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Jim's Jottings

Wanting to go to work vs. having to

January 30, 2013 - It is so much easier on a person when they do something they want to do versus being told they have to.

Attitudes are more refreshing, smiles come quicker, life itself is more pleasant and complaints fewer.

I don't recall a time when I fought going to work. When I worked for someone else or during the Depression/recession times of self-employment, I would often be in the building before others arrived.

(Later in life I "opened up" because I felt I was setting an example employees would follow. Arrivals didn't seem to change. Some people are just late people.)

I'm not building myself up as anything. I just feel people who like going to work are fortunate. Fortunate to be doing something they enjoy doing. When this is the case, it doesn't seem like work.

This bit of analysis came after someone asked how I got into the community newspaper business.

When does a person know what they want to do to make a living the rest of their life? At what age?

Were they just lucky? Did they learn to enjoy the work later?

I've reviewed my thinking many times since work became a necessity. All through high school it was driven into me that I was to go to college. What school should I enroll in and what for?

We four Sherman children were told often to look elsewhere than our father's railroad for a job. This may have been the only thing Dad told us that we all agreed upon.

So, Western Michigan, here I come. Make a choice. Ok, teaching. Two semesters of failing Spanish and disliking the biology instructor and it was time to enter the service as my two brothers had. I picked the Navy and was in Great Lakes Naval Training station on my 18th birthday.

Then, after the War, back to Western Michigan and something still unknown to me put me into the printing school learning Linotype operations, handsetting type from a California job case and re-taking Spanish.

But I got to try out for the Broncos'basketball team. However, their required physical found I had tb. So, two years of cure put me back to preparing for my future.

I know this is boring to many. But it shows the twists and turns some of us go through to find the perfect job. It does not explain, nor can I explain, how I got there.

By now, Hazel and I were married. She worked in, and we lived in, Owosso. I had the GI bill for college that I had been obligated to attend, so what to study? Michigan State University (it was College then) was commutable.

I had concluded I didn't want to sit at a Linotype all day. Ah, printing . . . newspapering . . . sounds close enough. I enrolled in the journalism school. Soon, at 25, it was time to quit fooling around and go to work.

So, I quit college and found a job at the Gladwin County Record in 1951.

Voila! My kind of job. I loved it and have ever since.

But what was the thing that drew me to newspapering? Was it because in the late 1930's an uncle owned a part of the Lapeer County Press, then bought a paper in Nelsonville, Ohio and later the Gaylord paper? I remember this uncle only by name, Uncle Mac. I was told he and Aunt Inez asked my parents if they could adopt me in the heart of the Depression.

If this was my draw into journalism it had to be subliminal. Maybe it was the paper route I had in high school.

What drew you to the work you love?

This best-of Jottings first appeared on Jan. 23, 2008.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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