50 Years of Shoveling Horse Shit

Question: What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve ever received?

Malachy McCourt: Ah.  I think when I was a kid I was advised, and this is poverty – depression thinking.  Somebody said there was a job in Limerick where I grew up, and at the time, cars were not as numerous as they are now.  There were more horses, and so they dumped their horseshit all over the place.  And there were a few people who got jobs in Limerick, a big barrel on wheels, and it was a barrel that went back and forth, and a shovel and a broom.  So, they went around shoveling the horseshit into this barrel.  So, you got that job when you were around 15, and then you got to retire at the age of 65, with a pension.  A small pension.  So that would be 50 years of shoveling horseshit.  And I was advised very seriously that I should get that job.  I didn’t.  And I thought that – not that’s either here on this earth shoveling horseshit, or else that’s my punishment in hell, shoveling horseshit.  And that’s the worst advice I ever got. 

And the best advice was, do whatever you want because that’s not what you are.  That’s what you do for the moment. 

Recorded on March 10, 2010

Malachy McCourt describes the worst career advice he’s ever received.

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