all work is honorable, right?

Discussion in 'Community' started by jefhatfield, Jun 14, 2003.

  1. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    when i got the tape of the autobiography of colin powell's life one thing i heard on it really stuck in my mind for years

    he mentioned that "all work is honorable"

    he sweeped floors at sixers store in nyc and is now secretary of state

    have you ever had a job that people looked down on?

    do you think all work is honorable (except for crime, of course;) )
  2. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Nov 1, 2001
    Re: all work is honorable, right?

    All honest work is honorable? Maybe - but pic up one of the more recent National Geos about the Caste system in India. There was a very sad/scary pick of an untouchable whose job it was to clean the sewers. Not tools, just jump in with your whole body and remove the clog. The pic was nasty.

    Don't know if I would necessarily call that honorable.

  3. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    It depends on how you define honorable. If you look at trash collectors or the "sewage maintenance expert" that Mr A mentioned, they are providing a service necessary for the continuing, healthy functioning of the community. This is quite honorable in terms of personal sacrifice, and putting the well-being of others before your own.

    I agree with Powell.
  4. voicegy macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    Sandy Eggo - MacRumors Member since 1-1-2002
    What makes me so sick about some of the work values we impress upon children is the distinct impression that they SHOULD grow up to be CEO's, rich, powerful people, fameous people, etc., because that's all that matters.

    I've had many discussions with fellow educators about how damaging that is. If everyone is the head of a corporation, fameous movie star, rap star, what-have-you, then who is left to take the trash out of your alley? ALL WORK is, indeed, honorable and should be respected as such. What's wrong with being a janitor? What's so awful about being a plumber? That's why when I walk down the hallway in my neck-choking tie and polished shoes, I always nod and say "Hi" to the people who perform this service, and thank them if I happen to be next to my trash can when they empty it.

    One of the saddest things I've ever seen was at a visit to an elementary school. The kids in a 5th grade class had written down what they wanted to be when they grew up, along with a little drawing they made. The overwhelming majority of pictures were of stick figures in big cars, with drawings of money floating from the sky, and almost all the stories were the same: "When I grow up I want a million dollars."

    This is the great teacher of the age...the idiot box in the corner of their bedrooms, feeding them daily amounts of endless images of worthless drivel glorifying materialism, greed, and easy money. Only two of the pictures on that classroom wall mentioned anything of merit: one girl wanted to be a nurse, and another wanted to be a teacher. We all know how THOSE two professions are usually looked upon these days.

    Working to serve others is the highest of goals. Instead, we teach selfishness, self indulgence and short cuts (supposedly) to wealth. I've always had respect for Powell...its only been enhanced now that jefhatfield shared that quote.
  5. medea macrumors 68030


    Aug 4, 2002
    Madison, Wi
    I agree that all work may be honorable, but the people holding the job are the ones that may lack honorable. Not all CEO's are crooked nor politicians or lawyers, all jobs serve a purpose what you do with your job is what counts.

    But perhaps I don't agree with myself, I don't see what purpose or where the honor is in videotaping women flashing your camera (girls gone wild.....)
  6. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    I consider something honorable in two meanings:

    The people around you appreciate your work, whether beneficial or hurtful.

    You do work out of desire, beneficial or hurtful.

    Most often I would consider the second defenition, because I feel honor originates from only yourself, not from those around you.
  7. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    but you gotta think, do you think these people went through life hoping to be a janitor or a trashman, i dont see why anybody would, doesnt seem like a pleasant job. i mean i would thank them to i just feel they got those jobs because they screwed up somewhere down the line or i guess its possible to want that job. i just honestly cant see anyone wanting a job like that.

  8. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    All work is Honourable - Yes
    All people created equal - Yes

    Too much work is not honourable - people that work so much that they don't spend quality time with their kids and friends.
  9. jethroted macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2003
    when I irst read the title of the topic (very quickly) I thought it said "all work is Horrible, right?" I was going to say no, lots of work is horrible, but if you find something you love then it could be a great thing. Even if you love picking up sewage. As for it being honorable, I don't think all work is honorable. Even if you exclude crime. Working at McDonalds for a career is not. Working in a sweat shop is not. Any time you are being taken advantage of, then there is not much honor in that. Jobs that give you the lowest amount of money that is legally possible to be given to someone is not honorable. That is why you go to school, study hard, and get out of that job. If you were 55 years old working at a burger king flipping burgers trying to keep a family going, there is nothing honorable about that. Get to school, and get your self a better job. Do something good for your family.
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Here is an excellent article about one woman's tribute to her father.

