There comes a time in life when you know deep down, that you have become HARDENED and for me it is a fringe benefit of the working class. I feel it is earned and not just handed out. When I look at my Father and uncles, who are in the same career field as I am you can just tell that they are hardened and it is something that you can’t put a price tag on – to me it is one of those things that are passed down from generation to generation. Have you reached this sweetness, in your life yet? – Jeremy
I agree completely that there are benefits of manual labor that far exceed a paycheck. And I also agree that many of those benefits are forgotten or ignored by many. But I would not personally describe the “sweetness” of my ideal working sensibility as “hardened.” For me, it’s more about balance in other words, being hard when I need to be hard.
Here’s how I see it… Two generations ago, and I’m generalizing, the average working Joe was by and large, hardened. He had to be, as most jobs would chew up anyone who wasn’t. But maybe – and this is just a possibility – he became hardened to the point of imbalance.
Back then, many people were so completely defined by their work that their personal identities adapted to reflect the rigors of their jobs. Then, a funny thing happened. In the space of one generation, the microchip came along, and changed the face of what a “good job” looked like. Next thing you know, the work force evolved into something very different from the days of Rosie the Riveter, and almost overnight, many good jobs no longer required the “hardening” you refer to. Then, as in earlier days, this modern worker evolved to reflect the personality and attitude required from this kinder, gentler job site. In other words, he got soft. Maybe, and this is just a possibility, to the point of imbalance. My hope with Dirty Jobs is to point out this change, and remind the modern day work force that a certain “hardening” still makes the world go round.
However, I would add that a good work ethic does not require steel-toed boots and overalls. And not all office types are metro-sexual posers with a penchant for Cosmopolitans and scented candles. Our country depends upon many different skill sets and personalities to handle the diversity of jobs that need to get done. The problem right now is that traditional images of work have fallen out of vogue, along with some traditional ethics. And that has triggered in many, (myself included,) a certain nostalgia for times gone by. To that end, Dirty Jobs is a wake-up call for balance in the workplace – and a reminder that plumbers, electricians, construction workers, and garbage men are still hauling our freight.
“The reason a lot of people does not recognize opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work. — T. Edison”