Where’s the Pride?

From the MRW Water Cooler:

Q: Where’d the pride go in a job well done? What happened to the personal satisfaction one takes in them when they can look over the day and actually see something accomplished? When did we turn into this “quickest, easiest, cheapest way” society that takes virtually everything for granted? Those questions were rhetorical, here’s the real question and I think, one of the many purposes of this site, how do we fix it?

Mike was on the Adam Carolla show not too long ago, and though Adam tends to be quite chauvinistic as he is most memorable from the Man Show, he did spend many years swinging a hammer and he and Mike made some great points about this (I’d post a link if I knew how – search Adam Carolla Show, 10/1/08). It’s almost as if the labor industry, from construction to plumbers to trash truck drivers, need a marketing campaign to change its image. It’s a crying shame that most laborers, blue-collar workers, etc. are thought of as unintelligent or are looked down upon because it’s assumed they don’t have a college education which has become so important in this society (for all the wrong reasons, if you ask me). What happened to taking pride in the fact, or in my case, appreciating those who’ve built our cities, keep our lights on and quite frankly, keep the crap out of the streets??

Anyway, can we start a marketing campaign? We can talk for days on how we got to this point, but I’d like to hear some of your ideas on how to change to common consensus about hard labor. I wana’ see pictures (I think Mike mentioned Rosie the Riveter in one of his videos), and read slogans. My 5 year old son thinks it’s so cool that his dad has a hard hat and wears a tool belt to work. Yet my father thinks I could have married better, a professional… poo-poo to your dad. Let’s Bring the Pride Back!!

Pride is one of the trickiest words in our language, and I think, the most dangerous and seductive of feelings. I wrestle with it all of the time, and often confuse it with with other feelings – glory, honor, arrogance, envy, ambition, credit, etc. What other feeling can be found in both the haughty and the humble? There is nothing inherently good or bad about Pride, because it can exist so often in people who are both good and not so good.

I love this quote from Austen, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

The very act of discussing that which makes us proud opens us to the risk of becoming vain, or at least sounding that way. I think sometimes, that the last generation understood that much better than we do. Maybe that’s why so much greatness went undiscussed, regarding WWII? Then again, maybe the fear of appearing vain is in itself a form of pride? Hmmm…

There are a number of things that I’ve done, that make me feel proud to reflect upon. But if I were to point them out, I’d have to examine my motives a bit more closely, and who’s got time for that?

I do believe, with respect to work, that self-esteem is important. We need to believe that what we do matters in a way that transcends a paycheck. Getting that sense of contribution back into Labor is my short answer to Jenn’s question. Otherwise, we’re just making little rocks out of big rocks, and that’ll get old after a while.

Bottom line – if your boss’s standards are higher than your own, everybody gets screwed, including you…


Even ghostwriters want to get paid for being anonymous. – Dark Matter


That is perhaps the best summation ever.

You should be proud.


One thought on “Where’s the Pride?

  1. Mike,

    I’m a Carpenter and I’ve always taken pride in what I do. Production or speed and efficiency is always part of the equation. Knowing how to move and establish a rhythm is necessary for quality work too. If you move in a herky jerky way your work is going to be herky jerky.

    Trades that I don’t do, like an equipment operator, need to move or operate their equipment that way or someone gets hurt.

    Maybe away from the job you might get dissed and you might not make as much as the salaryman. You really can’t say much unless someone asks about what you do.

    I look forward to seeing this new show and I appreciate your interest and respect for the tradesmen & women of the U.S.A.

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