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View Diary: The Value - and Devaluation - of the Work Ethic (192 comments)

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  •  What, (none)
    Praytell, is valuable about "work" in and of itself?

    Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor -- Peter Tork, "Head"

    by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 04:07:07 PM PST

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    •  Well... (none)
      I like "work" of all sorts because I like doing things that need to get done. I also think that work can help people to gain good qualities/characteristics.

      Plus...someone has to do the work...why shouldn't people all do their fair share?

      Without people willing to work we wouldn't have ANYTHING. Work provides us with the necessities we need to survive...and with the comforts many of us have come to rely on (perhaps too much)...

      I really do like doing work... in fact, I've enjoyed EVERY single job I've ever had....from the very first on up. At the moment I'm a teacher....I enjoy that work...it can be incredibly rewarding. And on the days it's frustrating I remind myself that SOMEONE's got to do it....and then I suck it up and keep on working.

      Do I want to teach for the rest of my life? Probably not...at least not full time...

      I'm sure I'll find another type of work I enjoy...

      •  Work (none)
        I like "work" of all sorts because I like doing things that need to get done. I also think that work can help people to gain good qualities/characteristics.

        What percentage of the things that fall under the category of "work" count as "things that need to get done"?

        Plus...someone has to do the work...why shouldn't people all do their fair share?

        Does this justify unnecessary (or even societally harmful) labor?

        Without people willing to work we wouldn't have ANYTHING. Work provides us with the necessities we need to survive...and with the comforts many of us have come to rely on (perhaps too much)...

        What about work that doesn't provide either necessities or luxuries? Should this be lauded?

        I really do like doing work... in fact, I've enjoyed EVERY single job I've ever had....from the very first on up. At the moment I'm a teacher....I enjoy that work...it can be incredibly rewarding. And on the days it's frustrating I remind myself that SOMEONE's got to do it....and then I suck it up and keep on working.

        Good for you! (Alternately, shame on you for not even thinking of better things to do with your time)

        Do I want to teach for the rest of my life? Probably not...at least not full time...

        I'm sure I'll find another type of work I enjoy...

        Good for you!

        Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor -- Peter Tork, "Head"

        by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 04:27:21 PM PST

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        •  Hrm.... (none)
          I don't know what "societally harmful" labor is...I guess...so I can't really answer that.

          As for the percentage of work and things that need to get done...I'd guess it's pretty high, at least in order to maintain the levels of comfort and safety we've grown to know now.

          Although as we create new needs...we certainly create more work for ourselves...such is life:)

      •  okay, okay (4.00)
        My last post was way too snide. What I'm getting at here is that I see two categories of things that we should value: people, and useful/fun products. People who work for a living should be valued. We're people, after all. And the things that people make, it's fine to value that. I like having computers and coffee and food and shelter and all sorts of toys.

        It's that thing in the middle, though. Over here's a person, and here's them doing a bunch of toilsome shit, and over there is a product or service. Why laud the middle stuff? It seems to me like that's something to be gotten rid of. I think that's why we've invented all these neat toys so that it takes less of that middle stuff to get more of the stuff at the end.

        Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor -- Peter Tork, "Head"

        by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 04:35:05 PM PST

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        •  I see what you're getting at... (none)
          cutting out the middle man...

          and I agree.

          I was choosing to ignore your "snide" manner...because it's Saturday night and I'm in a good mood:) Otherwise I would probably have been bitchier...but thanks for the clarification...

          •  It's not just a matter of "cutting out" (none)
            There's a strong undertone within society (and, incidentally, within SusanG's post) of treating that stuff in the middle as if it's a positive good. It's not, and we shouldn't pretend it is. Maximizing leisure, not just for those who're lucky enough to find themselves in the leisure (investor) class, should be the goal of a free society, since in a very real sense leisure (the freedom to decide what one does with one's time) and freedom are synonymous. It's especially galling when people who are themselves members of the leisure class start talking about how wonderful it is to spend one's time working. Members of the working class are great. Work, though, is a necessary evil.

            Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor -- Peter Tork, "Head"

            by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 05:18:03 PM PST

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            •  Well....of course work is a necessary evil... (none)
              but that doesn't mean there isn't good in it...there are a lot of good things that come from work
              •  but... (none)
                but that doesn't mean there isn't good in it...there are a lot of good things that come from work

                This blurs the distinction that I'm (pick one) tenaciously/obnoxiously insisting on: the good things that "come from" work or can be produced through work can't be treated as a good in work. There's a difference between a product and a process.

                Nobody lends money to a man with a sense of humor -- Peter Tork, "Head"

                by Field Marshall Stack on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 06:43:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  One thing, though (4.00)
                I have been very grateful for the robots who do some of the most hateful jobs such as painting cars in auto plants with 110 F temperatures in the summer.

                If we can save people's lives by using robots and still have jobs of other kinds for people to earn a living, I will be glad. I am also thinking of coal miners.

                "The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries." Kurt Vonnegut

                by cfk on Sat Feb 04, 2006 at 07:22:44 PM PST

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            •  No it isn't. (none)
              Work is not a necessary evil.  It can be a great pleasure.  Or not.  Depends on your situation and your attitude.  For people who feel that they "own" their work, it is a good thing and a key source of self-esteem.   For those who feel that their work owns them, it is as evil as any other kind of slavery.
    •  Work is BS (none)
      Many years ago as a teenager, I was working in a greenhouse, it was winter, I was cold and wet, the job was menial and I was hating every minute of it.

      Since I was bored, I thought of all the things I would rather be doing, working on my car, reading, just about anything else, and I tried to figure out what the fundamental difference was between the work I was doing and the things I thought were fun.

      What I figured out that day, There is no difference between work and the things that I would have rather been doing. The whole concept of work was a value judgement that reflected my unhappiness and not something "out there in the world"

      So, I don't work hard.

      I have a good job with a good salary. I get excellent performance appraisals. I sit next to people who are working very hard and I just generally have a good time doing what I do. I enjoy my "work" so it is not work. Sometimes things need to get done that might not seem enjoyable, so I do them and enjoy getting them done.

      I know several things about work.

      Work is an input measurement. I know a lot of people who work very hard at getting very little done. Working hard is not productive.

      You can be very productive without working. I find that the people who do what they love are the most productive. I also find that a lot of people who claim to "work hard" secretly enjoy what they do and would do it anyway.

      I find that if you are worried about fairness or whether everybody else is working as hard that you need to take a good look at yourself. If you like what you do why would you care if someone else misses out on the chance to enjoy themself? If you don't like what you do, perhaps it is time make an adjustment.

      Sometimes people work extra hard because they don't believe in the value of what they produce. You know, maybe were not making enough of it and when we do, things will change.

      Work is BS. Have fun be productive.

      george w. bush is a man of few words, he uses them constantly though.

      by beerm on Sun Feb 05, 2006 at 05:03:55 AM PST

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