Monday, May 26, 2014

Dignity? What's Dignified About Your Behavior?

   There is a lot of hardship in this country right now. People are struggling, and I don't deny that. But some of these people who are struggling, they could be doing just a little bit better if they would just put their pride away and find some work, any work. You know, minimum wage might not pay the bills, but you know what also doesn't pay the bills? No wage at all.
   I lived, once upon a time when I was young and stupid, with someone who refused to work at places like grocery stores or fast food chains because they were 'beneath' him. He stayed at home, not even drawing unemployment because the reason he had been fired left him ineligible for that type of compensation, and watched his family suffer while he refused to even apply at certain places because they would have been a 'step down.' I have very little tolerance left for this type of attitude, so when people come at me with their complaints about how they can't take a job like mine, because those types of jobs are beneath their dignity, they tend to get Marie's ultra-special-glare-of-death.
    I actually had a woman tell me that she was going to go apply for foodstamps because she couldn't find a job in her old field, and she just wasn't going to waste her time applying for jobs that were 'beneath her dignity', which, yes, was the exact phrasing that she used and the inspiration for this whole post. Because when we are talking about something being against people's dignities, I would think living off of foodstamps when you are physically and mentally able to work would be 'beneath your dignity'. I would think that a person looking for work would only be working 'beneath their dignity' if they took work that involved some sort of illegal activity or immoral behavior. That would be beneath your dignity. But ringing up groceries, flipping burgers, waiting tables, these are not beneath anyone. These are not shameful jobs.
   Maybe these jobs are not illustrious, prestigious positions, but hey, no one ever said that you had to make these positions your final destinations. The little gas station job you found could just be a place-holder job until you find something better. You know, there is no law that states that you cannot continue to look for a better position just because you've taken one position already. And while you look for that position, you have a job that keeps a largish unemployment gap off your work history - gaps that can make landing any position difficult because employers tend to not want to hire people who appear to have large periods of time where they are not working. Honestly, sometimes that is kinda unfair, because there are a lot of parents who choose to stay home with the kiddos for a while before getting back into the work force, and their unemployment gap is not due to laziness or lack of motivation, but instead is due to responsibility. But other times, these lengthy unemployment gaps are due to junior not wanting to take a job flipping burgers after graduation.
    You know, we all have our personal dreams and ambitions, and I am in no way saying to give them up. In no way am I saying that; I think you need to chase those dreams and ambitions with everything you have. But if everything you have involves sitting on your couch eating Cheetos while you bitch about the lack of 'suitable jobs', well, I'm sorry, but I don't think you have much. I don't think you are going to reach your goals and achieve your dreams in this manner. And at the end of the day, I have one hundred percent more respect for the person who waits my table than I do for the person who refuses to work at all. I mean, isn't that a given? One is being a productive member of society and the other is... whining. I would think that would be 'beneath someone's dignity'. But then, what do I know of this type of hardship? I'm only a single mom with two college degrees, who rings up groceries. Wait... maybe I do know what I'm talking about here. Get up off your ass and go find a job. 

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