway. Clear and Open Members are brave people on a mission to find their truth. It isn’t always easy, but it does always work. Click here to learn more about joining the dojo.