    That sewer cleaner in India had an honorable job because he was supporting his family with it. (India's caste system and their methods of sewage cleaning leave a lot to be desired though.) Honor isn't conferred on a job, rather it is conferred on the person who does a job well. Priests have honorable professions but are not honorable people if they sexually abuse children.

    The world as we know it needs janitors and trashmen, to disparage people in those positions is to deny the importance of those jobs. We need people to work at McDs, walmart, the gas station, childcare etc. Our societal need of those jobs confers honor on the people who do them.
  11. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002
    the first thing i thought of when i read the title was the movie the "boiler Room"

    there is an opening monalogue (sp?) which is porbably one of my favorites ever.

    he starts with a quote from notorious big. "either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot."
    then he goes on " I didn't have a jump shot so i went the white boy way of slinging crack rock and became a stock broker. Theres no honor in the after school job at MickeyDees. Honor is in the dollar kid."

    unfourtunatley this seems closer to the truth than having honor in your work...
  12. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL, USA
    i'm not sure how to answer this. some of the jobs i accept have little or no honor in them. they don't provide an essential service, they don't benifit humanity, they don't make the world a better place-- if i didn't do what i do, X business will sell less of product Y. Is that honorable?

    But what i honor, the work i do with my sketch group, may seem even less honorable to the company who hired me to make an ad. I believe there is an incredible amount of honor in making people laugh; in bringing pleasure to people's lives. If you can make them think, so much the better. Some people view what i do with disdain; they don't see the relevance (or honor) in entertaining.

    I'm seeing things from atop the fence. I know what i'm honored to do, and i know what feels honorable to me. Just so happens, that is what society decided is the least valuable of my talents. Oh well.
  13. cc bcc macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2001
    I've had numerous jobs.
    I've worked in a factory doing the same repetitive thing for 6 months, filling buckets with stuff for bakerys. Hard work, good for braindead people.. I could only get out of bed because I knew what I was doing it for; saving money for a 4 month backpack journey in South America.

    After that, I wanted to do a private one year multimedia school. Costs a lot of money, and my parents could not help me. I have been washing dishes in a restaurant for 6 months, full time. Dish after dish, it drove me nuts! I was 23 back then. It was absolutely not highly regarded, especially not for someone who did atheneum (highschool for smartasses). I also harvested collyflowers (sp? vegetable) for two months. I felt miserable in that year.
    But I lived it through, only by knowing that it will pay of someday. And it did, ended first in my class, getting a nice job and now going freelance.

    I learned that anything is possible, but it might take a lot of hard work. Actually, I couldn't have done it if I hadn't been traveling, seen really poor people living tough and misirable lives according to our western standards. And they had smiles on their faces, and they were nicer and more honerable than the Mercedes driving dutch people.
    For anyone who doesn't know what to do with their lives, go travelling.
  14. MacFan25 macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2003
    I wouldn't say that all work is honorable. Picking up garbage is a job that someone has to do. But, I wouldn't say that it is honorable. It just has to be done sometime, and so some people got stuck doing that job.
  15. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    i never really thought one way or another about the garbageman until i married my wife, who is from new york city, and she told me, if that job was left unattended in that city, more than any other job, it would have the biggest consequences...traffic would stop due to streets filling up with debris and disease could spread very quickly and many would die

    after thinking about that, i really have seen garbagemen in a different light
  16. voicegy macrumors 65816


    Jan 1, 2002
    Sandy Eggo - MacRumors Member since 1-1-2002
    I quite understand your viewpoint. But I think what I'm trying to convey (and others here as well) is that such jobs should not be "looked upon" as dishonorable or undesireable. After all, thanks to Unions, many of these jobs are fairly well paying, with decent benefits. Thinking that the majority of people performing such services have these jobs because they "screwed up" somewhere down the line...that would be assumptive. elitist and, well, dishonorable. ;)

    It may be hard for us to think of someone actually "wanting" such a job, that is, a child saying out loud "I want to be a janitor when I grow up." Because we attach success to material wealth and status, instead of selfless action, pride in ones' work, and service to our fellow man, such jobs aren't on the top of the list for desired work. But what if a child was exposed to a custodian at school who took pride in their work, who chatted with the child about life, who was an example to the child....even, perhaps, someone to look up to? That influence might factor in as to what the child thought would be something worth persuing, as strange as that may sound.

    Of course, we are a varied and diverse set of creatures. Many folks take great pride in their work, and are happy within it...many of us don't want to make difficult managerial decisions, be responsible for dozens or hundreds of employees, wear a suit and tie, or play other corporate games. Thank goodness for that, because the jobs that don't require such things are filled with those those who, yes, many times, chose them.

