Occupy this and protest that, but get to work already.
Now, are you going to scream at me or read this article?
It’s true, many people are unemployed, can’t get employed, and are suffering. Their children are suffering. Their animals.
Many people want to work. They find what they can and are proud to have a job, whatever it is.
I salute those people.
Many others are chronic complainers. They have no work ethic and don’t want one. They want to work, but stop when they make a buck or two. They live off unemployment because they can. They retire donkey years earlier than anyone else because they have a government pension (or worse, are proud that they are ‘double-dippers’).
You, fellow Americans, need to get back to work. Now.
I know very well about working, about wanting to work, about not being able to. I’ve been handicapped for 22 years. I couldn’t work for more than 15 of them, because of illness and physical limitations. So I worked on what I could: I polished my writing, I worked to get healthy, I created a healthy balanced life with animals, I lived community with my family and friends. I took care of my aging, ill parents.
I worked at health.
I wanted to go to a regular job and couldn’t. I also knew that no employer would have someone who’s handicapped like I am, because chronic illness is unpredictable.
So I created my own company. I quietly nurtured a loyal client base, helping people develop and publish their books. I taught writing. As I developed my intuitive abilities, I launched an intuitive consulting business. Now that’s what I do: I write true stories and I help people learn to tap their intuition. My partner is a crystal. His name is Fallon.
I’m working as best as I can.
I don’t quit. I won’t. I can’t. Why?
Because good work is part of life. It creates and nurtures life. It balances us.
The problem is, we Americans have forgotten what that means.
So I was intrigued by an article at msnbc.com contributed by Elizabeth Dwoskin at Bloomberg Businessweek. Crops are rotting in the fields, essential services are not getting done, because Americans call it ‘menial labor.’ They won’t work in the fields. They won’t clean homes and businesses. Well, look beyond your noses at this quote from Dwoskin’s article:
‘Massey says Americans didn’t turn away from the work merely because it was hard or because of the pay but because they had come to think of it as beneath them. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the job itself,” he says. In other countries, citizens refuse to take jobs that Americans compete for. In Europe, Massey says, “auto manufacturing is an immigrant job category. Whereas in the States, it’s a native category.”‘
Americans want to be managers. To them that means they tell other people what to do. They are inspired by personal coaches (I’ve not quite figured out what they are, but they are busy) who write golden futures for them that somehow lead them to classify work. No one wants to do the basics.
Well, I see it differently.
I grew up in a small Oregon town where the kids got up at the crack of dawn in the summer, climbed on buses, and went to pick crops so farmers could get that food to the cannery or grocer. Today, crops rot in the fields because no one will pick them.
Yes, my parents wouldn’t let us pick crops. Instead, my dad put me to work in his pharmacy/gift shop in the seventh grade. My dad had a habit of choosing shy, industrious teens to work in his store. He helped them become hardworking, honest citizens with a strong work ethic and the know-how to follow through.
I have an MBA from the University of Michigan, one of the top business schools in the country, but what I learned about good solid work came from my dad.
We need more dads like that right now. We need more people who are willing to work, and work hard, and do good work.
I’ve met some of them. Two of them clean my house for me, necessary because my body isn’t strong enough to do it myself. These two women are excellent examples of work ethic: they come in, they clean expertly, and they take pride in their work. They are also hilarious: they keep wanting to do more, because my standard of housekeeping isn’t up to theirs. Not once have they ever said anything I asked them to do was menial. They chose a business. They do a fabulous job. I admire them.
I do not get computers. I was simply too sick in the early years and now too busy to go back and figure them out. I have had a hard time finding people to work for me, to do computer work. One small business offered a simple website in two weeks, and three months later still had done nothing. Another badmouthed me to my face, not to mention other people, and refused to follow directions while complaining about ‘menial work.’ Fortunately, I now have a terrific website guy who keeps things running, never complains about his work, and is deservedly swamped. I continue to seek an able, supportive, genial assistant: asking around, I find many other people experiencing the same problem I have—people won’t work amd simply don’t know how to.
I have had other people ask to work for me, and when I call back to book their services, turns out they’ve just made a few bucks and they “don’t do that work.”
Menial labor again.
Well I talk with things. With homes, businesses, animals, chairs, cars, weather systems, whatever. I see the world from what I call an earth paradigm. I know we’re all in it together. All of us, no matter what it looks like. All life believes that. Except some humans.
I know that no work is menial. That word has no real meaning. Unless you’re mistakenly arrogant.
I have never in my life looked down on any work as beneath me. As not important or crucial for society. I am in awe of construction workers, and grocers, and farmers, and sometimes even physicists (for making livings making things up, and with math no less!).
I am grateful for the good honest work that so many people do.
And I am telling you, and everyone out there, that we don’t build an economy with people who won’t work. Who look down on doing whatever honest work there is to keep going. Who choose honest work and do it well.
Just quit complaining. Be glad you have a healthy body that can work. You can make any work mean something. And you can put food on America’s tables by picking those crops, keeping things clean, building things that work, and taking pride in making a contribution.
Because if you won’t, other people will. They aren’t Americans now. But they will be. Because they live what Americans should be living: productive lives.
They do the work. All work matters.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz. Photo of bald eagle in flight, (c) Danny L. McMillin