Working Class Pride

Work is a necessity


Work is both a human and economic necessity. It is the foundation of contemporary society. Our houses, schools, hospitals, and farms are all the result of human labor. Our art and technology are all developed through work. Products and services designed to improve our quality of life have come into being as a result of labor. To participate in work is a very human and positive experience. The attitude that work is distasteful arises from straining our minds and bodies through the sale of our labor in exchange for wages. When this is necessary, work seems dull and unimaginative. Work is not inherently oppressive, however. Someone once called play the work they are not required to do. Meaningful work is as much a fundamental need as food and water—we are nurtured and fulfilled by it.

I was born in a working class family. My father lived on a farm as a boy, and he owned a delivery business in his adult life. His early life instilled in him a strong work ethic, and he encouraged us to put forth our best effort in anything we did. We were provided for although he was not a wealthy man. When his salary was no longer sufficient to meet our needs, my mother found a job and combined her income with his. My older sister contributed her time to household duties and helping to care for my brother and me. These circumstances shaped my character, and I remain very much a product of the working class lifestyle we lived in.


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Proud to be a working class man

Working class people will always help others in need
Working class people will always help others in need
Hard work is the fuel that moves society forward
Hard work is the fuel that moves society forward
The working class is one of the most diverse groups in the history of mankind
The working class is one of the most diverse groups in the history of mankind
Working class people can find ways to make work fun...
Working class people can find ways to make work fun...
...and don't need money to enjoy themselves
...and don't need money to enjoy themselves
I am proud of my working-class origins
I am proud of my working-class origins

Working for a living


My childhood and adult years have been spent in a working class environment. There have been periods in my life when I have had more money than I’ve needed to survive, and on other occasions I have struggled. I am now more than 50 years old and, at a time when many are reaping the benefits of their work, I still struggle. I carry on with my best efforts, but age has diminished my abilities to a small degree. I lack the seemingly limitless energy I enjoyed as a younger man, and I am often mentally and physically exhausted from my tasks. I have sometimes felt sad and discouraged because I have not made myself more of a financial success, but I eventually realized I have done nothing wrong. I’m not at fault because I am not a millionaire. No one is to “blame” for struggling through a difficult economic climate—including me. No one who has lived in a poor or working class environment has any reason to feel shame—the ability to survive under such conditions is a testament to intelligence and courage.

Working class men and women have a great many strengths to be praised and admired for. Because we live in a competitive society, those with fewer material possessions sometimes cannot help but feel they have let themselves and their loved ones down. They might see themselves as a failure and believe they lack the qualities that make others a success. This perspective is fundamentally flawed. Working class men and women have much strength of character.

Working class men and women:

--model the efficient use of natural resources. We are not wasteful or extravagant. We know where our money goes and spend for things we genuinely need. We save what is extra for use in the future.

--have a strong sense of responsibility. We understand the importance of meeting our responsibilities to employers, our families and our communities. We take our obligations very seriously and are extremely persistent in meeting our commitments.

--are innovative and resourceful. We are able to find new and unique ways to achieve our goals, often with few tools at our disposal. Our lives demonstrate great creativity—the way we live can often be defined as a work of art.

--know how to survive. We have an awareness of our own strength and display great common sense in meeting life’s challenges. Our tenacity allows us to persevere against great odds. We are resilient and not easily deterred.

--can count on each other in times of crisis. We share what we have with those in greater need, putting people over material things. Despite being placed in positions where we are expected to compete with others for jobs and promotions, we are able to overcome our competitive instincts and reach out to those in need.

--have an ability to have fun without money. We are able to take great pleasure in simple things and don’t need to spend money to enjoy ourselves. We find expression in song and dance. We bask in the beauty of nature. We revel in the company of family and friends.


