When my wife and I joined our local food coop, the prospect of working a regular shift to unload trucks, pull produce, stock shelves and sweep floors galvanized me.
Because in a world of bullshit jobs where millions of smart, talented people are getting paid heaps of money to blow hot air about invisible products that nobody even pays attention to, there’s something deeply refreshing and about working in grocery store.
It’s an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.
There’s an expression you don’t hear anymore. Honest labor. Sounds like quaint language from a bygone era.
In fact, during my research on the origin of the phrase, I stumbled across a fascinating piece of history. Lancaster once published a journal for its local students who were planning on starting their career in the industrial trades.
In one particular issue from the early twenties, there was an article about how employers were bewailing the fact production was at sixty percent of normal. Managers were finding that the more they raised wages, the less return they got in goods.
Of course, it wasn’t there fault, the journal reported. Because there were two kinds of employees in the world.
The honest worker, who worked, and then the dishonest worker, who shirked.
Turns out, honest labor was being contaminated by the premium put upon slackness. Workers were growing discouraged when they saw that slackness pays. And that men who were habitually late, indifferent, lazy or careless, were still getting ahead.
All the more reason to resurrect our nation’s idea of honest labor. It might not be the easiest, best paid, most enjoyable or highest prestige work in the world.
But it’s diligent and fair and legal and useful, it provides you with a sense of satisfaction when the day is done, and even if it’s not an outward manifestation of your soul’s purpose, you still get the job done to the best of your ability.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you received an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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