(Note: This post was actually written a week or so ago, before the election, and was motivated by the general nastiness towards people in “undesirable” jobs that seems to be picking up speed – or, perhaps, it may be the case I am just noticing it more. Anyway, given the election results, I don’t really imagine that this sniping at society’s “losers” – i.e. anyone who is perceived to be lower in status than the person who is doing the criticising- will ease up.)
Maybe I’ve just been naïve not to notice it before, or maybe it really is getting much more prevalent, but the attitude towards people who are “unmotivated”, “lazy”, “moochers”, or have the “crap jobs” has made me extremely angry and upset lately. So many people seem to feel entitled to shit on people who are obviously less awesome then they are, and are exercising what they seem to think is their right to aggressively and nastily criticise anyone they think is in a bad situation, because apparently all it takes is hard work and enough desire for anyone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become a lawyer/doctor/millionaire entrepreneur/the Prime Minister. And usually this attitude also includes some obligatory criticism of the types of jobs that these non-awesome bottom feeders are doing (with apparently no motivation to ever better themselves, because if they had that then they would’ve swiftly risen through the ranks to become the manager/boss/own a whole damn franchise chain). Apparently these jobs – in fast food, cleaning, care work, factory work, etc – are piss easy jobs that are handed out to any warm body on the street, and why should someone in a job like that be paid more than five bucks an hour to mindlessly put things into boxes or mop the floors?
Well, I’m fed up with these arrogant, nasty, heartless jerks talking smack about how monkeys deserve their peanuts. These jobs are so easy and effortless, are they? Barely even count as real jobs? As someone who has worked in a few different “drone jobs”, I feel very strongly about this topic. As someone who worked as a supermarket checkout chick, I want to know this: if that kind of job is so easy and inconsequential, then I guess it wouldn’t matter if I had sat back and read a magazine and left my work to the manager of the store. No biggie- it’s not like my job was any real effort or work, right? And seeing as we had rows and rows of monkeys sticking things in bags- a job that a two year old could apparently do, by the way-, maybe we should just scrap all those jobs and the manager can do all of them- after all, people doing those jobs are really just being kept busy as box openers and being paid as little as the bosses can get away with. Oh, except that if you only think that the “important” jobs (switch important with prestigious, enjoyable, high-paying, desirable – they appear to be interchangeable) are worth decent compensation for doing, and that other jobs barely even count as jobs, then the people doing the “big” stuff wont be able to do their work because they’re be swamped with the work of a hundred other “monkeys”. And everything will be great when you walk into a supermarket where there’s no food on the shelves because none of the monkeys are there to stack it anymore, and no monkey working the register to ring up your groceries (although I guess you could just saunter behind the till and immediately know what to do because it’s such a low-level skill, like breathing). And who’s going to pack your groceries into bags- you? Come on, we all know that job is beneath you. And who are you going to subtly belittle for working such a low-paying , unskilled job if nobody’s doing those jobs anymore? (Yes, when I worked in a supermarket I had customers behave very condescendingly towards me). Some people are just rude and don’t know when to keep their stupid little stereotype-based opinions to themselves). It kind of takes the fun out of things when you can’t patronize the loser working the cash register as your checkout line treat.
So, we’re working with the idea that people should be smarter than to stick with crappy, low paying jobs, right? People who do those jobs lack ambition and don’t contribute anything of value to society. So from now on, there will be nobody to flip your burgers, nobody to pick those yummy cherries you want to eat with Christmas dinner, nobody to make sure that the bathroom at your office is clean when you arrive at work every morning. If these jobs are for barely functional losers and require no skills or effort, then why not just tack these jobs onto the jobs of other people? If they’re barely jobs at all, it won’t make a difference, right? I can see it now: you’re finally packing up after a stressful day at work, and as you make a move for the door your boss hands you a toilet brush. Have fun scrubbing your workmates’ shit stains every day on top of your actual work. Any loser could be an office cleaner, so who cares if you have to do a little industrial vacuuming before you head home to cook dinner? Any numbskull could pick fruit all day, so why don’t you go get that heavy ladder, lug it from tree to tree, and pick those delicious cherries in the burning sun. People who work at burger joints are just box-openers, and surely someone as smart and successful as you knows how to open a box, so it won’t be a big deal for you to take on that job too. Maybe that McDonalds manager should do the job of all of their monkey staff members if those jobs are so easy and worthless- one person staffing is probably all a place like that needs, anyway.
