Be the best damn street sweeper to ever sweep a street

It’s time for me to go to bed as I write this. I’ll go to sleep and rest as well as I can, get up tomorrow and do what I do every day… try to leave the world a better place than I found it. 

One time about 25 years ago, I was in the living room of my best friend at the time, Don Roszelle. We were taking about what I thought I might do when I graduated high school and ascended into adulthood. I remember the interaction very clearly as if it happened yesterday.  I didn’t really have an answer. At that point in my life, I’d not really had an opportunity to think much about it because myriad reasons stemming from my home life. 

Donnie, who himself had not gone to college, was very successful in his career. He was a regional manager for American Cyanamid, having risen through the ranks, starting. as a tool and dye maker in the 60s.  He looked me in the eye and said, “Eli, whether or not you go to college is no big deal.  Whether you’re well know is no big deal.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a street sweeper.  If you are a street sweeper, be the best damn street sweeper that ever swept a street.”

Those words have stuck with me from that moment, all through my life; through college, my short lived music career, through ministry and definitely through my IT career. That said, I will never ever be able to wrap my mind around why so many people in the 21st century are so content and willing to just phone it in.

Another friend of mine through my husband has a great saying.  “THINK SMART! GET SERIOUS!”  Jen Hollen is a food and beverage manager at a local pup here in Charleston and has been working the food and bev scene for many years.  She doesn’t suffer the will of fools and loafs long, if at all.  I admire her work ethic.  I need to ask her how she does it because she makes it look easy; whipping people into shape to get things done. I wish I had that talent. 

I’ve never been motivated by money.  As I’ve gotten older, money has become less and less important to me. I’m motivated by the ability to do a good job and leave quality and fine craftsmanship in my wake. Sometimes though, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who just want to do just enough to get by and get paid. I wish things weren’t like that and I wish I didn’t feel that way. It’s kind of depressing. I suppose the only thing I can do though is keep sweeping the street as best I can and simply be thankful that I have a street to sweep.

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