It's a Great Day to be Working!

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D

Jul 21, 2020

When I was in the ninth grade at Baton Rouge High, much to the dismay of most of my classmates, my English teacher, Mrs. Clark, had us memorize poetry.  One that we all could particularly identify with, as we sat gazing out of the window on a beautiful spring day, was a poem by the English poet, Richard Gallienne (1866-1947), “I Meant to Do My Work Today.” “I meant to do my work today,” the poet writes, “but a brown bird sang in the apple tree, and a butterfly flitted across the fields, and all the trees were calling me.  And the wind went sighing over the land, tossing the grasses to and fro, and a rainbow held out its shining hand…So what could I do but laugh and go?”               

Most of us can identify with the feelings of the poet as we once again experience springtime in Louisiana, with its bright green lawns and beautiful blooming azaleas.  It’s that desire to just get away from it all, to relax, and enjoy…Therefore, I was unprepared for the response of a FedEx delivery man a few years ago who arrived at my door bearing a heavy package.  Although it was springtime and beautiful, like most days in Louisiana, it was quite warm, and the perspiration showed on his face. “I can’t believe it’s so warm,” I noted, “but isn’t it a beautiful day?”  “Yes,” he responded with a big smile, and a voice filled with sincerity, “It’s a great day to be working!” As the truck drove away then, and even now as I look out my window, the words still echo in my mind and make me happy.  I knew it would make Tommy happy, too, because this man had definitely “learned to love Mondays” and “was not wishing his life away wishing for Fridays!”  

Tommy and I both were blessed to grow up in homes that modeled his belief that “work is more natural than play.”  At 85 (and beyond) mom’s young neighbor called her the “workingest lady I know” as she mowed, pruned, weeded, and used the new lawnmower that Tommy bought her for Christmas that year.  Apparently she caught the attention of others because on February 27 of that year, the Morning Advocate carried a large color photograph of her weeding her flower beds.  When Tommy’s dad died unexpectedly at 52, Tommy, his mom, and an invalid sister, had to move into a low-rent housing project.  Tommy said his mom cleaned not only their place but also for a mile around it. When she moved in with us years later, Ron Spillman, our next-door neighbor, former Baton Rouge Fire Chief, and now part of the Lofton Staffing family, recalls, “In her 90’s, Miss Addie came over with a sledge hammer and a chisel to help me cut up a fallen tree, and many days I kept on working just because I hated for her to outwork me!”   

As I reflect on their work ethic, I am amazed at many I encounter today that don’t seem to share those sentiments: a waitress who when asked told her customer that she would rather be at home (I think the customer knew before she asked); a tired looking older lady who when I asked if something was wrong, reluctantly said she was working overtime because several of the younger workers “just don’t show up”, and then sadly added, “What’s happening to our young people?”; a clerk who took her scheduled break, despite the fact that there was a long waiting line and only one other clerk working; I could not resist saying, “My niece just returned from a medical mission trip to another country where many old ladies waited in line twelve hours just to get a small box of aspirins.  Are you really having such a bad day?”    

How easy it is to focus on the negatives instead of the positives and to miss the joy in working and encouraging others! Sometimes just a smile or a simple comment, “It’s a great day to be working!” can make a difference.   

How thankful Tommy and I are for parents, teachers, and co-workers who modeled for us the Biblical principle, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men (Col 3:23), who realized that “the highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it (Ruskin).”  Equally important, they taught us that hard work must be balanced with other priorities in life—our relationship with God and family, as well as taking time for rest and renewal.  Sometimes it is important as the poet wrote “when the trees are calling…and the rainbow holds out its shining hand” to “laugh and go.”  Just be sure you’re not a “no-show” on the job when you do! 


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

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We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.