An envelope was waiting behind my time card today when I walked towards the time stamp to clock in for work this morning. A smile lit up my face as raced to the lunch room to put my belongings in a cubby hole, admiring how it was addressed to me as I ran down the hall. After dropping my backpack and purse in my space, I sat down and proceeded to open the envelope. Carefully sliding my index finger under the flap, I smoothly slit the envelope and took out the piece of paper inside.
It was no ordinary piece of paper. It was my first paycheck in the last four years.
As usual, hard work and effort are usually recorded or remembered through an accomplishment, usually on a paper award or a trophy. Take college for example: like any educational degree, my four years of work resulted in a diploma, a fancy piece of sturdier-than-normal paper and signed by very important people who are responsible for maintaining the prestige of my school to prove that I have completed the requirements of my major. As sad as it sounds, I earned a meaningful piece of paper after four years of college. YAY. FOUR YEARS OF HARD WORK AND STRESS GAVE ME ONE PIECE OF PAPER. HOW JOYFUL!
It’s ok. At least I get something to show for my achievement. This piece of paper is supposed to be more valuable than all the textbooks I’ve bought over the course of four years, the sweat and tears poured into studying for all-important tests and practicals, the friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had… Well, the paper is what I want it to represent, and for others to see that I’m an educated person looking to find a place in the world.
And today I’ve found proof that I belong in a small place in the world. I am a part time dental assistant and front desk secretary, and my paycheck shows that I have a place in this small private clinic. The piece of paper found in the envelope is evidence that my existence was recognized and rewarded. However, such a recognition does not continue without hard work and genuine effort. I will continue to learn to better myself in my work and continue to earn this recognition in the form of a piece of paper.