Meditations: V

Meditations: V 
 poetry stories

prosaicpoet i like to think that i say what i mean.
Autoplay OFF   •   5 months ago
A longer piece on working and consumer culture in America.
Please comment any thoughts, disagreements.

Meditations: V

All occupations lose their importance since all people—blue-collar, white-collar, no-collar, burnt necks and fair cheeks—seem to do similar things before, during, and after work.

Even people who work for wages—a black label since everyone works for a salary, regardless if it comes once or twice a month— run on Dunkin’. Even lawyers and teachers rush to sit and rot their throats and dry their eyes—a refresher, yet—in happy hour, in traffic, in the drive-thru.

Therefore no worker of any profession should judge those of another. Diesel mechanics may make more than teachers or lay car-heads, but most people in trades cannot spell diesel. At the same time, scholars cannot change a tire or quickly name five ways to break a dollar.

My degree—no matter what it is—is no safety net, no get out of jail free card, no magic device that will fix messes or meals or do tax forms for me.

We will all grow old doing something, and it won’t be the same job we first score upon and after the receipt of degrees, certifications, licenses. One could either renounce the law or teaching or instead continue to loath it and rotate courthouses or transfer schools where he works.

A cook could continue to work in different restaurants all his life, just like a mechanic does in workshops or a teacher in districts.

It’ll always be ironic how “workshops” on a campus or a workplace will hardly ever be practical. There should be book-binding clubs that will make scholars and laymen value their tools more. Mechanics drive as they fix cars. Students cannot say the same. Teachers in training nine out of ten times are students themselves. All occupations are codependent.

Nine to fives do not imply dead end jobs. Yes, it is concerning to work someplace where grown adults had worked for years. It is just as embarrassing or more so to work a job meant for teenagers. Maybe nothing’s changed and if you are not careful, you go from being one of the few young workers to the majority of older ones.

The only thing that will change is why you work. At the end, it is always about the money. Money is a means and an end in itself. It is a gift that you keep on giving. It is a plant you constantly graft since water and sun are not enough. And yet it doesn’t grow on trees

What changes is for whom we make money and how often. No matter what mission statements say, everyone is in the workplace for money.

Some jobs seem easier than others solely for requiring not less work but less social interaction. Perhaps they’re the same thing. When a job is more “unskilled,” tasks are easier in essence but the environment is much more social—food service, retail, construction, etc.

Take that how you will, the social aspect will always be more difficult than the work itself. The more space you take up, the more expendable you are. Anyone can get hired at those materially “easier” jobs but they can as easily get fired.

There is a small number of candidates for jobs that people in “easier” ones wish they have, and once hired, those people are secure in their jobs. They would not get fired by the same boss who put them through a forty-minute interview just for being late or spilling coffee all over the break room but probably for slandering and lying—things mostly unheard of or unpunished in “easier” jobs.

In both settings, though, gossiping, smoking, eating, using personal devices on the job or taking long breaks are commonplace. The only difference in white-collar jobs is that gossip is called slander, workplace relationships are subtle, and addicts rather do coke in the bathroom than smoke out back.

All of these are generalizations but they serve to prove that the white and blue collar are not strangers to one another.

We go from wanting to occupy a line “kitchen” or deli to wanting to sit in a solitary vehicle or cubicle. But even easier jobs—meaning more sedentary and less social and less spacious; not “easy” jobs—are nine to fives.

The difference between now and the ideal is not having to work weekends or holidays, not having to worry about collective performance since coworkers are cubicles or vehicles away from you.

It’s going from cleaning to working in an office building. It is going from an “essential” to a government job. Common people do not want benefits they have to wait and work a year for—they want instant ones upon being hired, such as not being asked to “come in” on days off and not working weekends by default.

Corporate people finish whatever sedentary work they have to complete for the week or day and do not worry about it until the next batch lands on their desks. It is having the privilege to work from home rather than being laid off or worse, being kept but never appreciated despite being “essential.”

What are we but consumers who need to produce in order to consume? We are wannabe plants that year by year have to uproot themselves and step into unfamiliar pots and beds.

Even though I want a writing related job and am good at it and have been told so, I feel out of place in the rare moments I have to write in any of these “easy, essential” jobs. It could be simple logs, signatures. I don’t want a list of tasks; I want to be paid to inseminate and to even deliver stillborns.

I go to school so I have a chance to get better jobs—the ones that aren’t called essential but still receive privileges before benefits, the ones that are hidden at home during crises and even in normal contexts and yet are more “respectable.” If the shoe fits. Many actually craft the shoes while the supposedly competent buy and wear them.

Consumption is no superpower but the wealthier consumers wield their cards like platinum blades. At least, if I’m in a job like that, I want to be younger than my boss. I want my critics to be my age. I can preserve my pride enough to be a woman’s inferior, to be taught ABC by a younger coworker.

Only the opinions of the older ones or higher ups matter to me. Younger people may have lifetime supplies of skills but they hoard that knowledge from coworkers who need it, like a child with a ball or piano, one who loathes the approach of another even if he has his own toys.

It is realistic that the rich will not and cannot evenly distribute their wealth. It is slightly—way more—realistic that the intelligent should distribute their knowledge amongst the less intelligent. The latter are not ignorant though, as ignorance is a stubborn choice. It is having catered food but still starving. Most Americans can only pick a la carte.

Knowledge is knowing that stealing is wrong and that it’s right to get a job to get things. Intelligence makes books out of everything under the sun and turns the Internet into word-of-mouth connections and craftiness.

No smartphone to look up a number, much less to make a call? Yellow Pages is still there like childhood glimpses. Payphones still cost a quarter though its how and when and value change often.

Like the money we work for, our value changes but our surfaces stay still as if untroubled water. A young man should not do an older man’s sedentary work. Likewise, a middle aged man should not labor away like a teen, be able to stand, twist, squat and lift at least fifty pounds for hours straight.

Ideally, young men labor while their candlesticks are tall, not so they can retire earlier but so they can gain those non-“essential” but easier jobs at 30,40,50.

When we were young, our ability outweighed our needs. Later on, our needs tower above our abilities, for the most part. The latter switch ought to be about quality over quantity.

Life begins and ends the same: we want to do less to gain more. His needs are not always equal to his abilities, especially when what he wants, his children want. Do children have many abilities? They once worked for knowledge and it came free. That only taught them that all things will be handed to them like their textbooks and jeans.

Assuming that we have to work harder (more hours, more essential jobs, being older than our employers) when we have kids is assuming that by the time we have spouses and pregnancies, we will have never left our teenage and young adult jobs.

Adulthood reared its face in the faint sun and drenched drew of field trip days. Not all kids could make the Boston or D.C. trip. Their needs were not their parents’, despite their abilities being much higher than whatever they might have done before marriage or sex. Their parents’ abilities sure were theirs, though.

Therefore, ability is not based on need and neither belongs to only one person——- I really do write like I’m writing out of time. Besides due dates and graduation days, I feel something looming over the horizon—hell, the midpoint—of my twenties.

I write so much for knowledge so I can write enough for potential work. It’s going to be a plan and not a whim like winning lotteries. I will be my own mint. If not something big like NPR, then any non-“essential” job. We are all part-time livers and full-time dreamers and diers.

That’s all.

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