Reclaiming pride


Poor and working class people comprise the majority of the world’s population. We are young and old(er) men and women. We are members of every race, ethnic group and faith. We are the most diverse group of people in the history of mankind. Our common bonds are that we live by selling our ability to work (whether that work is unskilled or very skilled) to someone else and are compensated in the form of wages. We usually do not own the products of our efforts or decide how our labor is utilized. These sometimes harsh realities should not be viewed as a reason for shame. We can take pride in our accomplishments, recognizing that much of the world’s resources have come from our efforts. We can rejoice in our strength and ability to care for each other. We can celebrate our gifts and look to the future with optimism.

This article is not about class issues. It is not a question of poor people looking at rich folks with disdain or envy. This is not an article about politics. It is about working class pride. It is about recognizing men and women as brothers and sisters and helping others when they need it. It is about looking in a mirror and seeing someone strong and proud staring back at them. It is about knowing there will be better days ahead, and the change will come through strength, persistence and tenacity.

This article is a celebration.


Comments 54 comments

msorensson profile image

msorensson 6 years ago

I celebrate with you, Mike. I love the hub. It is an expression of human dignity and pride. Thank you.


Lynn Nodima profile image

Lynn Nodima 6 years ago from United States

Thank you for this hub. It says so many of the things I have been trying to pen for so many years. My mom was sick when I was in high school, and I became the caregiver in our home. My dad was severely injured before I graduated from high school. My high school years were fraught with lower grades due to my working to buy groceries for my mom, dad, and two siblings. Life happens to all of us; what you make of it is important. Too many people don't realize that it doesn't take a lot of money to have a great life. Thanks again!


thevoice profile image

thevoice 6 years ago from carthage ill

terrific first rate working hub i enjoyed reading great pride thanks


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

msorensson, thanks for reading. I appreciate your comments a great deal. This truly is about human pride. Thanks so much for being an ally to working class people.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Lynn, thanks so much for reading. Your story is similar to many, and it is so important to understand that we do what we must to survive. Success isn't measured in the number of cars we own and how much our clothes cost. Success is also about surviving under adverse circumstances. It sounds as though you have done this quite well. Thanks again for reading.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

thevoice, I greatly appreciate your reading and offering your comments. They are most gracious. Thank you very much.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

--- and of course working class are the ones who changed the world, feed the people and work their sexy butts so that others may have a beautiful life.

I am proud of you Mike and I belong to a working class as well, Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Maita, thank you for your kind comments. You are correct, working class men and women maintain the status quo--without us, it would be extremely difficult for society to even continue. We do indeed work our sexy butts off!

Thanks again for most kind words.

Mike


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

Personal pride in a job well-done!

Your article makes me think of Elbert Hubbard's story of "The Message to Garcia".

We don't have enough people with pride in their own abilities to deliver that message.

Well-written!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

FCEtier, thank you for your kind comments. Pride sometimes seems a fleeting thing, but if we try to hold onto it, we will usually find it is still there.

Thanks again for your gracious comments.

Mike


Gemineye profile image

Gemineye 6 years ago

Simply put, excellent article! You gave me a different vision of work and life and the unison in which they work.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks, Gemineye, I appreciate it. Tear away society's labels and we are all pretty much the same, but sometimes the labels themselves limit understanding and finding our common ground. Thanks again, I appreciate your kind words.

Mike


Betty Reid profile image

Betty Reid 6 years ago from Texas

You make some great points, especially about helping others and having fun.


Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

Ghost Whisper 77 6 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

I love the "pile of leaves picture" it made me smile really big! Tooooooooooooo cute. Great hub as always Mike!


coffeesnob 6 years ago

Mike,

The word grit and perseverence come to my mind. I think you are right about the great qualities you noted. If I were to wrap them all up into one phrase I would say that working class people have an ability to put their face to the wind and press on...Not to say this is not true in other classes, but just to highlight the working class and say Hoorah!

Also I loved this thought "The attitude that work is distasteful arises from straining our minds and bodies through the sale of our labor in exchange for wages."

Oh my how true and profound a thought.

