Friday, January 15, 2010

Fishing vs. Work


In the left corner, weighing in at 1,795 pounds is work.
In the right corner, weighing in at 75 pounds is fishing.

OK, men, I want this to be a fair fight.  No hitting below the belt, no biting, and no gouging of eyes.

At the bell come out fighting.  May the best man win, good luck gentlemen.

Yes, I am sitting in a meeting listening to someone talking on and on about something that is not fishing, and, therefore, not holding my interest level very well.  Something about shareholder return and profit margins and lazy employees writing on blogs instead of listening to what the CEO is saying about profit margins and our shareholders and a lot of other stuff that has nothing to do with fishing, let alone fly fishing.  I have to wonder if these folks even know what fly fishing is and if they do, have they ever gone fly fishing without their Blackberry's Blue Tooth ear piece glued to their heads.

This brings back memories of 2 summers ago.  My son and I were fishing in Yellowstone and this trip was a turning point in my life.  You see, I was one of those Corporate "A" listers (don't ask what the "A" is for because it is most likely just what you're thinking).  I was working a bazillion hours per week and never went anywhere without the blackberry.  Well, there I was in fly fishing paradise with my 12 year old son on the fishing trip of a lifetime.  We finally made it to Yellowstone and were going to fish the mythical rivers of my dreams.  Rivers like the Madison, Yellowstone, Firehole, Gardner, and Slough Creek.  These are the rivers I've read about all my life and have dreamt of fishing since I was my son's age.  Here I was, bringing my son to do something with me that I had waited 40+ years to do.  This was indeed the trip of a lifetime.

However, there was some minor emergency going on back in the office.  At the time, I'm sure I thought it was a major emergency.  Unfortunately, all emergencies in the office are major emergencies, especially when one's boss is involved.  Vacation?  Who needs a stinking vacation when there is work to be done and emergencies to resolve.  To be honest, this was probably several hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line and to my boss, the shareholders he so dearly loves and some of my business associates, this was a big emergency.

The sad thing, to me, it was also an emergency.  I spent several hours on the phone and answering email when I should have been with my son fishing or just being stupid tourists driving around in circles taking pictures of bison and elk.  Instead, I was looking at a blackberry, talking with my boss about contracts, agencies, servers and off-shore programmers.  I was not talking with the fly shops about what fly was working best.

As if it needed to be said again, work is not the most important thing in life.  The trip of a lifetime with my son is the most important thing.  He will never be 12 again and those moments could not be recaptured regardless of how hard I tried.  I told my boss it would have to wait till I got back or he was going to have to take care of it.  The phone was turned off and my son and I spent the next 8 days of our 10 day trip being stupid tourists, fishing in the fabled waters of Yellowstone and even some non-fabled waters like Black-tail Deer Creek, Nez Perce Creek, Indian Creek, Grebe Lake and a few other puddles that held fish.

This spring, I'm taking my boy to the Smokey Mountains for a fishing trip and to spend some time being stupid tourists taking pictures of every deer and turkey we see in Cades Cove.

The wonderful thing of fishing is now that he;s 14 years old, he still does not mind to be seen in public with me.  We're still good friends and we fish together as much as possible.

Yes, I still work but my attitude has changed from one of "loving my job" to seeing it for what it really is, work is a means by which I can afford to do the things I love to do.  I don't "love" my job.  I tolerate my job.  I love my wife and son.  I love to fly fish.  I love my Lord and my church.  Work is that thing I have to do to be able to do these other things I love.

Ding Ding Ding - Winner by a TKO 10 count - Fly Fishing.

In the end analysis, work put up a valiant fight.  He sure didn't want to give up.  Even when the Referee was counting to 10, Work kept trying to get back in the fight.  He lost but he keeps asking for a rematch and will most likely not go away until I finally get to retire.  However, Fly Fishing is the reigning champ and will remain so unless he offers the chance for a rematch.  Let's hope fly fishing never accepts the rematch and remains reigning world champ.

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