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My Secret Life

In the past I have gone undercover to research books and speeches. Living on the streets for a week was the most dramatic, but I’ve also worked odd jobs to get an inside look at certain companies (with the blessing of the boss). I’m at it again. For my next book and future speeches I wanted to see what it was like to work for minimum wage. I interviewed with Amazon, but decided against it when I saw the working conditions. I found a similar place with flexible hours and a much more worker-friendly environment. It’s physical work, early in the morning, for very low pay, but that’s exactly what I wanted to try out to see what that life would be like. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it and I liked the people I worked with. The whole experience was eye-opening and this is what I learned. Starting the day a little earlier is better. There is something to the early riser getting a good start on a more productive day. I’ve always been a night owl, but when I started the day at sunrise I was able to do more before lunch than I would have from midnight until three in the morning. When you don’t care what other people think it’s freeing. I was so worried someone might recognize me, but in the end other people are mostly concerned with themselves. Do what you want or need to do for you. Be grateful for what you have, many have a lot less. Many of my co-workers were barely making it (financially) from week to week and had health or personal problems as well. I know it’s cliché, but we should be grateful for the things we have and not focus on what others have that we don’t—someone always has less.

There is something about hard work and a job well done. Many of us do work that isn’t tangible or has no ending. There is something to be said for meeting milestones, checking things off a list, and being tired after working hard. It’s visible, measurable, and enjoyable to finish what you start every day.

Treat everyone with respect. I know many who have worked in the service industry (restaurant, hospitality, or retail) at some point and treat the people in those fields better when they are now the customer. It feels good to tip a little more or write a rave review, and the people on the receiving end need and appreciate it.

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