At some stage you’ll have to face a dilemma if you’re still of working age and not in some sinecure you worked hard to get. That dilemma is summed up in the Mother Jones article on production line work:
“Leave your pride and your personal life at the door,” the lady at the chamber of commerce says, if I want to last as an online warehouse worker.
I’d like to graph personal pride and esteem versus realistic position economically. Many of the young today have been criticized for wanting it handed to them on a plate without having paid any dues but to an extent they’re not unjustified. Living at home or living with co-tenants but still with a money conduit from home, their socio-economic position is artificially high and so the prissiness at getting their hands dirty is understandable.
It is relative in the final analysis and just what you’d be prepared to do or how much c*** you’d be prepared to take from others does seem to come down to what’s riding on it. In a town with no benefits system, where the major employer has a near monopoly, where you’re up against people with much lower pride who chase this kind of work from town to town and that job on the production line is the difference between literally eating and starving, you’re going to put up with a lot.
There is then a second question – just how much should people put up with? A Chinese worker might give you a different answer to a college-educated American.
“Yes,” she says. “There’re 16 other people who want your job. Why would they keep a person who gets emotional, especially in this economy?”
Still, she advises, regardless of how much they push me, don’t work so hard that I injure myself. I’m young. I have a long life ahead of me. It’s not worth it to do permanent physical damage, she says, which, considering that I got hired at eleven something dollars an hour, is a bit of an understatement.
There are NO exceptions to this policy. She says to take Brian, for example, who’s here with us in training today. Brian already went through this training, but then during his first week his lady had a baby, so he missed a day and he had to be fired. Having to start the application process over could cost a brand-new dad like Brian a couple of weeks’ worth of work and pay. Okay? Everybody turn around and look at Brian. Welcome back, Brian. Don’t end up like Brian.
That does put the Tesco slave-labour thing into perspective. Don’t get me wrong – I know that in this climate and at this age, the most glittering CV is going to mean nothing any more. “Cut it down,” they say, by which they mean “dumb it down”, which I do, removing anything remotely requiring intelligence or qualifications and ending up with two paragraphs. “That’s the way,” the 20 year old spotty herbert from the Council says.
In the end, it’s the f*** you factor here. Someone makes the comment that human dignity is a luxury when you face starvation. Yes but why should we be facing starvation, loss of home, the soup kitchen?
Well that too depends. If you’re prepared to crank down your sights and accept a harder road than hitherto, if you’re not afraid of work, if you’re prepared to relocate, as Pavlov’s Cat has, then, if you still can’t survive, things are worse than bad – they’re terminal. A benefits scammer is going to come to that f*** you point much more quickly than current day me and the current day me is going to come to it at an earlier point than the younger me would have.
I’d like to think I wouldn’t stay more than a day at a place like that warehouse in the article. I’d like to think I’d be prepared to starve to death on the street first but we’ll see how much resolve I have when I’m actually closer to the point. What I know is that that warehouse is dehumanizing for anyone and it’s meant to be. You give up the job after a few weeks and someone else steps in.
It’s being run by people of quite low quality who don’t give a rat’s and know they can get away with it. People like those in the slave labour racket in England who are taking on unpaid workers to save on salaries.
It’s not a good time to be a conservative because the whole nation can see the criminal way these firms are operating and union leaders are within their rights to turn around and say, “There’s capitalism for you. Pitiless.”
And I’m sure that’s part of what we’re being manipulated into. While monopolies squeeze out the last vestiges of competition globally, people are being forced into an anti-free enterprise stance and would increasingly vote for someone who vows to end the gangster capitalism. Someone like Labour. However, a brief glance back at 1997-2010 shows that no one in his right mind would ever vote that lot back in.
There’s going to have to be a line in the sand in the end – each one of us has a different one and no doubt what line it is will change with changed circumstances but there will eventually come a point when it will be necessary to say, “No more.” Have we the cojones to mean it?
Politically, why should we go on and on as we now are, putting up with ever more? Because we’re malleable and adaptable, that’s why. If, when Woollies closed, everyone had said, “Right, that’s it, enough,’ and if we’d all marched on London – maybe two million people, then the issue would have been forced.
As it is, they pick you off where you live and pick me off up here. You’re not going to help me and I can’t help you. For how much longer?