Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Long hours

Today after preparing the frame work, we lined the room in what we call gibboard (Sheetrock)  

I was talking with a young firefighter about his conditions of work yesterday. They have a fairly good lifestyle, working two day shifts, and two night shifts and then having essentially 4 days off. There is always plenty of call backs on offer so lots of opportunity to earn overtime rates of pay. This young firefighter was pointing out the difficulties and said, "I bet you have never had to work a 14 hour day?" - which they do when they work night shift. I smiled and told him that when I was in ministry/chaplaincy I once counted up my hours of work over three weeks and averaged it out for each week... I worked, .. (really worked not slept like they do when on night shift or watched TV late in the afternoon)  - 66 hours a week. I also told him that my remuneration was a lot lower than his was if he worked that many hours. "Yeah but that's what you guys are expected to do!" said another older firefighter, "It is your calling." "Well maybe you are right." I said.
As I drove home after my activities of the day, I was thinking about this conversation and I realised that even in retirement I had "worked" fourteen hours that day, with just 2 of them being paid for. I did emails and phone calls for the night shelter first thing in the morning. Then I prepared power points for a talk which I gave to a Probus group. that talk led to conversations. I spent my normal lunch time at my voluntary chaplaincy at the ambulance station, then picked up bread for the night shelter and delivered it. While there I checked emails and did a couple of odd jobs, then went to my rounds of fire stations as chaplain, staying half an hour longer than the hours I am paid for. After a quick evening meal I went into town and had two meetings related to the night shelter.  It was equivalent to a fourteen hour day. I guess I choose to do it and I enjoy doing it. 
Today I did my brewery chaplaincy in the morning and apart from a few contacts for night shelter business, I spent the afternoon and evening working on the room my daughter and son-in-law are doing up with my son-in-law. We get on very well which is great. He is a very patient man with his old father in law. I am tired but once again I enjoyed the physical work involved and being able to assist. They have been working on their house, including a rebuild of a part of it, for twelve years now. Today a visitor asked them how long it will take to finish all they want to do. I suggested another twelve years, teasing them. My son-in-law shot back, "Oh no" he said, "In twelve years time you will be in no fit state to help! We will have to get it finished before then!" 

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