When I was sixteen, I worked part time as a dishwasher in a very popular Mexican restaurant on Long Island named Meson Ole’. I’ll never forget how hard it was. I was on my feet for five hours straight in a hot, steamy kitchen that must have been 95 degrees. There was an endless flow of dishes and I barely had time for a break.
I remember watching the other dishwasher and all the folks who chopped the onions, sliced the meat, and cooked the food. They were working even harder than me. Most were in their mid 20’s and barely spoke English and probably had families to feed. Here I was, just a kid looking for extra money to buy baseball cards and a cheeseburger at McDonald’s. But for some of these employees – they were totally dependent on that job for income.
What was most interesting is that I never heard them complain. They all had fun and took pride in their work. They were simple, honorable people, and at the end of the night, I too felt a sense of pride knowing we all gave our best and together helped that restaurant run great.
After that summer, I made a vow to do whatever it took to never have to work as a dishwasher again. Perhaps I would own a restaurant one day. But work as a dishwasher? Never!
So now, whenever I go to a restaurant, I’m thankful that I don’t have to be a dishwasher. I’m thankful that I got to go to college and now earn a living as an entrepreneur. Sure I worked hard for my succes and still work hard each day. But I don’t have to do so in a hot, sweaty kitchen.
Here’s what else I’m thankful for: the dishwasher – The person sweating behind the scenes. Maybe they don’t have much ambition or skills. Maybe they are content with being a dishwasher. Or maybe they just weren’t blessed with some of my God-given talents. But being a dishwasher is the best they could do to earn a living, feed their family, or make some money to go to college.
Here’s my point. The world needs dishwashers. And there are a lot of dirty dishes out there!
Every business has “dishes” that need to be cleaned. The sales calls, paperwork, admin duties, and maintenance all have to get done. Every one of us has our roles to play. Some jobs are more “glorious” than others. But the money we make doesn’t make us special. It’s our character that truly counts.
As we reflect on this past Labor Day weekend, let’s not forget all the folks who wash the dishes. They are our wingmen. Let’s thank and appreciate those unsung heroes who often sweat and sacrifice to get the job done.
And finally, let’s be thankful that there are dishes to clean in the first place. As laborers, we all have the opportunity to get paid to clean them. Most importantly, we should endeavor to do our work with honor, integrity, and a commitment to excellence. It’s what makes our labor worthy.
At the end of the day, we’re really all dishwashers.
Your Wingman, Waldo