Blessings Mike

CS


Susan Carter profile image

Susan Carter 6 years ago

I'm from a working class upbringing and am proud of my accomplishments. I take pride in my friends that grew up in the same environment. There is a great deal to be said about a generation that believes in hard work, rather than the "entitlement" attitude of the younger generation. Good hub. Thanks.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

This was beautiful and now has made me proud and less ashamed. It's Mother's Day and I had a busy day and Im tired and not sure Im going to get my reading in tonight but out of all the hubs your's caught my eye and I chose to read so read job top notch writing.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Betty, thanks for reading. I appreciate your kind words and the acknowledgement. Your comments are appreciated.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ghosty, thanks for coming by. The leaves picture is one of my favorites, also. It was a wonderful moment and one I will treasure. I'm glad it brought you a smile--it is an important photo to me. Hope you had a nice Sunday, Ghosty--I miss ya.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Coffeesnob, thanks for reading. Grit and perseverence are indeed qualities working class folks share in abundance. We press onward in the face of often very daunting odds. And, you are of course correct--perseverence is not the exclusive property of the working class, and this hub is not meant as a negative look at those who have achieved financial abundance. It is simply a celebration of the many men and women who give their all every day because that is what they do.

Thanks so much for your kind words and participation in my tribute to the working class of people. I appreciate it.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Susan, you are correct. There is much to be proud of in working hard for what we have achieved. Our work ethic can be a source of inspiration to anyone who is struggling. Our celebration can be ongoing.

Thanks for reading, Susan.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Janny, I'm so glad you find the time to stop by and read what I wrote. None of us have any reason to feel ashamed for our "station" in life, and we have all worked hard to get where we are. We have much to be proud of and I am so glad you found something positive in my hub. Happy Mother's Day, Janny (a day late).

Mike


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Great hub and very empowering. I enjoyed reading it, so very much, and agree heartily.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Paradise, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found my hub worthwhile. Hope you're doing well these days.

Mike


philip carey 61 6 years ago

"Giving the ordinary its beautiful due," as someone once said. (John Updike, I think) Nicely written.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Philip, thanks for reading. Giving the ordinary its beautiful due says it quite well. I greatly appreciate your comments.

Mike


mwatkins profile image

mwatkins 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

Hi Mike - simply put - Thanks for standing up for the work ethic! I applaud your celebration of pride, strength, tenacity, and honor! I was touched by your references to building 'character' from a working class family. It takes me 'back home.'


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Nothing at all to be ashamed of...in fact since the vast majority of people come from the working class...it should be a cause for celebration. As you pointed out...working also gives one a sense of accomplishment and pride. Most of us can't sit around eating bon-bons all day...nor would we want to do so. Good hub!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

mwatkins, thank you. We have much to be proud of, and I am grateful that you have added your voice to this small tribute. I am genuinely grateful.

Mike


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Peggy, thanks for reading. There is indeed no shame--only the reclaiming of pride and honor. Our accomplishments are many. You are correct, we need to work, we can't sit around eating bon-bons. If we don't work, we are unfulfilled.

Thanks so much for your comments.

Mike


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Beautiful Mike! Very well spoken; written with the same dignity and respect you are conveying. All human life is sacred, and work is honorable. Very encouraging during these tough times when work is hard to find for many. You can be proud of the work you put into this hub; true craftsmanship.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

kimh, thank you so much for your kind words. All human life is indeed sacred and deserving of dignity. As working class men and women continue to struggle, it is important we retain our power. Thanks again for your comments, they are greatly appreciated.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

how are you, did you have the twist there, take care, maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi Maita, I'm fine. All the storms were south of here. We got some rain and a fair amount of lightning, but nothing worse than a slightly damp carpet in my basement. Thanks for your concern.

Mike


bingskee profile image

bingskee 6 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

more power to the working class!

i appreciate the effort of having a hub for the working class. hope that people from this group will have the chance to read this beautiful hub, as i had a wonderful time reading it.

the virtues gained from working are worth it. it is better to be useful than useless. :-)


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

bingskee, thanks for commenting. I am very grateful for your kind and inspirational comments. I am extremely glad you found value and meaning in my hub. Thanks so much.

