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Work Should Not Be Punishment
As I was completing a Masters Program in Preventive Medicine, the studies included much about Health Psychology and the World of Work. It seemed to me, after a lot of in-depth work, that many people felt high levels of job stress, and some workers did not like their jobs.
Some employees felt trapped in dead-end jobs by circumstances that included family responsibilities, the inability to gain higher education because they quit school in order to support their parents and siblings, and many other situations, I remembered that one of my grandfathers was pulled out of school at age 8 to perform demanding physical labor, taking over the management of the farm in just a few years. His own father had died the year my grandfather was born and the responsibility was all his form an early age. I never met him, but heard stories of how unhappy and irritable he was, even mean.
I don't think work should do that to any individual.
If you read Sinclair Lewis's The Jungle, you can see how abusive work in the meat packing houses was in the early 20th century. For instance, children fell in the vats of ground meat and were processed right along with the animals. Children worked for 14 hours a day. So many other atrocities occurred and many people suffered injuries that were ill-treated and developed arthritic conditions from being around the blood-wet kill-house floor.
In the late 20th Century, Fast Food Nation, showed that certain meat packing operations were not all that different form the day of The Jungle. Injured workers that lacked education advantages kept returning to the job and finally died of the complications of their injuries. A very interesting description iof the slaughter house begins in this book at the end point were packed meats come out and traces the pathway back through the atrocities of living animals with slit throats and finally the beef steers balking in the line to the slaughter house as they heard screams form the cattle on the killing floors.
Work should not be like this, but many people feel that their everyday jobs are just as bad.
Some quote the Old Testament in defense of work that is too harsh [end of Genesis 3:17, New King James]:
" Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life."
New Living Translation:
"the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it."
Other translations add the word pain or painful, which may not be exact in the original Hebrew. Regardless, it is OK to work, but I feel that it should not be punishment.
Another scripture has been perhaps misused:
Proverbs 22:6 (New Living Translation):
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Some Bible language scholars state that this passage means to train a child for the work that is best for him or he - their calling - in addition to the home's religious traditions, not by arbitrary standards (their parents' career choice for them, for instance).
To that end, effective Career Assessment and career planning can help one to find the job that is right for them and which will also be profitable for the company that hires the worker. This is true also for the self employed.
Encyclical on Human Work
His Holiness Pope John Paul II; September 14, 1981
The entire encyclical is many pages long, but the first part resonated with me:
"THROUGH WORK man must earn his daily bread and contribute to
the continual advance of science and technology and, above all,
to elevating unceasingly the cultural and moral level of the
society within which he lives in community with those who belong
to the same family. And work means any activity by man, whether
manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances; it
means any human activity that can and must be recognized as work,
in the midst of all the many activities of which man is capable
and to which he is predisposed by his very natures, by virtue
of humanity itself."
This is telling us that a person should be permitted to do the work that is right for him or her - a personal calling. Not a punishment.
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