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Op-Ed: Is there such thing as a bad job? Yes, but we can't be fastidious

By Andrew Moran     May 27, 2012 in Business
Toronto - As the Canadian federal government makes significant changes to the Employment Insurance system, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's comments of there is no such thing as a bad job must be questioned and analyzed.
“I was brought up in a certain way. There is no bad job. The only bad job is not having a job. So I drove a taxi. You know, I refereed hockey. You do what you have to do to make a living,” Flaherty told reporters in Ottawa earlier this month.
Was the finance minister correct in his sentiment about any job being a good job? No, because there are many, many terrible jobs in this world. As readers pointed out in that article, there are various bad jobs that people do all over the world. What about people who work in customer service who have to deal with supercilious and rude individuals on a daily basis? What about those who must build houses, condominiums or 40-foot story structures in 40-degree celsius heat or -10- degree celsius cold? What about septic tank cleaners (that’s pretty much self explanatory)?
So Flaherty was only partially correct in his statement. However, he was right when he said, “You do what you have to do to make a living.” No matter what kind of job you do in society, you should not be frowned upon by your fellow man. We have all been in that kind of a situation where we feel the work is demeaning or doesn’t live up to our standards. Unfortunately, we can’t be fastidious in this day and age.
Last month, The Business Insider published an article about a foreign currency analyst who was let go by his firm. He was forced to take a job at Starbucks, but he moved far away so no one he knew would see him because he felt quite ashamed of himself. Why would he? If I knew him, I would not pass judgment. A job is a job and sometimes reality gets in the way of what the perfect job is.
The Business Insider also published a column by a former Wal-Mart employee, in which he did not lambast the Multinational Corporation, but instead he applauded the company for the way it treats its workforce. According to the former employee, Wal-Mart tries to make its employees feel they own part of the company by providing them with key responsibilities.
I also had hebetudinous jobs in my teenage and university days that included all age demographics. Some of my ex-colleagues were not dealt with the right cards or attempted vehemently to get hired in their desired employment. Should they be criticized and chuckled at? No.
Unfortunately, this generation of jejune and slothful kids tend to think a job that does not immediately pay $60,000 per year, provide benefits and offer management positions right away is beneath them. During the Occupy protests last year, that was one of the main themes – over at Sun News, author and pundit Ezra Levant was slammed for asking if working at McDonald’s was beneath the Occupy demonstrators.
When I was in university, one of my peers actually told me that the only reason the world goes around is because of universities and professors because they teach history and philosophy. My response was, “People can’t read history or philosophy books by themselves?”
The neophyte’s remarks were, indeed, credulous and simplistic. (What do you expect from a student for life?)
The fact is, not everyone is going to obtain a fantastic job. There are only so many types of positions out there. Look at journalists, for example.
I remember covering a media event in November when Alberta Premier Alison Redford came to Toronto to talk about the oilsands development. Ryerson journalism students attended the same event for class and there were approximately 20 of them. Are all of these 20 kids going to become a journalist in any competitive type of media? Probably not, but if they end up at a job selling newspaper subscriptions door-to-door, working at Tim Hortons or becoming an assistant manager at Wal-Mart, they should not be considered a failure or beneath anyone.
We are all human and we must do whatever we can to stay alive. Everyone should be treated with the same level of dignity, respect and kindness no matter what job title he or she may have: cashier, telemarketer, cleaner, plumber, taxi driver or politician, er, I mean parking enforcement officer.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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