No. 73


Every so often in a conversation with some of my friends, we get to talking about
the "good ol' days." When the conversation shifts to me and it's my turn to talk, I usually mention the days when you could buy a coca cola for a nickel, you didn't have to lock your doors at night, you never had to take the keys out of the car and a family could make it on one salary. While we have a lot of things going for us now that we didn't have back then, the "good ol' days" for me were back in the 1950s when I was in high school. My parents were good, honest, hard working people and this was a carefree time for me. Since I was not married, had no house payment, no car payment and no April 15th to worry about because I had not yet taken on the responsibilities of being an adult.
If you have been around for any length of time, you can probably think back to some of your "good ol' days". On the other hand, these may be your "good ol' days", as you may never have had things any better in your life than you do right now. One of the things that determines our "good ol' days" is the satisfaction we experience from our job or career, and this is the reason I wanted to share something that I found in my files recently. What
I discovered was a list of office work rules that were issued in 1852 and found a few years ago in the ruins of an old factory in Scotland. As you read these rules, if you will think about your job or career, past or present, I believe you will appreciate your "good ol' days" even more.
All employees must abide by the following regulations: 1) This firm has reduced the hours of work and the staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.. 2) Daily prayers will be held each morning in the main office. The staff will
be present. 3) Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colors. 4) No member of the staff may leave the room without permission from Mr. Rogers. The "calls of nature" are permitted and the clerical staff may use the garden below the second gate. This area must be kept in good order. 5) No talking is allowed during business hours. 6) The cravings of tobacco, wines and spirits is a human weakness and as such, is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff. 7) Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food is allowed between 11:30 a.m. and noon, but work will not on any account cease. The owners recognize the generosity of the new labor laws, but will expect a great rise in output of work in compensation for these near "Utopian" conditions.
After reading these office work rules that were adopted in another country back in 1852, I believe we can all agree that during these times working conditions in our country also, left a lot to be desired. With our marvelous free enterprise system and the freedoms we enjoy in America today, it would be virtually impossible to foist anything close to this on any segment of the American labor force. In thinking about this, the one point that I do not wish to be lost or overlooked here is that while these conditions were terrible, they were probably much better than workers a century earlier had to endure.
As a citizen of the greatest nation on earth, as you think about your "good old' days", I want to remind you that everything we have today came about as a result of someone else's sacrifices and it was bought with a price. There must be a balance if we are to continue to prosper. We can have things too hard, but we can also have them much too easy. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)