The IUSB campus is dedicating this next year to the worker. This is very interesting, as I myself have taken on a different job. Not teaching any more but actually becoming a physical laborer has given me interesting things to think about. Not that I have not had this type of a job in the past. It is just that going from what some would say a more intellectual job to a very physical job puts me in a perspective I have never seen till now.
Some of my students who were in summer school, saw me working as a custodian, and they did not know what to think. It was as if I had sunk below their expectations of what I should be. As I was dwelling on this, a thought came to my mind. What is so wrong for people in a “profession” doing manual labor? I looked up the word ‘profession’ and found it can mean, as Merriam Webster Dictionary explains it, “a principle calling, vocation, or employment.” Then it occurred to me that China had what they called the “Cultural Revolution.” Today that is an abhorrent term. Almost anyone who knows what happened believes it was taken to extremes. My thought has been this though; why not alternate ones intellectual or scientific profession with a bit of manual labor? It certainly puts a person on level ground with everyone else in the world. I am not saying give up that profession, but try something out of the comfort zone. People might think differently when they see what the majority of the population has to deal with and how it works. Could it, would it get rid of that attitude that thinks it is better because of job status? Ok, so it has taken me quite a few years and dollars to get my degree, and Joe on the garbage truck barely made it through high school. I know I would not want to be without the ‘Joes’ out there and haul my own garbage somewhere.
So here’s to the worker, the one who is working and making a difference somehow, somewhere.