No no, it’s not what you may be thinking. It has nothing to do with the current presidential debates. (Well, not directly, anyway.) Sorry if that’s a disappointment, but stay with me… Because this is about something even deeper & more pressing – the perceptions surrounding talent, skills, and passion – and how we can respect one another for our varied contributions!
As always – I like to feed you a little bit of background…. One day as I was
stalking people on Facebook – er, getting to know people better through social media… I came upon a heated debate that was over a month old, but sucked me in like a train wreck. I think it’s because I f*#$ing can’t stand when people take this ‘high-horse’ approach to debates, and insult people in the process of voicing their opinions. Let’s be clear though. I believe we all have a voice, and a right to it. BUT – I also believe that we should still consider how our voices might impact others… In as much, I also very much appreciate & admire when people are able to remain open-minded and cordially & effectively convey their perspectives without shaming anyone else. Are we ridiculing others (stomping them into the ground to justify our own situations or beliefs), or sharing our thoughts in a more uplifting way (in a way that can help others simply view a new perspective in the mix)? Big, BIG diff… I have a strong sense of our need (and ability) to be who we are – while also maintaining an open mind. I’m a big purveyor of the phrase, “Live and Let Live”. But I also don the phrase, “You do YOU”, with reckless abandon… (After all – rebellion is HOT.) Let’s just say that Honesty & Authenticity are HUGE in my world…. And so is integrity. There’s a healthy way to intermingle & maximize the value of respecting others’ ways of living, while staying true to ourselves! (And I think some of our leaders or potential leaders could take a cue.)
Here’s what got ME ‘heated’ about this online debate (regarding the very complex variables involving ‘minimum wage’)….
- Someone was incredibly defensive of those who may be supposedly ‘stuck’ in an entry-level job… I couldn’t help myself. My mind said, “Noooooo… just stay out of it”, while my fingers rebelled and typed the reminder that “EVERYTHING is a CHOICE. We always have a choice…” [In as much, no excuses.] WHICH leads to the next piece that got my teeth grindin’…
- Some dude (sounding like he might be up on his high-horse, but I’m not going to assume that’s the case) claimed that… “Everyone should stop bitchin’ if they don’t want to go out and get the necessary SKILLS for a higher-paying job. No excuses.” Okay – I know I just said ‘no excuses’ one line ago… While I agree that we can’t make excuses for our choices (because we all have a choice in everything we do) – we also need to recognize that we don’t all make our choices for the same reasons someone else might make them. Maybe, just maybe, in spite of his harsh way of putting it, this person was referring to my point in #1 above… [Benefit of the doubt officially GIVEN.]
Now first off, I get it, and happen to agree on certain points. A job that someone can acquire before they even finish high school should come with less pay than jobs that require additional schooling and training, and therefore – more honed skills. But here’s my hang-up… While that kind of work isn’t suited to everyone, it doesn’t make anyone “less than”. If one WANTS to hone skills for something else in life, that’s one thing. But assuming someone inherently doesn’t have “good enough” skills, or the skills that THEY need in order to be happy in this life because of where they work is definitely making an ass out of ume/ you & me. (ass-ume?)
PEOPLE are not ‘less than’ simply because their pay may be less than…. Also – people often choose lesser paying jobs because it’s a stepping stone, or fewer skills are needed to uphold the responsibilities outlined in said job initially while they pursue another dream. Some simply want to live simply, and be able to leave work behind after clocking-out. Others value time over money. And still others may actually LOVE that particular work; it lights them up, and they can’t imagine spending their time in any other way! OR in other cases, they’ve found a good balance; they happen to be able to facilitate more of what they’d ‘rather’ be doing, while still liking what they are able to contribute through their preferred line of work.
Regardless of what any particular job pays, we are all intertwined with & interdependent upon one another in this physical world. Someone on their ‘high-horse’ in their cushy, climate-controlled office job might assume that someone in the trades (who may – or may not – be making fewer dollars per hour) is ‘less skilled’ than they are. But here’s the thing, no one is actually any LESS skilled than anyone else! We are ALL skilled. Our skills and talents merely differ or vary. And we all depend on one another indirectly to fulfill our various needs.
