It is 1980 and three women are struggling to work together for a creep of a boss. Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda plot to foil his discriminatory practices AND build a friendship along the way. These lyrics communicated to the world how it feels to work the grind, how it feels to have your dreams crushed and how it feels to have someone else take credit for your work. It is over forty years later and people still mutter these words to describe a bad day at the office.
I love the imagery of a “cup of ambition” and “tumbling out of bed”. It is how we all feel when that alarm clock sounds and we know we just don’t have it so we need some liquid help. Not every day is a fabulous, jump out of bed excited day. And not everyday is a drag. Most days are the same pattern with a mix of good and bad swirled together. The goal is to do what we must, do it well, and lay our head down after the sun goes down knowing that we gave it our best efforts.
Dolly Parton’s lyrics remind us that a lot of people feel the way we do. She talks about trying to “move ahead” and “folks like me on the job from nine to five”. Whether it is traffic or zoom meetings, conference calls or email messages, we are all working to get there, get by and get ahead. Sometimes we all need help getting that done. We need friends, a goal and a challenge to give us something to work towards and great people to work with. In this pandemic with less people contact from a face to face perspective it can be more work to build a relationship with colleagues. It is work, and work worth doing. People make what we do worthwhile and people are what make the grind much less of a grind.
So tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen, pour yourself a cup of ambition…yawn and stretch and try to come to life. Get to that work – no matter what it is – and invest in your relationships with people. Help them get better and they in turn will help you get better. Together we can all work nine to five and enjoy the hours.