By Kenneth Justice
A friend of mine was fired last year. After three years on the job as manager of his department he led his division to record sales……upper management let him go in exchange for someone they could give 50% less in salary. My friend was working 60 hours a week for his company…..
Being overworked and under-appreciated is not just limited to the vocational setting, how many stay-at-home mom’s and dads are under-appreciated by their loved ones? Spending your whole day with people who’s conversational skills are at the level of a Sesame Street Muppet can be exhausting…..
Western society demands a lot of its workers; employees are expected to ‘sell their soul at the company store’…..and for what?
I think about work quite a bit….
My father was a workaholic. He owned a number of small businesses and had quite a few employees over the years. During my younger years I rarely saw my father unless I was spending the day at the office with him…and even then I was usually hanging out with his employees because he was bouncing from one meeting to the next.
and then one day……..my father died.
When we are doing a job we love……we don’t necessarily view it as ‘work’……
But, studies show that less than 10% of people are actually working at a job they love.
And even for someone like my father…..who was doing something he loved…..what was the end of it all?
My father died with a tremendous amount of unresolved tension between he and my siblings. My oldest sister did not attend his funeral. So did it really matter that he was doing what he loved?
I spent a few years working for a counseling program in the county jail near my house, I worked with the male inmates.
The worst day of the week was Thursday, visiting day……I had to walk through the lobby of the jail, past dozens and dozens of young mom’s and their children who were there to see their incarcerated husbands and boyfriends…it was awful.
These young women are bearing a heavy burden, many of them had to work a 40 hour a week job to stay afloat and on top of it they had to raise their children all-by-themselves…..I made a point to never peak in on their visits because I made the mistake once and saw children crying when their dad’s were taken away from them…..I couldn’t keep my own tears away.
In our society these women are entirely under appreciated…..and what sucks is that in the majority of the cases the women had very little social and peer support; they were on their own.
However….that’s an extreme example. Most people are not in jail…..
For most of us, we go to our jobs, complete our tasks, get back home in time for dinner, we have a good night’s sleep, and then we start the process all over again…..
but what is the end of it all?
Are we doing something we love?
Are we under-appreciating our stay-at-home wives, sisters, and friends?
This post is a different kind of post for me….because the dimensions with regard to work are so varied….there are a million things we discuss….
How about a 25 year old woman who is a barista at one of my regular coffee stops, she makes $12 an hour and wants to go to college, but her family can’t afford to send her. She works very hard….I make quite a bit more than her and I can honestly say she works quite a bit harder than me.
She doesn’t qualify for financial aid because the government says $12 an hour is too much for her to make to qualify……so unless she takes out a loan she is stuck in a cycle that she can’t stop……
How about the unemployed….the people who were laid off and merely want the opportunity to work at a job?
The thread that binds these varied paragraphs together is; work.
Work is a part of life.
Work moves us from one city to the next.
Work can keep us stuck in one city forever.
Too much work can destroy relationships.
Too little work can destroy relationships.
Next to love, sex, and spirituality, work is perhaps one of the most central components of our lives, it takes up a lot of our time, thoughts, and life…….
So what does it all mean?
I’m not sure…..but I do know that I need another cup of coffee.
Categories: Culture & Society