Get off your butt and go to work!



by Kenneth Justice

It’s not FAIR Kenneth, I shouldn’t have to work at a boring job, I should be able to do something  that I enjoy” she said.

~ I was talking to a twenty-five year old young woman last week who complained to me about the perceived “injustice” of having to work a job she didn’t love. She believed that she has the “right” to work at a job she enjoys. Unfortunately, the various people I meet like this young woman (both men and women) tend to live off of their parents, many of them still live in their parent’s basement well into their thirties.

The reality of life is that most jobs aren’t that much fun. Digging ditches, working at a water sewage treatment facility, working for a garbage company, working in janitorial service, the list is virtually endless of dirty, smelly, nasty, and boring jobs.

This all leads me to a simple question; when did we begin teaching people in Western Culture that work is always supposed to be fun?

Could it be that our entertainment soaked culture, spawned by television, movies, and video games, has programmed our youth into believing that every moment of every day is supposed to be as exciting as flying through some virtual video game and searching for buried treasure?

I talked with a high school teenager recently who told me that their goal was to go to college to become a video game programmer or player; “I want to be one of the people that test the video games and give reports on them”  he said. Essentially, he wants to play video games and get paid for it! I didn’t burst the young man’s bubble by asking him if he knew how many jobs actually existed in the entire world in which people got paid for playing video games all day, I can’t imagine the number is as high as janitorial positions.

But working a boring or difficult job doesn’t mean you are throwing your life away. Take for instance Laurant Lavoisier who discovered The Law of the Conversation of Energy; he was an accountant! Working in France shortly before the revolution, this accountant worked long hours six days a week. During an era when there was no television and no radio to turn on and zone out in front of in the evenings, every Sunday (his only day off) he performed scientific experiments, not having any background or training in science, it was merely a hobby he developed to offset the exhaustion of working a difficult job.

Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that too many young people these days have bought into a false bill of goods; they (incorrectly) believe that their “happiness” and their “enjoyment” are the most important things they should be focusing on every minute of every day. I’ve had countless young adults tell me, “all that matters is whether I’m happy or not”. Well, sorry to burst their bubble, but being happy is NOT the most important thing in life. Doing what is right, being ethical, being moral, and being a honest and good citizen are more important!

After all, extremist militants believe they are pursuing their happiness as they terrorize villages throughout the Middle East, torturing and murdering innocent men, women and children. These extremists are NOT being good citizens. These extremists are NOT acting morally. The extremists are NOT acting ethically.

Pursuing our happiness should not be our primary goal in life when we look at the matter in context. While we should each pursue endeavors in life that we enjoy, we should NOT do it at the expense of others. Although, if you’re fine living in your parent’s basement, or stealing money from others, then I guess that is your prerogative, but you won’t receive my esteem.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

21 replies

  1. you can’t be too hard on the kids . . . after all we trained them to be spoiled brats . . . right? . . . and it seems they have learned quite well. . . .

    downside is that one day somewhere in their future they must enter the ‘school of hard knocks’ where the “real” learning begins. . .

  2. You hit the nail on the head with this one!

  3. One can never find happiness by looking it for ones self. Happiness isn’t about having everything.

    “Happiness isn’t a selfish act”. And with that I found a thought of the day!

    We compare to others who SEEM happy and pursue that. Though little do we know what makes them truly happy. Even the riches of rich do not always feel happy.
    The day we stop being selfish and look at our own happiness and start looking at what e can give others we find true happiness.

    After all, “we receive what we share and give”

  4. The takeaway is: Get my parents to move to the basement.

  5. Nice writing. It’s what you make of your job that’s important. If you wake up thinking, “Another day at a job I hate, ugh,” well, you’re highly likely to have a crappy day. If you wake up thinking, “OK, it’s not a dream come true but I’ve got a roof over my head, food and clothing, and have a few friends there I can laughingly complain about it with over Happy Hour afterwards, so in that respect, I’m pretty lucky.”

    I live in DC with probably one of the most unromantic, unhappy populations in any “developed” country. I’ve no doubt the grind of government work gets to them day in, day out. A lot of them make a great deal of money doing it though. I wonder if they’re socking it away to retire early, start that humanitarian non-profit idea chiming in their heads, lifting their sagging spirits volunteering at soup kitchens, stopping to chat and get to know one of the 13,000 homeless men, women and children, donating their year-old, out of style Michael Kors handbags and tailored clothing to jobless people needing a nice outfit for interviews?

    I’m a relative newbie to DC but was struck by how shut off everyone was to their surroundings as they hurried up and down the sidewalks to their extremely important whatever. Well, not everyone. The landscapers, retail employees at coffee shops, my favorite grocery market, CVS, post office, construction workers, nannies, maintenance guys in my building, the cable man, and most of the homeless men who pan the main drag of my neighborhood, including my first friend here, John–they smile and say hi to me.