Oh, and before you go to work in the morning you’ll also have to deal with your garbage. I mean, rubbish collectors just hang off the back of a truck all day and intermittently throw rubbish bags into the truck- that doesn’t involve any actual skills, so why the hell are we paying those mooching losers?! Nobody should be rewarded TOO well for such a low-level job or you’re basically rewarding them for doing nothing. And if it’s a job that barely even qualifies as a job, maybe you can just do that yourself, too. I’m sure you can’t wait to get up close and personal with big piles of stinking rubbish, because I know you love that so much. And it’s no big deal, right? Any chump could do that job, so you should manage just fine because you have mad skills, and it’s obviously within your capabilities.
I’ve worked on the checkout at a supermarket (and for more than minimum wage, which I was very grateful for when I was a struggling student making JUST enough to get by each week). I’ve also done a few summers of various orchard work- picking, packing, grading, and there’s no feeling like the back-breaking physical effort of lugging huge crates of fruit to be exported and sold at astronomical prices for the grand reward of very little money and pain in your whole body. Without people doing these jobs, all the people with their big important jobs who love to complain about the deadbeats working at McDonalds would probably fail to function. Sorry to insult any of you who have big important jobs and actually understand this – you aren’t the people I mean when I say this. It’s the horrible, nasty jerks who don’t even think about who makes their coffee, cleans their office, pumps their petrol, picks up their recycling, rings up their purchases, picks their fruit, babysits their kids, or fries their fish and chips. You jerks: if those jobs are for stupid, hopeless losers with no skills, then why don’t you go out and just do all that stuff for yourself, given that you are so skilled and awesome at life. If a monkey could do those jobs, then why pay a person; lets get some actually monkeys in here and see how long it takes one of them to learn how to bag up the new clothes you’ve just purchased. I feel that if we test this by using actual monkeys, your perspective that any monkey could do such a job might be disproven, and my perspective that these jobs involve actual WORK might be validated. And hey, if I’m wrong and a monkey really could collect your garbage and take it to the dump for you, then it’s a huge win because we’ll be able to scrap the minimum wage altogether and just pay monkeys for doing those shitty jobs in food. Think of all the money we’ll save!
Oh, you were just using monkey as a perjorative term! Silly me. (Does that make me some sort of stupid sub-human for failing to grasp your oh-so-intelligent derogatory point? Probably). Well, if some half-asleep 8 year old could do those jobs, then we should just give them those jobs. Kids will be occupied outside of school hours (and thus unable to sneak around getting stoned in their school playground at 9pm at night, which will alleviate Peter Dunne’s fears), and they’ll also learn the value of hard work from a young age! Or, as I said earlier, if these jobs are so piss-easy, then maybe we should just add them on to the jobs of everyone else, and eliminate the low-status jobs by amalgamating them into the jobs of the awesome regular people with awesome jobs that require awesome skills. After all, if they require so little effort –no special skills, no energy, no time- then this should have absolutely no effect on the work of people who now have to do them. So, there’s no downside to this at all: minimum wage monkey jobs are taken care of by other people, and the regular work of those people is obviously not affected in any way by having to do one or two tasks that require no more effort than scratching one’s arse. Perfectly realistic, and problems with those pesky losers and their scabby little excuses for ‘jobs’ are all solved – no lazy bum will be getting paid for a job that basically amounts to just standing around doing nothing all day!
People who do these jobs – the kind that sneering idiots like to look down on as being jobs for thick people – are important. These jobs are important. Not everyone can be a doctor or a lawyer or the Prime Minister, and not everyone wants to. And unless we can get hold of some robots to do all of those “little” jobs for us, we will still need people to do them. People who act like chucking a 10 cent coin at someone doing one of those jobs would be more than enough compensation for that work should probably think about whether they would be happy to take on that work or not, and how they would feel doing a job and being told that it doesn’t count as work and how they, as an employee, are essentially expendable. And they should think about who would do those jobs if the people doing them now didn’t, and imagine how much it would affect them. But, naturally, people who are smug, entitled jerks probably don’t care about any of this, because really their perspective boils down to “I have a good job, and I am a good person with good skills and lots of ambition, therefore people who do the jobs I consider to be bad must therefore be bad people with no skills and no ambition”. Either that or they are just egocentric assholes who don’t see these people as actual human beings that even belong in the same category as them, and thus are fair game for criticism and derision.