Grief, Grind, and Glory of Work
Last month the world heard the tragic news
that more than a thousand people working at a clothing factory in Bangladesh,
were killed when the factory they were working in collapsed.
The appetite for cheap clothing in the West is insatiable.
The people making the clothing often pay the true cost of these items.
The scale of this factory in Burma is vast.
The sense that these workers are just part of an immense machine is
accentuated by the pink shirts they are obliged to wear.
Labor disgraces no man;
unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.
– Ulysses S. Grant
Whether it is men fishing, nuns washing dishes, miners digging beneath the earth, or
working in the heat of a steel mill, work is universal, yet intensely personal. Millions work in order to survive, and for them,
there is no debate about how to achieve a life/work balance.
Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work.
Your life is a journey, not a rest.
You are travelling to the promised land, from the cradle to the grave.
The Sunday at Home, December 7th 1854
The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Working for long periods under extreme stressful work conditions can lead to
sudden death, a phenomenon the Japanese call karoshi. The word in China is guolaosi.
For others, the line between work and play is hard to find.
Everything yields to diligence.
– Thomas Jefferson
If a man is called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or
Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of
heaven and Earth will pause to say, Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
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