Kindergarten, Totem Poles & Migrant Workers
Well, no doubt you’re aware I spent this labour day as I’ve spent every labour day since I was 5 – the year I entered Kindergarten….. conflicted.
As a little tyke, I was very active in helping unify the Teamsters in their fight against the tyranny of management, busting heads and pounding scabs. From there, I was able to branch out, I helped Norma Rae unionize the cotton mills in the American South, busting heads and pounding scabs – then I moved west where I was instrumental in helping gain fair wages and humanizing the migrant workers, busting heads and pounding scabs. I was one tough kindergartener, I remember finding ways to screw our foremen, abusing hard-won rights like breaks and time clocks, finding ways to work the angles while riding the entitlement train… All this before I was 6, so yea – I’d say I have a more highly developed respect for this holiday weekend than most.
It hurts to see people forget what this long weekend is all about…
On the flip side of the coin – a few short years later when they voted me onto the board of a little company called Wal-Mart, closely followed by Microsoft, Westinghouse and GE – I got to see things from the management side of things. At first it was really difficult, crushing the hearts, mind and dreams of the very people on whose backs, tears and sweat we used to build the company. Building the company to the point where we were able to vote ourselves enormous salaries and even bigger bonuses. It was hard, making sure we got the timing right – ensuring we fired people just before they were eligible for their full pensions. Finding inventive, yet plausible ways to strip benefits, deny full-time hours – as time went on, finding ways to ship work overseas and close plants while still trying to maintain a good corporate face here in North America….
Am I conflicted, probably, was it easier living and identifying with the side of the working stiff or as the corporate big-wig?
They both had their challenges to be sure and it was surprising easy to forget the worries and concerns of the other side, when in management, employees became another part of inventory to be managed, cogs and when I was a working man, management was a hateful, unthinking machine, concerned with nothing but ensuring the machine was well lubricated.
I guess what I’m saying and what I think this post clearly demonstrates — is that I have a very active imagination and have absolutely no problem lying to you.
I Hope your labour day was swell, whether you’re a blood sucking middle manager or struggling to find your way up from the low-end of the totem pole – read the note below, absorb it’s meaning and live accordingly…
Because while your busy thinking about tomorrow, today will quickly become yesterday. Enjoy what you’ve got, be thankful for what you’ve got right now and if there’s nothing to enjoy, nothing immediately comes to mind worth being thankful for… then you’re not trying hard enough… and, in a worse case scenario – make something up if you have to – that’s what I’ve been doing.
Have a Great Day