LXXII – Work? Never Heard of It!

It is often joked that work is a “four-letter word”. That is a dual pun, as work really does have four letters, but it is implied that it is a “bad word” in the same class as profanity, many of those words having four letters (like shit, hell, etc). Though many people despise the idea of work, and would much rather spend their time in other more desirable pursuits, most of us are required to work—have a job of some kind. We need a way to make the money needed for daily survival. Money to pay bills, buy food and do pretty much anything else we want.

There was a time when work was an honorable thing. Young people were very desirous of being able to join the workforce and become gainfully employed. Not only that, they took pride in what they did. Whether they were pumping gas, cooking, baking, building something, fixing something, they did their job and were proud of it. Unfortunately, things seem to have changed dramatically. Today, nearly one-fifth of the way into the 21st century, working has become something of dread for some people. This laziness or lack of desire to work has also, unfortunately, permeated its way into most of the generations out there.

Not surprisingly, after the last big economic recession of 2008, many people became unemployed when the economy turned south. Some people couldn’t find a job for anything, and eventually exhausted even government unemployment assistance. Many simply stopped looking altogether. The total labor participation pool shrank during that time. In fact, there are roughly 15 million less people in the workforce today than there were in 2000 (according to the website usdebtclock.org). Notwithstanding those who gave up, there are many people out there who refuse to work. Many of those—the ones who refuse to work—are on some kind of government assistance, be it food stamps, Medicaid, government cash assistance, or whatever. In fact, some of those people actually make more per month on welfare than if they were working. This is not to say that drawing welfare is a bad thing. I have been the beneficiary of Medicaid and food stamps in the past. I was very grateful for the help when I was able and needed it. However, it’s not meant to be a standard of living, your only means of income. There are situations in which I’m all for people getting it. What pisses me off is these people who have a whole brood of kids so they can draw more and more welfare and avoid working. Another group I take offense to in this respect is the polygamist families out in the Colorado City, AZ/Hildale, UT, area. Their lifestyle choice doesn’t bother me—you do you. Because one man takes several wives upon himself, they’re not legally married to each other according to the state (there are laws against plural marriage), so these women are seen as single mothers with several kids. So, even though the men have their construction businesses, all of them driving their huge, expensive SUVs, the women go shopping in their groups (you never see a polygamist woman alone), and paying for their food with an EBT card. Not only that, but their houses out there all remain unfinished, so as to appear in a state of perpetual construction, to avoid property taxes. That is, unless some law has changed that I’m not aware of. Meanwhile, others out there who work, but don’t make quite enough to get by, can’t get assistance, because they “make too much”. I remember one time, my family was denied Medicaid (as I’m uninsured and my kids were little at the time) because we made $1/month over the limit. Denied because of one fucking dollar in a month! Yeah, I was livid, but the government doesn’t give a damn.

Today’s so-called “Generation Z”—kids born from around the beginning of the millennium forward—are reaching the age to begin entering the workforce. Hell, next year, kids born in 2004 will be old enough to get jobs for the most part🤯. In some places, like southern Utah, there are jobs available (in fact some places are always hiring), so if one of these kids gets mad or offended by something😱, they can just leave and find something else. There’s no sense of loyalty. Not to say all of them are like that, and there’s an entitlement attitude in other generations, as well. There’s a general feeling in this country that people are entitled to what they want, when they want it. They have a “my way or the highway” attitude. Part of this is due to the nature of the Internet and Social Media. People want their immediate gratification. They want their dopamine high when they see their Instagram post has a couple hundred likes, or their Facebook picture gets however-many reactions.

John F. Kennedy once uttered his famous words “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Once revered, that phrase has now been completely inverted by society. If Kennedy were alive today and running for president, he wouldn’t make it past the exploratory stage. Today’s America is sitting with its hand outstretched, waiting for its entitlement handout, following its new mantra: “ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country will do for you.” Sadly, the same would hold true for Reagan. Back in the 80s, he was elected in a landslide victory. Being a conservative, advocate for smaller government and for said government to get off people’s backs, his campaign would never survive today, I believe. Many out there, especially those in the Democrat party or who label themselves as “liberal”, “progressive”, or “socialist” are in favor of a massive behemoth of a government who has all power and micro-manages every aspect of everyone’s everyday life. Some of the way-far-left-wing (one particular senator, initials AOC comes to mind) would love to have thought police and a social credit system like China has, where if you’re not doing things the way the government demands, your score gets lowered to the point where you can’t work or even use public transportation to go anywhere. They want Third-World-type socialized medicine, medical rationing and the complete elimination of fossil fuels and plastics, like straws and bags.

Okay, I guess I strayed off-topic🤭. Sadly, the general work ethic of this country has gone downhill. Partly due to entitlement mentality (as I call it, the Burger King mentality of “have it your way”), but also partly because of the cost of college. Some people think that college is the be all and end all. College tuition is outrageous, depending on where you go. University tuition ranges in the $20,000 – $40,000 per year range, including housing. However, just books can run over $1000. Just one book can cost $200. The fucked-up part of that is if books are bought back, the school pays a mere fraction of the cost. And to hell with you if a new edition comes out. The poor student is SOL (shit outta luck) and JWF (jolly well fucked), as the school will not buy them back. They might have luck selling them on eBay, who knows🤷‍♂️. At any rate, four years of that puts the sucker back around a hundred grand, not including going on for bachelors, masters or doctorates. One thing these saps aren’t told is that student loans are forever. You can’t bankrupt out of them, and cosigners are stuck with it if the student defaults. Sometimes learning a trade would be a much better choice, and there are plumbers out there that make a damn good living.

So yeah, the whole system of everything in this country is messed up. Perhaps it would be best if we just threw the whole government away and start anew. What must be done to re-ignite the spark of enjoying working again? If I knew the answer, I could be a billionaire. Alas, I am just a mere middle-aged man who works in two restaurants and occasionally bitches and moans on the internet weekly, by way of a laptop keyboard. However, I do enjoy working, and though tiring, I do like where I work👨‍🍳. What do you think? Are people lazy today? Do people seem to feel entitled? What could possibly give people a kick in the ass to want to work? Intriguing questions…

Stay tuned for next week’s final post for 2019😵. Time is heading forward (borrowing from Star Trek) at Warp 9, with no sign of slowing. Until next we meet, be safe and be well.

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