Dignity of Labor

Greetings Friends,

I will like to begin this article with a question: What do you stand for in life? Please take a minute or two to evaluate this breath-taking question. It’s not a must you have to answer the questions now, you can take some time to think about it. The reason why I asked this question is that it will go a long way to define you in addition to the kind of life you truly want to live.

If you had taken time to answer the above-mentioned question,I want to inform you that you need the courage of life to make your dreams come true. In order to truly live the kind of life  you want to be remembered for when you depart this world to the land of the unknown.  I charge you to do some sober reflection by inquiring if you have the courage and integrity to truly live the kind of life you want to live. No individual, organization, company, community can survive in isolation, let alone prosper, without the manual labor of farmers, industrial employees, construction workers, miners, and other innumerable men and women who toil to make everyone’s day-to-day life possible.

According to Lao Tzu “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” In my humble opinion and understanding, one of the unspoken words Lao Tzu is trying to tell us in this quote is that one of the ways to succeed in life is by knowing what you stand for and also, know how to articulate your vision and mission in order to achieve the set goals. Another line of thought I will like to attend to in this quote pertains to integrity and dignity because for you to truly succeed in life, you must stand for something or die for nothing. The question now is, what are you willing to stand or die for? Are you willing to stand up for a cause you believe in?

It should be noted that your reputation is what people think about you, and your character is who you are. Character, courage, and integrity can be categorized as some of the most defining traits or characteristics that can define a man. According to Martin Luther King, Jr. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy”. It’s pertinent to note that the unspoken words of  Martin Luther Jnr lie in integrity and dignity in addition to standing for whatever you believe in regardless of societal pressure. It is in the light of this quote we shall be discussing the dignity of labor.

What truly is the dignity of labor? Dignity of labor simply means the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect of whatever work you are doing.  If you will agree with me, it is always good to be busy because an idle man is a devils workshop. Progressive mind likes to work in order to solve the challenges facing them. Dignity of labor also has the underlying philosophy that all decent jobs should be respected equally, and no occupation should be considered superior. It doesn’t matter if you are the President, C.E.O, manager, security officer, janitor, or even house cleaner, no job should be considered superior or inferior. Therefore, it advisable for everybody to adopt the Ubuntu policy in order to function in unison.

I likened the dignity of labor to the human body because no human part is superior to the other. If the brain or eyes decides it has more value than the anus, the anus can decide to prevent any bowel from leaving the anus for three days and the whole body will be uncomfortable. We shall be discussing dignity of labor as it relates to dignifying humanity and how it can boost our self esteem. It should be noted that no work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance should be taken undertaken with painstaking excellence.

In our contemporary society, many people seem to have less regard for integrity and dignity of work due to how our society has relegated those traits and standards of living. This category of people has been brainwashed by what the society made them feel and this thought seems to have eroded their common sense and sense of value. According to these beings, you are judged by your salary and position/title at work. These set of interesting people seems to go with what’s trending or what’s in vogue.

 Another set of individuals I will like to mention here are the hardworking individuals who are doing their best by working decent menial jobs just to put food on the table for their loved ones in addition to taking care of responsibilities by staying away from dubious means of making money like dealing on drugs, and internet fraud, just to mention a few. These are the people I can MVP’s because they are not influenced by the standard of the society.  It’s worthy to note that every worthy job you have ever had has a corresponding role and worthy experience that it leaves you with if you think out of the box.

Let me share a personal experience with you, during my formative years in USA, I had the humble opportunity of working several jobs, but of particular interest was being a security officer. Despite working in consulting companies, law firms as an intern and legal assistant, none gave me the real fulfillment I really needed to jump-start a career. It was during one of my job as a security officer in New York City I got the inspiration to write a book, I can vividly remember when my security license expired and I had to stay off work for about two weeks. I used the opportunity to complete the process of writing my book. The moral of this message is that assuming I was working for a big corporation, I may not have had sufficient time to research and publish my book the way I did when I was working as a security officer. Again, ordinarily I would have felt bad working as a security officer, but the job later turned out to be the icing on my cake because it gave me the time to research for my book and also the opportunity of meeting other great resourceful during networking events and these great minds have turned out to be great assets to me. Moral: Never you despise humble beginnings.

That being said, regardless of what you are currently going through now. I have one word for you, hang in there, and appreciate the experience you are gaining because they will all add up at the end of the day. Don’t allow the craze for money, social media stunts seeking validation to have any atom of psychological effect on you. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel if you play by the rules, have a positive mental attitude and work smart.

Let’s discuss a little about the types of labor

1.       Skilled labor and unskilled labor:  Skilled labor requires workers to possess specific talents that are utilized within an industry to  highly technical activities and unskilled labor refers to workers who lack technical training and expertise. Both are necessary for success to see the light of the day.

2.       Physical labor: This is the type of labor in which the laborer uses his physical exertion to complete a task. Mental labor is a type of labor in which the laborer uses mental efforts to complete a task. For example, technocrats.

In conclusion, I will strongly advise,  every working man/woman to look upon yourself with respect, be honest, industrious, with grace in your speech and conduct, and never give yourself a thought about the work you are doing. Appreciate the work because it can pave a way for greater opportunities if you have the right attitude.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with New York City Department of Correction as the legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success 

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