Thursday, July 14, 2011

What makes your job so superior to others?

I always find it curious why people chomp at the bit to demean those whose paychecks come from a governmental agency. It’s as if those in the “private” sector automatically shine with an air of superiority, opposed to those mere mortals who work their butts off in a different kind of sector.
My dear wife works for the city of Dallas, has to commute 45 minutes each way daily (through traffic acknowledged as some of the worse in the United States), and truly earn a paycheck some 25 percent LOWER than what she made with an international corporation (before said corporation decided to ship her job, plus 2,000 others to India and the Philippines where people work for table scraps). She is college-degreed and one of the better people in her IT field; yet this job is the best she could find offering full-time benefits (but one of the worst medical plans around) and steady income.
Sadly, in her field, the trend is moving towards “contract” (meaning part-time) labor which guarantees nothing and offers no longevity or stability. The only good thing finds the job actually NOT farmed to Manila, Mumbai or some other call center which pay its workers in scraps.
Yet, on talk shrill radio, dead-head television and everywhere else, she is seen as some kind of Hester Prynne, with the scarlet letter “G” emblazoned on her forehead – scorned, castigated, rebuked and emotionally spat upon by ignorant strangers who know nothing of her responsibilities nor the functions of her job. Even worse, these people take such uncaring attitudes – themselves working jobs which, in reality, would be highly insignificant in the grand order of things. Do we NOT have too many lawyers, accountants, nail technicians, dry cleaners, doughnut makers, insurance salesmen/women, fast food workers or “account managers” in the country today?
In the current economic state of affairs, too many Americans believe they are better than others – a flight of such hubris as to be the death of us all (as a society and nation). There are citizens – some down on their luck, some suffering from illnesses (physical, mental and/or addiction), or some because accidental placement of birth – seen as LESS worthy of compassion. Too many among us would rather contribute available charity to mega-churches, supplementing the lavish lifestyle of some slick-talking televangelists, than to move money which would actually do something of value for those who cannot help themselves.
For example, in my community (Plano, Texas), frightened protesters ran a homeless shelter out of town before a spade of dirt could be turned, all based on unfounded rumors, innuendo and lies … but mostly because of fear of the unknown. Critics kept claiming the city and shelter would be overrun by drunks, drug addicts and derelicts when the facts showed that residents would actually resemble their neighbors … because THAT’S the new face of homelessness in the U.S. More and more, middle-class families are being forced out of their homes because of long-term unemployment and bankrupting debt due to illness, hospitalization and the inability to cover living expenses like mortgages, rent, credit cards, food, car payments, etc.
Even worse, there are politicians seeking to be part of the very thing they despise – the government. As Groucho Marx correctly said, “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.” If you hate, to your very core, the federal government and ALL it represents, why in the world would you want to join it? Perhaps the answer lies in the enticement – power, rather than money (although congressional perks and benefits are quite a haul).
It’s difficult for me to listen to someone like Michelle Bachman deliver her diatribe against government when she was the recipient, for years, of the public’s tax money, serving as an IRS lawyer, helping to file suit for back taxes against her fellow Americans. I’m sure she cashed her checks like the rest of us, in order to pay the household bills.
We also demean the very people who established this nation – not the improperly sainted “Founding Fathers” – but the immigrants who came, by ship and by foot, to populate the “New World.” The United States has always been dependent upon new faces from different places to build the country in all facets of development.
Alas, our anger about temporary economic valleys is, again, directed to those who see the U.S.A. in a different hue – as a place of greater and grander opportunity for self-betterment (and for one’s family). Those who degrade these newcomers still expect them to fulfill the unwanted, menial tasks required to make the wheels of progress continue to spin. It’s just so hypocritical.
Everyone in this world, everyone in this country-state-county-city, has a purpose and role to play – at home, in church and at work. Appreciating for one’s work and another’s contributions go a long way to providing prosperity, peace and unity. I appreciate what my wife contributes to our household and to her employer; she does quality work and deserves her compensation.
Any other attitude only divides and is cruel and demeaning. Is that what our society has come to? So the question to be asked, for everyone, is this: what if it was YOU?

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