While one may be more skilled at typing, others are better at working with people. Some work well with their hands & tools, while others couldn’t hammer a nail into a wall to save their life. Someone who can barely make toast without burning it is likely grateful for the many restauranteurs, chefs, and other food industry workers who can prepare their meals regularly. And that person in that cushy office job? They better be grateful for the metal workers, carpenters, electricians (yes, I’m a bit biased on this one!), sheetrockers, cement-layers, pipe-layers, plumbers, & HVAC folks who make their environment oh-so-pleasing to them. And the construction crew who made it possible for them to traverse the land in getting there… The list goes on and on.
This doesn’t even enter into the passions that we all have inside of us. There is a magic that comes from fueling your soul – regardless of the pay or benefits. For many of us, there are less tangible (but often much more readily noticeable) benefits that stem from following your heart vs following that $ sign. More time… Time to spend with kids before they grow up, or to simply ENJOY life more in whatever way holds meaning! Less stress is another fab ‘benefit’ to certain job choices. More flexibility or general freedom is a biggie for many (myself included.)
I personally had a pretty darn ‘cushy’ office job with lots of perks and oodles of bennies, + decent pay. BUT, it literally sucked the life right out of my soul. Even more than the creativity-stifling environment, I simply cannot be boxed-in like that. I’m too much of a free spirit. I needed to find something that made me feel inspired every day, while being tailored to my free-bird ways. There is more to selecting our ‘work’ than income…
So, in summary, defending the need to raise minimum wage because people are believed to be ‘stuck’ in certain jobs is irrelevant. No one is ever truly stuck. (Choice, remember?)
And – people who move into careers that speak to them on some level, and who seek more than simply a paycheck from their line of work shouldn’t be put down because of that choice, even if it is ‘blue collar’ or provides a lower pay than some other lines of work out there.
Also, there will always be jobs (even within the same field) that pay more or pay less. People are often paid more for more experience or greater responsibility. But no one should be judged or valued by the amount of money they choose to make, nor should their value be based on where they are at temporarily if it isn’t their long-term chosen goal.
Additionally, while anyone can choose to hone their skills and move in a different direction, those who don’t should still receive fair pay for the work they are doing, and shouldn’t be made to feel as though their specific skills aren’t ‘worthy’ of recognition. We are all interdependent on one another’s developed skills and inherent talents.
Plus, following our passions and/ or finding balanced ways to consistently fuel those passions is as valuable as any monetary compensation someone can earn. No one’s skills are truly ‘better’ or ‘more important’ than anyone else’s. We should learn to value the innate skills that each of us brings to the table, and how they contribute to the overall good of everyone.
Whew! Okay – now that I got that off my chest – remember to be grateful for all of the work people are doing in the world. If you would rather chew glass than pick up garbage, or clean public toilets, don’t put the garbage haulers or janitors down for what they do… Lift them up in gratitude, because they are doing all of us a service while letting us off the hook! ALL of the work we do is valuable & integral to our life on earth.
And – AND – here is the BIGGEST take-away of all… Let’s remember to remain true to ourselves, while still being respectful of others when we have healthy debates. It should be about sharing and learning, not putting others’ beliefs down.
I don’t have a competitive bone in my body. I don’t even enjoy playful or light-hearted competition, actually! But I’m passionate about truth, love, and remaining open, yet strong. I’m also addicted to the show ‘chopped’ – largely because of what I learn about different foods & ideas for food prep, plus the people and their stories… But I’m particularly fond of the episodes that showcase true comaraderie. Those times when someone drops a required basket ingredient on the floor, and their competitor automatically shares some of theirs. Or when someone needs a shared tool, such as the basket fryer, so a competitor moves their items to one basket, freeing up the other for their opponent. So dreamy….
Just imagine what it would be like to live in a world where we placed greater emphasis on remaining soft & strong – like love – while lifting one another up in kindness, rather than focusing on what’s ‘wrong’ and trying to always ‘get ahead’ of everyone else. What if we actually looked at everyone around us as equals – as though we’re all spirits sharing in a human experience while here? What if we considered how we could collaborate… you know – work together & make things better – for all of us? Mmmmm. Nommy.
Okay, in the words of Forest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. Well, except for maybe – BAMA!