This life is nothing more than a series of choices which the results of will ultimately pave a large portion of our destinies here on earth and for those with a religious bone our place in the afterlife. Some of us out there made choices in our educational career that may have included partying to excess, taking care of siblings because of errant parents, or never really learning the value of a good education. I should now note that I am guilty of all of the above yet notice I said “made choices in our educational career.” Even though I came from a home where absolutely no value was placed on education, public schools were merely taxpayer funded childcare and college was what rich kids did after High School I own up to my choices and the ramifications that came from them.
After High School in 1988 I went straight into the workforce, learned a trade and have been working fairly steady ever since. By most American standards I do very well for myself and know that a lot of people would love to be where I am in life.But over the course of the last 7 years or so I’ve realized most of us working class folks are, for the most part, just a tiny gear in a huge machine. A monstrous engine that rolls on with so much power and momentum that it feels like it is almost impossible to stop much less slow down to make a difference. I’ve learned that it feels ok to be working class and as long as our family and friends have their health then everything should be ok…and it is. But when it comes to labor, life in the workplace and big companies the plain hard truth is that as long as you are employed by another person, group of individuals, or any other organization you have given up the opportunity to be the machine and have simply settled on being the tiny gear, I’m #33621…who are you?
Most of the populace simply settles into a groove of going to work, coming home, raising kids, paying bills and trying to have a little fun in between every now and then. But imagine for a moment if you had that ability to move millions of dollars around in business before you went out for lunch that day, imagine if you had that experience and education to affect thousands of people (employees) with one decision made behind the closed doors of some meeting room?
It’s frightening to me that an executive with one swipe of a Montblanc can change your humble wage earning life in which you have been so comfortable with into one of great struggle and strife. I know, I know, I know that big business is just that, BIG BUSINESS and they are in it to make money at whatever cost. I know, I know, I know that the overweight business executive that has a failing marriage, suffers from high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction is just doing his job too but what about destiny? He chose that life and I chose mine, the difference between our two chosen paths is he can fire, lay-off and destroy me, my families financial security, and wipe out our health insurance but I do not have the option to do the same to him…at least staying within current laws and regulations concerning arson, murder, assault and battery or multitude of similar actions.
I can say with 100% certainty that no amount of team-building, goal-setting, profit sharing, touchy feely garbage that some corporate HR goon came up with is ever going to convince my working class self that I am more than merely a number on their payroll. It doesn’t even seem to matter in the workplace anymore that you do a good job for the betterment of the organization. There will always be some slimy pole smoker who is having beers with the right people, who is more than willing stomp right over the back of your head to get one up on you. Then the next thing you know all your hard work building a good rep with the company will go down quicker than those $2.00 draughts down at Jockos Rocketship. I often ask myself what would I have done differently? Well, beginning with right out of High School I would have distanced myself from my drug-addled, alcoholic, dysfunctional family and chose a clean healthy life centered around getting a college education probably in the arts of some type as my first love was always music. I could have seen myself settling into a career of teaching music and trying to make a difference in some young persons life. Instead I chose to chase a buck and in the mean time 25 years of hard labor, long hours and erratic work schedules have left my body wore out and aged by about 20 years. What I have gained from this rugged working class life is a need not to provide a better material existence for my children but provide a better vision of their future to them, to show them that they can and do have a lot more options to truly excel at something, to enjoy life and quite possibly make a difference in this world and not just be…#33621.