Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 26

As you might know by now, I have somehow found myself in a managerial position. I'm not really sure that I wanted it or if it's the right fit for me, but nonetheless, I have it. You also might recall that I'm not particularly fond of some of my teachers' attitude towards work and professionalism. Work doesn't work for you, you work for it. But I guess I'm to blame. I thought it wise to hire young teachers in hopes that their youth would translate to fire and passion. That wisdom turned out to be naiveté as I have had to fire many of my young teachers for easily avoidable infractions such as excessive tardiness, absence and teaching questionable material. They weren't bad people in the least, but they had absolutely no work ethic. They wanted everything given to them.

There are endless pieces of literature on what is called the Christian Work Ethic, so I don't really want to get into that, but I am curious as to why people treat work like it's something they didn't really need. The New Yorker has a good piece mocking the pampered lifestyle and unpreparedness of newly minted college grads. 
College graduates are setting foot in the real world for the very first time. Imagine how daunting that must be! They have so many daily needs, and yet they lack even the most basic tools required to survive in the world. They are completely helpless. Crying and screaming are ways for college graduates to communicate their frustrations, so that you can solve their problems for them.
Having made the fatal error of hiring three fresh grads last year, I can attest to this sentiment. Fresh college grads feel like they've made it into some elite group that's above such remediableness like work. Anytime I schedule a meeting or ask them to do something slightly beyond the scope of their presumed duties, the groaning and pertinaciousness takes hold and by the time they're finished, they've made even Glenn Beck appear grounded. I don't ask for much, either. I just ask them to do their job well, but they don't want to be bothered by such details. As long as they get their paycheck for a job well done showed-up for, then they feel fine. 

I guess I might have been like that in my life as well. Hell, the beginning of this entire project had its roots in the fact that I have quit many things but never sacrificed anything. It's been five years since I graduated from college. Maybe I've grown up a bit in that time. Proverbs 14:23 offers simple advice.
Work and you will earn a living. If you sit around talking you'll be poor.
It seems so simple, yet you'd be surprised the resistance I get from my employees who choose to go do battle when asked to do some work. What is it then that young workers don't get? Why do they dilute themselves to the point of combat when called on such behavior?

Well, the easy answer is culture. Not American culture, but technologically comfortable culture. The value of work and preparation has been downgraded while results and outcomes trumpeted. I guess I could talk again about gratification though I think I've done that enough. Rather, I think the problem is with dirt. Not dirt like soil, but getting our hands dirty. The college culture has warped the minds of the citizenry to abhor hard work and especially the laborer or one who must work with their hands and that's a shame. 

One of the joys of my living in Korea has been the time and freedom to pursue many different kinds of interests. Where else could I spend an entire year studying religions without it having any effect on my work? I have discovered an appreciation for many things and while Korea isn't directly the source of said discovery, it did serve as the venue. One thing that I haven't gotten to experience is working with my hands. I can't build or repair anything, yet I still manage to judge those who must for a living. The engineer builds things, too. But because they have a piece of paper to carry around proving they're in my "college culture", I blindly respect them. Why?

It comes down to the fact that at some point in my life, someone told me and everyone else that everyone wants to go to college. Those who don't couldn't and those are the people I see working with their hands. Well, I'm here to tell you and remind myself that a college degree means nothing in the absence of hard work --you know, the same hard work that the laborers  are doing.

I work very hard for my wife and dog. I also believe that without a reason (like family), I too would have slowly fallen into the trap of feeling like I'm owed something. Everyone works very hard for someone or something. If you're single or all alone in this world, you can always do it for the God. He'd allow it.

1 comment:

  1. ...petty engineer doesn't actually "build" things, he/she "designs" them....since your bro.-in-law and step-dad are engineers, I thought it important that you know what they do. ;)