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Future Worker

Updated on June 1, 2011
The lithos for this hub come from MY FIRST BOOK, Estes & Lauriat, Boston 1883
The lithos for this hub come from MY FIRST BOOK, Estes & Lauriat, Boston 1883

Grown up, tell me how...

Tell me how you earn your bread

And how you pay your overhead.

Do you sometimes wish that you were dead?

Grown up, how do you earn the dough

To buy gas so your car will go?

D'you sell your soul --- say it's not so!

Grown up, I've got to know.

When I'm full grown...

I will have to go to work,

To pay for underwear and shirts.

Grown up, tell me, will it hurt?

Tell me I will find my destiny,

That they'll want to use the best in me!

Grown up, please confess to me,

Will I go to waste?

Are your thoughts well hid?

D'you always do as you are bid?

Please say you live as heroes did,

Not zeroes who built pyramids.

Tell me that I'll find my place,

That life's not just a rigged rat-race,

That I'll not be a nameless face.

Tell me I won't go to waste.

Grown up, speak up now.

Please tell me that there is more

To life than simply paying for

The right to live for one day more.

Is all work just a boring chore?

Tell me, grown up, what's in store.

Is the chance to live worth living for?

'Cause grown up, if the answer's "No,"

Help make sure I never grow!

(c) 1987, 2009 Aya Katz

This poem first appeared in A Child Possessed. It is inspired by the Julia Ecklar filksong "Survivor's Song."


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    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Shibashake, thanks! I think these are questions worth asking ourselves every so often, at whatever age.

    • shibashake profile image


      9 years ago

      I really liked how you asked all these adult questions in the voice of a child.

      Thinking back, I was a lot more positive when I was young. I didn't think so much about consequences or endings, but more about new experiences and beginnings. I suppose it is natural for that to shift as we get older.

      Still I think I am enjoying life a lot more as a adult :)

      Great poem, great imagery, and very thought provoking. Thanks.

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      June, choose a job that you love, and then it won't feel like work!

    • profile image

      June Sun 

      9 years ago

      Now I am not sure whether I wanna work.

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Whikat, thank you!

      Keep doing what makes you happy, and your independence is bound to rub off on your kids! I think the more people who have the courage to follow their heart there are in the world, the easier it will be for others to make the same choice.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi Aya,

      I really enjoyed the poem and the beautiful scenery that you put with it. I sure hope my convictions of being a stay at home mom, playing(err-working :-) ) on my computer and living free will someday influence my own children to live for their dreams and be free. Thank you for the wonderful hub.



    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks, Hot Dorkage!

      I've never heard of that saying before, (did you invent it?) but it does seem quite accurate in this particular era. It must be a 21st century adage!

      I'd like to add that while it's true that the people who take credit for their underlings' work are indeed receiving a higher salary, they often don't maintain a higher net worth. People motivated by greed, as these people are, tend to borrow more than they earn. So even when they live in a million dollar mansion, they owe many more millions than they own.

      Are you sure you're not confusing wealth with power? They are not exactly the same. In the era of greed, it doesn't pay to have wealth, so greedy people make sure that they don't. But power over others who actually produce things -- now that is another matter!

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 

      9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Love it!

      There's a saying: Poor men work at their job; rich men work at their networking.

      Notice how rich people get underlings to do all the work for them and take all the credit and profit.

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Ngureco, thanks!

      While it's true that most children can't wait to grow up so they can make adult decisions about their own life, there also are those who never want to grow up, like Peter Pan, because they can already see where it will all lead.

    • ngureco profile image


      9 years ago

      This really is the grown-up way of looking at the future. A child will always wish to be a grown-up. But once grown up will find the reality of what's in store in grown-up life - living is difficult.

      Good poem, Aya Katz.

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Eli, that is great news! I've been out of touch with the filking community for quite some time, but I will keep an eye out for the new CD!

    • profile image

      Eli Goldberg 

      9 years ago

      Aya, she's working on a new CD:

      Here's the first concept rough from the project:

      Regular updates are available from our newsletter:

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Dolores, thanks! I purchased the primer that the lithographs were in at a used bookstore. It was very inexpensive for how old it is, but the book was falling apart. Since most of the illustrations featured children with adults, I found it was a good match for my poem.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      aya, wonderful poem and those lithographs are great

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Eli, thanks for your comment and for the link!

      Do you know whether Julia is planning to put out any new CDs within the next year or so?

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice adaptation!

      Just FYI, there's a higher-quality stream (w/o the background noise) of Survivor's Song (and the rest of the CD) at:

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Justmesuzanne, I think maybe enough people feel this way to transform the way work is done in the future.

      Jerilee, thanks! Which book did you want to live in forever?

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Wonderful poem Aya! Personally, I've never wanted to be a grown up, but I did want to live in a book forever.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Absolutely! I am making a quarter of the income I had at the beginning of this century, but I will never work outside of my home again!

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      Sally's Trove, thanks! They are good questions, so keep asking them!

      JustmeSuzanne, it's amazing how many kindred spirits there are here on Hubpages. Freedom is having choices -- and daring to make them!

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Great poem! Thanks! That's why I sit in front of my own computer in my own home in my jammies and in poverty! It beats the alternative!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Beautiful syntax, imagery, rhyme, cadence, and time in life.  I see these questions as grown-up questions delivered in a grown-up version of a child's voice.  The words of the child that persists no matter the years.  

      Engaging and compelling.

      I sit here asking these questions of myself.

    • Aya Katz profile imageAUTHOR

      Aya Katz 

      9 years ago from The Ozarks

      TheMoneyGuy, long live the free!

      Ryanobie, thanks. May you never grow up!

    • ryanobie profile image


      9 years ago from Washington, DC

      Nice poem from one who has never grown up, ha. Thanks Aya!

    • TheMoneyGuy profile image


      9 years ago from Pyote, TX

      Sorry to say young one, all work for wage is the toil of slaves. Free men do no such thing. Alas, if you aren't sure then you surely aren't free.

      Good Poem



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