Dooger rants about work

As a young boy, I often went to work with my dad.  Like most families today, I grew up in a two-income family.  The difference back then was that dad earned both incomes.  Mom’s duty was to train the kids and take care of the house.  This job was often more difficult and stressful than dad’s.  Even though we only had two incomes, dad actually had three jobs.  The job that paid most of the bills was rebuilding automatic transmissions in the mechanic shop.  The fulfilling and purposeful career was pastor at a small church.  Perhaps the hardest manual labor of his three jobs was the rental properties that he kept.  On one occasion while digging a septic system by hand, he told me that when I grew up, I should get a job working with my head instead of my butt.

Unfortunately, my generation has done a poor job passing along the work ethic that we learned from our parents.  Consider the recent news story about Michael Rotondo.  His mother and father filed an eviction notice to remove their thirty year old son from their home.  A few weeks later, he was in court again because he was behind on his child support payments.  This appearance, the judge ordered the able bodied man-child to get a job.

This story didn’t really hit home for me until this past weekend when I attended a home-school conference with my wife and pre-teen boys.  Many of the classes that my boys attended focused on inspiring them to think about vocation and work ethic.  Next door to our home-school conference was the annual Wizard World conference.  The convention center was filled with thirty year old kids all dressed up as their favorite comic book heroes.  Instead of learning strong work ethic, they were attending debates on whether DC or Marvel has the best villains, or attending workshops teaching how to play Pokemon.

In the last interview before his death, Stephen Hawking talked about the affects of Artificial Intelligence and technological unemployment could have on our society.  Some may agree with Mr. Hawking and say that the un-employed thirty year olds living in their parents basement are proof of Mr. Hawking’s predictions.  He talks of a Utopia where all of the work is performed by robots and the wealth is evenly distributed in a communistic society.  If nobody has to work, we can all waste away our waking hours dressed up like comic book characters and playing Pokémon.  I personally do not think that would be a very fulfilling life.

I wonder what Mike Rowe would think about the utopia that Stephan Hawking describes.  Since his Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs, he has been on a campaign to change America’s work ethic.  Most of us have been taught to make as much money as quick as we can, while working as little as possible so we can retire early leaving the hard work for the next generation.  Even my own dad’s instruction for me to work with my head is very similar to the advice Mike’s high school guidance counselor tried to give him, “work smart, not hard.”  Mike’s advice to us is to work smart AND hard.

When I think of utopia and these two viewpoints on work, I tend to agree more with Mike’s thoughts.  Being an atheist, Hawking may not have considered or consulted mankind’s instruction book.  The bible says in Genesis 2:15 that God placed man here to work and care for the garden.  This garden was a true utopia, and it included work.  When man disobeyed God and brought a curse on the earth, that utopia ended.  Man’s aversion to work, and our desire to waste away life doing as little as possible is not why our Creator made us.  We were created to work, and I believe in order to be truly happy, we need to fulfill our purpose.

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