reply to post by dfens
I personally achieve a level of balance in my life. Obviously, it is every persons duty to look after the needs of his family and friends, because
without these crucial close societal bonds, societies would be dangerously close to total loss of cohesion. However, at the same time as working to
enable the continuation of our small family business, contribute to the ability of myself, my mother, and our business partners ability to eat and so
on, I also make it my business to look out for people.
I am a locksmith, so my customers (who are pretty much all from the neighborhood in which I grew up) trust me with thier home security. It is my job
to assess thier premises, ensure that thier security arrangements are up to the current industry standards, and make recomendations which would
improve the over all security of thier dwellings, business premises, off site storage facilities, vehicles, and even thier suitcases. Now, although we
are a small family business, and cannot afford to purchase materials and equipment in bulk, we have a policy on prices for work we do and sales we
make, which basically places us amongst the cheapest operators in our area, despite our maintaining a retail premises (which is very expensive). We
decided very early on, that our practice should be about maintaining high standards of customer service and satisfaction, while doing everything we
can to keep our prices for the sort of vital work we do, as low as possible.
You see, me and my mother have both lived in squalor before. Heck, we are no where near properly solvent as it is financially, even now, after
running a business for about a decade now. We are working class folk, who know precisely what it is like to need vital infrastructural work
undertaken, but have no means of paying the extortionate rates being asked. Thats why we have the cheapest labour by the hour rate of any of our local
competitors, and cut keys at the cheapest rate of any honest to goodness locksmith (rather than say a cobbler with delusions of mechanical engineering
knowledge, who also cut keys, just really badly), within a twenty mile radius of our shop. We wouldnt be able to stand in front of the mirror in the
morning, and look ourselves square in the eye, if we just rinsed every job for all its worth, because we are honest folk, and thats not the way we
want to operate.
We could have had all the money we would need for the rest of our days if we had been more mercenary with our prices, and were the sort to go round
putting superglue in locks for instance, but thats just not our way.
Along with the responsibility we take on, for the security of our customers, the trust placed in us by our customers, we also feel a sense of moral
and ethical obligation toward our fellow traders on our road. When the local jewlery store got robbed, my collegue and I chased off the robbers
(nearly caught the bastards too! Just eight feet away when they jumped in thier car!), sprinting two hundred yards in the process, and relaying
information to the police the whole way. We were able to get on thier tails because when I stand out front of our shop having a cup of tea and a
cigarette, I am not just passing the time between customers in plesant solitude and contemplation. I have my eyes on gimbals, always looking to ensure
the continued saftey and security of my friends, neighbors and fellow traders, and because of that, I spotted the thieves going in. I was the only
person outside that jewlery store who knew what the hell was happening, because I have my eye on things. If things kick off down my road, I am first
on the scene, and last off it, because I am damned if I am letting people I care about suffer if theres something I can do to prevent it.
And you know, its nothing to do with Karma for me. I have been dumped on by life, and normally the thing that allows that, is everyone elses
indifference. I am making a stand for myself, by saying no matter what happens to me, I will never abandon someone I could have saved some grief, to a
fate they have no control over. If that means I care too much to make a "success" out of myself, then that is a price I will gladly pay, for being
able to sleep at night, a price I am happy to pay to know that I am doing all I can to ensure the well being of folk around me. I love my job, but I
also love the duty which having a pulse and a heart beat places about my shoulders. Offering protection and care to the people of my town, and
wherever I go may not be in my job description, but I believe it is my duty as a human being, one that I refuse to shirk for the sake of convienience.