    A custodian or janitor actually CHOOSING such a job? Sure, why not? No big decisions to make, Union protection (for the most part), immediate satisfaction from work performed, and knowledge that it is appreciated, even though he or she may never hear of it. If that's their mind set, then who am I, or anyone, to look down upon it as a "temporary" situation that the person should get out of, or a reflection of a life screwed up?

    To augment Powells' words, I think it speaks to more of how others' should look upon work in general. To look at one job over another as more desireable and better is human nature, but to look at any job over another as having more or less "honor" in it is a mistake. That, I think, is the message here.
  17. jefhatfield thread starter Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    one of the great eqaulizers is getting out on your own and paying rent and living to day, week to week, month to month, year to year

    when i was a kid living at home, i glamorized certian things like being a pilot or race car driver or something "cool"

    then as i got older, i actually met race car drivers or pilots or doctors and got to hear the "other side" of the story and realized that we all are here on this earth working, not always liking our job, doing a lot of work that goes unnoticed, and paying the persistent bills

    even the independently wealthy have their money matters they have to worry about and suffer stress like everybody else

    we have to have jobs that serve a purpose because we have bills...but because of those bills, people have to work, and because people work, society continues to operate...and that's what makes jobs honorable
  18. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    oh i completly agree, they shouldnt be looked down on, someone has to do it and luckily we have people to do it, even if they never wanted to, you have to acknowledge to fact that they are doing it and it cant be overlooked.

  19. mymemory macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    I have experience in the matter...

    The best thing that can happen to some one is to get a job, to be qualify for something, lets not touch the salary yet.

    I graduated from a private school, al my friend wanted to study administration when I was the only one taking audio engineer. When I graduated 80% of my old friend changed carrers, now they are fixing wood forniture because that is what they really like, others desingning jewery and another one has a baseball training center, all of them very successful people in their area.

    The point is that we as humans have a vocation since we are very little. Our vocation can be anything as long you like it. If we do not respect peoples vocation or if we not find out what we really want to do in life we are gonna end up with criminals as presidents of entire countries and mediocre people doing movies or working for the government.

    Since I was a kid I always wanted to sync audio and video but not in the ordinary way, today that is called VJing and I'm the best one in the field, some times we are preparing for stuff that are not yet invented.

    I respect the person who come to my house to fix the plumery, just because he is an expert (at lit it shuld be) and he does something that I just do not want to do, I know I can do what he does but it is not in my interest, he is a pro as the bank owner, the same with the people that pick up the trash, just spend one day doing that job, for my is as anoying than doing any other job that I just do not like.

    For me all work is honorable and people have to do it the better as they can.
  20. cc bcc macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2001
    That another great human quality, always something more to bitch about, and I'm not different. If you're poor in a poor country live evolves around getting enough to eat. When you've tackled the food problem, there will be other things to worry about, like how on earth will you be able to afford electricity and a fridge. After that, how do you get that job that pays just a little better. Then there's that TV set. And a car.
    Last thing you know, you'll be worrying about your job being honerable enough, your social status, your wrinkles, the tax you pay and your internet bandwidth..
  21. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I've always had alot of respect for Colin Powell. His comment that all work is honorable only reinforces that opinion. He came from nothing. That was an amazing feet to begin as a private, and through hard work to be Chief of Staff.

    I agree that all work is honorable. My jobs during college included working on the railroad maintenance in a steel factory and cutting grass on a river levey. I went to work each day trying to do my best. The honor comes in being proud of yourself. Garbage men etc. are very important to society.

    I appreciate the mention of nursing being honorable, since I'm a nurse. Our society doesn't want to pay those that are considered to be service workers, the helping professions. Ball players may be an honorable profession, but are not necessary to society. I think they make an outrageous amount of money for there value, farm teams work just as hard.

    Helping others is a very valuable job. I didn't go into it think out money, but the need within myself to care for my fellow man. The greatest thing in my day was to have a patient say thank you!
  22. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    i am not one to defend sports figures for their ridiculous salaries... but keep in mind a couple things.

    1. these players make a huge amount of money for the owners, tv stations, etc

    2. if they don't get the money, who will? i'd rather the players get it (to some extent) than the owners...

    therefore, if we want to reduce the amount of money they get (i'm all for it), we need to actually reduce the business of sports in general. which really is less about the consumers and more about the corporate sponsors, and all that.

    ps. i hate baseball. ;)
  23. pinks macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2003
    I think the concept of "honour" and "honourableness" is a little overused and I am unsure whether it can really be applied to the condition of employment.

    - Al

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