    You’d be amazed how much richer and fulfilling your days can be when you look up from your iPhone, dislodge your earbuds, and take in all the life happening around you.

    Peace \/

  6. Yea 🙂 I can resonate to do right in moral, ethical and honest way.

  7. Reblogged this on Moral Value Story and commented:
    It is important to do right in moral, ethical and honest ways

  8. Great subject! Yes, we seem to be creating a bunch of people who believe they shouldn’t ever have to do anything that isn’t fun, that doesn’t make them happy. The flip side of that is that they also seem to have no skills to change their attitude about their work and make it fun or to become and entrepreneur and start a business they enjoy. So the pursuit of happiness has become this passive thing, where people now expect the world to provide it for them and if it isn’t happening, “it’s not fair.” Try telling people that they are responsible for their own happiness in life, work, marriage and they don’t get it. Isn’t the world supposed to do this for me?

  9. Society reaps what it sows. If you want a population so obsessed with trivial matters and entertainment that they don’t notice all the b.s. going on and are willing to spend all their money on unnecessary gadgets than eventually the majority of the population becomes useless at keeping the workforce going and without the right people to maintain society it will crumble.

  10. I think that a lot of people mean “fulfillment” when they say “happiness.” I’m one of those young people who pursue happiness/fulfillment in my career, and I have made decisions that put that ahead of making money or stability. People make decisions in line with their values, and if their values aren’t, well, noble, then that’s too bad. Would love to hear more from you about this.

  11. Reblogged this on Peaceful City Life and commented:
    This post is singing my song.

  12. I think that ALL jobs can be fun – but it depends on the person. Some people like to dig ditches, others like to pick up after others – really. The key is to pick and do well, what YOU love to do. Everything will get done, but by those who do it with pride and satisfaction.

  13. To be fair I don’t know that all of the young people who think this way are intentionally like this. That is to say, that the messages that we’re often fed via parents or media or peers is that we should be pursuing something that makes us happy. I’m not trying to peg responsibility entirely on one party, but I also think that the messages we receive contribute to this. I feel like the best way to counteract this would be with teaching ourselves and our children to be grateful. We tend to get wrapped up in our so-called “First World” problems because we forget to have gratitude for the beauty in our lives and situations.

  14. Despite your use of capital letters, terrorists in the middle east DO believe they are acting for ethical reasons. I don’t think their own happiness is much of a concern if they are willing to sacrifice themselves to such extremist ideology. Being ethcial always degenerates, when people lose touch with their own authentic sense of self, into hypocrisy and double standards. And into extremist ideologies that lose touch with the basic human sense of compassion and well-being. It also creates a false compartmentalization between the public, ethical image a person portrays, and their private life that is incompatible with this.

    I agree that pursuit of self happiness has gone too far in places, but this is largely due to the consumerism and capitalism and advertising that have been stuffed down recent generations throats in the west from a young age. And what they are pursuing is not really their own good or happiness, but merely the next short-term pleasure to stave off their boredom and sense of emptiness till the next object arrives for them to passively consume. It is a sickness in its own right for which people need to be healed, and helped to gain a more healthy and rounded view of life.

    I find it strange you would group terrorists and western consumerists together, when terrorists are largely a reaction to and against western consumerism. It’s as if you are grouping together all things you don’t like as wrong, and all things you do like as right. Confusing your own personal preferences with universal moral values.

  15. So, am I to understand that kids are no longer taught “nobody ever said life would be fair”? It’s possible that my father completely used up that phrase between the years of 1965 and 1982, in which case this whole thing could be his fault.

  16. I totally agree with you that happiness is not all the life is about. (although it also depends on how you define happiness)
    But, those militants actually think the same. They are not killing people because they want to be happy. They are doing it because they think it is the “ETHICAL”, “MORAL”, “RIGHT” and “GOOD” thing is.
    So the problem here is very deep and very dependent on the definitions.

  17. Games as jobs: read the book MetaGame by Sam Landstrom which speculates on a future where accommodations have been made to get the kids you mention into the “work force”!

  18. The hardest thing to teach kids is to take hold of their freedom. When someone else is providing for you, you are not free. To take hold of your freedom, you must WORK to be self sufficient. The more you are your own provider, the more choices you get to make for yourself. I am. Not chained to a desk. I have the choice to quit, get on public assistance and sit on my ass for the rest of my life but… I want to be free. Therefore I work.

  19. This world doesn’t owe you anything. Work hard and you will be rewarded.

  20. The thing being that kids today are no longer bound in their thoughts of having the stable living. They would not mind giving up a high-paying job that means almost nothing to them for the want of excitement and contentment in their lives. Fair enough I would say as long it keeps one happy and not living off someone. We should be teaching the kids to find that ONE thing that they love and go for it – make it their love and their living!

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