A Message to the 90% from the 10%

There’s a saying I’ve heard from my mom that the 10% do 90% of the work and the 90% do 10% of the work.

If you ask just about anyone about why they hated group projects in school, they’ll likely say that it’s because they were the ones that did all of the work. However, it occurred to me that not everyone can do all of the group project work. It’s just not possible.

There are two explanations: first, that we all view our assigned portion of the project as the most important and therefore feel as if we’re carrying the load ourselves; second, that 90% of the people asked about group work are lying.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a 10% person taking on the 90%. I say that I did all of the work in group projects because I did all of the work. I stay behind to help the host and hostess do the dishes while the other guests sit on the couches and laugh at everyone’s wit. Even though I’ve been pushing five hours of sleep each night since this semester started, even though I’ve been cradling my 4.0 grade point average, even though I have to read two books each and write three essays each week, even though I have anxiety, depression, ADD, and PCOS, even though I have two of the biggest callings in my ward, even though I am at the end of my rope and holding back tears in the middle of church and classes because all I want to do is take care of myself for once, I’ll help you move while your other friends move a pillow or a lamp and then take a break. I’ll conduct the music in sacrament meeting because you decided that you didn’t want to show up after you promised me that you would. I’ll put your name on the project because you and your girlfriend were so in love and were busy having so much fun this weekend that you couldn’t pitch in.

I can’t help this. I have always felt obligated to help regardless of what I felt, of what I needed, but how can I help others when I’m barely holding myself together?

That’s just it, you don’t let anyone know that you’re inner monologue is a cacophony of angry shouts and a plea for rest and a moment to slow down and stop thinking. You don’t let them know that you need to be alone or else you’ll be on the brink of breaking down. You put on a smile, you keep saying yes because should you say no, they’ll say you never help. You say no once and then suddenly you’re an ingrate that doesn’t pull their own weight, that hates everyone around them and only looks after themselves.

That’s the thing about the 90%, they think they do all of the work and they’re up so high that they don’t see the 10% sweeping the dust that the they leave behind.

So, sure. I’ll write your part of the essay, I’ll give you my food, I’ll cover your shift. It’s what I do.



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