The Dignity of a Job

by Frank Roche on June 1, 2012

in Career

Did you see that scene in the movie Dave, when Kevin Kline is speaking as the President and says,

If you’ve ever seen the look on somebody’s face the day they finally get a job, I’ve had some experience with this, they look like they could fly. And its not about the paycheck, it’s about respect, it’s about looking in the mirror and knowing that you’ve done something valuable with your day. And if one person could start to feel this way, and then another person, and then another person, soon all these other problems may not seem so impossible. You don’t really know how much you can do until you, stand up and decide to try.

If you’re in recruiting, think about that. Think about the dignity that a job brings. Think about giving someone a chance. A break. An opportunity.

With much power comes much responsibility.

If your job is to help find people to work, think about the dignity of a job.

Frank Roche June 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

Comments are open! Somehow I made a mistake and checked a box that said you needed to register to comment…I’m sorry about that…I hate that, actually…ok, if you feel it, say it!

Vinny June 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

The interesting thing about dignity is that we’ve pretty much forgotten what it means. To the world, and particularly this country, dignity doesn’t mean what it used to: pride in achievement through hard work. In fact, lately, it seems to mean nothing more than ability to accept a handout from someone who’s doing the work.

We’ve equated people on the couch to people on the assembly line so much that we’ve lost track of what it means to have dignity through hard work and achievement, and it’s depressing to me. When I hear about someone who’s upset that they can’t have their “dignity” and they shouldn’t be made to feel bad as they collect government benefits for every aspect of their life, it always makes me wonder if they have any clue what the word actually means.

Frank Roche June 1, 2012 at 10:50 am

Vinny, you make quite a point…it’s the dignity of working hard and earning your money that I like. It’s that sense of achievement…of actually doing work and getting sweat on the brow (and around the waistband, in my case).

I know people say that word “dignity” when they’re not working. I worry that so many middle class jobs have dried up there’s little left out there. When I was a kid growing up poor, guys got jobs. Everyone. They worked (moms stayed home…it was a LONG time ago). Now, what’s a dude gonna do in Detroit?

My message to recruiters is, “Give people a shot.” Nowadays, they put requirements in like “college degree mandatory” when all the guy needs to do is drive a truck. I mean, c’mon. Even cops needs degrees…back when my dad was a cop, the main requirement was that you were Irish. (LOL).

Man, there’s something about working…and being tired at the end of the day knowing you’ve done something. That’s dignity, baby.

Vinny June 1, 2012 at 11:55 am

When everyone freaks out about education expenses and debt, you have to wonder if they understand that the reason they have that debt is because we’ve spent so long forcing people into four year liberal arts degrees that pretty much aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on while the world really needs engineers and so on as well as plumbers, electricians, and mechanics.

Trade school is a dirty word because parents don’t want their kids to “work.” “Working” isn’t success any more, sitting at a desk in a glass box is. It’s kinda sad.

Frank Roche June 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Man, it’s so true about trade school. I mean, we need people who build things. Make things, etc. And none of that has to do with whether they’re good at writing essays about Virginia Woolf. It is sad to think that we’ve devalued that kind of touch it-do it education. Ever know a kid who takes “shop” anymore. Or “metals”? Or “woods”? I did when I was in high school. That 100% would not be allowed in present day. My guys had all academic stuff….but didn’t learn how to check the oil on the car.

Vinny June 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm

It’s an epidemic at this point. A bunch of book educated idiots with no ability to function in the real world.

My college educated friends are stunned. STUNNED, I tell you, to find out I did most of the electrical work in my last apartment, and that I’m handy enough with tools to get things done on my own. They’re educated college answer is “I call a a guy!” Now granted, I too went to college (didn’t graduate, of course) but my dad was a carpenter and a big time DIY guy, and honestly, my most valuable life lessons never came from a classroom; they came from my dad teaching me how to use tools and do things for myself.

Kids don’t have that skill any more, mainly because their parents don’t have those skills. It’s sad.

albert June 2, 2012 at 2:55 am

Unfortunately, shop classes in tons of schools have been cut so kids aren’t exposed to things like that unless they enroll directly into a vo-tech school. But then there are shining examples like West Philly High (I think that’s the name of it) which competes in the ultra high mileage car competitions each year against multi-million dollar funded teams.

Frank Roche June 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm


Frank Roche June 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

West Philly High does it up right…I’m dazzled with that deal they have going there with the X Car (or whatever the name is). Sadly, in most schools, as you say, those courses are now vo-tech, and so anyone who’s on the “academic track” doesn’t get to use a band saw or pour molten metal.

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