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- Subject: [at-l] email@example.com
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jim and/or Ginny Owen)
- Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 19:26:30 -0000
>I've always feared I was missing some essential ingredient
>necessary to thru. I'm trying to identify why people
>keep on keepin on when it becomes "a job" .
>A sweaty achy 10 hr a day job....
So far all the responses I've seen have been "It's not a job". They've all
assumed the the word "job" has only negative connotations. But I don't
First, if you're doing a "job" that you consider worthwhile, that returns
satisfaction (in cash or otherwise), that you enjoy, that is useful (as
determined by your own value system) - then there's nothing negative about
that "job". Someone once told me that if I wanted to be happy, to get
involved with something that was bigger than I was. I've found that to be
As far as a thruhike is concerned - the hike is most certainly your "job".
It's what you're doing with your life for the time you're on the Trail. And
it returns satisfaction in a lot of different ways - mentally, emotionally,
physically - usually everything BUT cash.
A thruhike is something that, generally, you do because you enjoy it. Those
who don't enjoy it most often don't finish (although that's not universal
Is a thruhike useful? For a few people - NO. For most of us, whether we
finish or not, it's a learning and growing experience. It's a place where
we can "become" - more than we were when we started, less connected to the
world we left behind, bigger than our problems.
Is it worthwhile? It certainly is if you learn what you need to learn from
it - and it's not if you don't. But it's not my business or anyone elses to
define what you "should" learn - or "become".
In many ways it's more than a job because it'll require more time, effort,
commitment and sweat than any boss you'll ever have. The fact that you do
it voluntarily makes it no less a job. There are people who volunteer to
put their lives on the line to protect this country - what they do is no
less a "job" than what your mailman or CEO or ditchdigger does.
I'll add someting below that some of you might appreciate.
What follows here was sent to me by a friend - one who spent most of his
life defending this country, who still goes to a hospital every couple years
to have them pick the shrapnel out of his body, who will never walk the
Trail because his hips and knees were destroyed by too many jumps into too
many unfriendly places, who spent years recovering from malaria, various
funguses and other miscellaneous ailments. It came from someone who had a
"job" - and kept on doing it because he believed in what he was doing. It
came from my brother.
Don't tell me that all "jobs" are negative or not worth doing. I won't buy
that. And by any objective criteria - a thruhike IS a job. And, like all
jobs, those who do it will keep on doing it as long as the personal rewards
are greater than the cost.
Every once in a while one wonders why he used to stand in the rain, eating
cold scrambled eggs off of the fender of a jeep ... and think he was
cheating the government.
You know, some people still don't understand why military personnel do what
they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard
Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu
speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and
women in the Uniformed Services do what they do for a living. And it's an
example of what those who have never served think of the Military.
Senator Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when
you've never held a real "job"?"
Senator Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by
antiaircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program.
It wasn't my checkbook; it was my Life on the line. It was not a nine to
five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.
I ask you to go with me ... as I went the other day to a
Veterans Hospital ... and look at those men, with their mangled bodies, in
the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job. You go with me to the space
program and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White and
Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee ... and you look those kids in the eye and
tell them that their dad didn't hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day
coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more
friends than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You
stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those
people didn't have a job. I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be
on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men -
SOME MEN - who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a
love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life
itself. Their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible... I HAVE
HELD A JOB, HOWARD! "What about you?"
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