Dignity in work

One of the lessons that is learned very quickly in the US is the dignity of any kind of honest work. There are few other places in the world (not even Europe) where what you do does not impact your social standing.

In real terms it means that a person who works at a gas station or a gardener or a secretary or a nurse or a nanny or a cashier or a bagger at the grocery store are all acceptable jobs. Kids start earning at a young age by babysitting and mowing the lawn for neighbors. They get older and work as cashiers or baggers at grocery stores. They flip burgers at fast-food joints, wash dishes at eateries and work through college (if they go). As they get older they get permanent jobs. At the end of the day, almost EVERYONE works at some point in time in their life.

Contrast that with KSA where the afore-mentioned jobs are mostly filled by foreign labor. It is below the dignity of many locals to be working in non-white-collar jobs. Thus, the workers are mostly imported from Asia and are considered second-class citizens and barely human (sometimes treated worse than animals).

In the RARE cases that you actually have a local fulfill these roles the quality of service is horrendous. They make it clear they do not want to be doing the work, and their level of effort (or lack thereof) is clear. This ranges from grocery baggers (your eggs will end up under the watermelon) to receptionists at hospitals (your medical card will have errors and if you ask them to correct the mistake the response is always: it doesn’t matter).

This country would be VERY different if locals accepted that all honest work has dignity. Corruption, laziness and non-performance is what robs a job of honor. Blue collar workers are just as human as local citizens.

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One Response

  1. I’ve never understood the uppity attitude that some have toward work. It’s all labor, so why think some jobs are more meaningful than others. We need our garbage taken away, our dishes washed and our groceries bagged.

    “A job well done is a reflection of oneself.”

    I saw that on a Norman Rockwell self portrait poster once.

    http://www.nrm.org/

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