The shovel leaning workshop

The shovel leaning workshop

Photo by Stephen Philpott on Unsplash

Driving along a freeway the other day I passed some roadworks dutifully slowing down to the snails pace speed limit. By the side of the road was an excellent example of standing around. 

A worker was leaning up against a vehicle and it was clear that he’d been leaning for some time. He readjusted his ass and then sort of went back into an expert level hanging around position. 

It was quite remarkable.

My buddy Chris suggested this guy had certainly completed the ‘Hanging Around Workshop’ with a special session on shovel leaning, perhaps even the ‘Advanced No Shoveling’ diploma.

Chris then lamented the challenge he has as a small business owner to find folk who work at his pace. “If I could do all this work myself I would. You know I do twice as much work as anyone else.”

I’m good with slow if that is the best that a person can do. Slow and steady can win the race. If a person is steady and consistent then that is enough, unless they are on a checkout of course.

The shovel leaning is not the same. It’s avoidance of the work that needs done. Training done for that purpose.

I get it. 

Some work is tedious and any opportunity to take a break and have a yarn is taken whenever offered.

Some work is just physically demanding. It is not possible to shovel all day every day.

But some work just has to be done, ideally in the shortest time possible. Most workers could get their week’s work done in three normal length days.

There is a thing. Why not move to a three day week.

We would all be happier with the extra time off, the work would still get done and a heap of time would be saved on the shovel courses.

Except that we might not be happier even if the salary stayed the same. 

Much of that shovel leaning is to pass the time more pleasantly than the options offered back in the family home where there are noisy kids, chores and an irritable spouse. A guaranteed reason why many women find solace in the workplace.

Lockdown has produced the prospect of an epidemic of mental health issues in part due to restricted shovel leaning.

I always feel guilty when my own version of standing around, too many meaningless Youtube videos, and I’m back writing or reading some science publication before too long. However, retirement has been suggested. 

If I am to achieve that I will need to enroll in a few workshops.

Have a great day and a good lean.  


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