Mike


WE5 profile image

WE5 6 years ago

Mike,

There's not much I can add to the many comments ahead of me! Great Hub! I read and felt like it was me writing (perhaps not so elequently). I'm in my fifties, grew up in a mining town in western Labrador, been working since I was a kid from lemonade stand until now. My friends get a kick out of the fact I've worked at 'everything'. I have never not worked, even when between jobs, I've been drawing, painting, songwriting, keeping on. As I instill these values in my kids I tell them 'Nothing is free', the old 'If you're going to do something, do it to the best of your abilities' and finally, I tell my self and my kids, 'we may not have everything that others have, but everything we have, we earned ourselves...nothing was given or taken'.

Keep it up!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

WE5, thanks for commenting. Your summation is as eloquent as anything I could say. We have earned everything we have, and it might not be as much or as nice or as pretty as what others have, but it's all ours. We can take a great deal of pride in that, and build upon that pride for everything we accomplish in the future.

Thanks again, I greatly appreciate your kind words and your encouragement.

Mike


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

Great topic to bring up, Mike. I happen to love my job and I get satisfaction knowing that I work hard, treat people with respect and I go to bed feeling good that I have earned my way. Thanks for an enlightening piece. Bless you.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Lovelypaper, thanks for reading. Work can be very satisfying and it is meant to be. It is great that you have a job you truly enjoy--that is how it is supposed to be. Thanks for your comments.

Mike


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

little wet on the carpet thats good, here it is cloudy, hmmm,

Good you are fine there and the twsiter didnt bother you,

Maita


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Hi Maita, yup, the basement carpet got a little wet, and that was it for us here. I will take that any day over what happened in Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas.

Thanks for your concern, you are always so wonderful to others.

Mike


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Awesome! The working class is the backbone of America, for sure!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Habee, thanks for your comments. You are correct, without the working class--society would not function. Even with outsourced labor, the working class is indispensible.

Thanks again.

Mike


ralwus 6 years ago

I also am a former blue collar worker and I veteran of poor. I miss working but I do some around my home now and again. You made some very valid points my friend. Labor is good and where would we be without folks like us? I rated this awesome.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ralwus, thanks for your comments and insights. I have always spoken up for the working class (sometimes in situations that did not help me). Working class men and women have always been devalued in a class society, and the situation is even more extreme with so much work being outsourced. I still believe the future of America rests with the working class. As you asked, where would we be without folks like us?

Thanks again for your kind comments and your rating. I hope you're doing well these days.

Mike


ralwus 6 years ago

doing fine, and workers are the backbone of commerce.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Ralwus: 1) Glad to hear it! 2) You are absolutely correct.

Thanks again.

Mike


rml 6 years ago

Your hub is very appropriate. Working class citizens should be proud of their background. They are the foundation of society and the one class society cannot survive without. Thanks to you for writing a very appropriate article.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

rml, thanks for your comments. I might be reluctant to take your comment (about the working class being the only class society cannot survive without) and phrase it as strongly as you did, but I wouldn't disagree with your statement, either. Regardless, there is much about being a working class man or woman to take pride in. Thanks again.

Mike


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Great hub Mike. I wish we could all come together. I wish the poor and "poorer" had some more resources to spruce up their lives. Work is prayer! Thank you Sir!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Micky, thanks for reading. I wish the classes could be a bit more unified, as well. We are all people in the end. Thanks for your kind comments.

Mike


raymond1489 5 years ago

Ah Mike, the virtues of work. There is nothing like it. Good for the mind. Good for the soul. Good for the body and necessary to sustain us. Great hub. Great topic and very well written.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA Author

Thanks, Raymond. Work is indeed essential to our well-being, despite being transformed over the centuries into selling our time and labor in exchange for money. Thanks for the kind words.

Mike

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