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Why I want to be a garbage man when I grow up

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 02:37 PM by Nolafus

Before I start, I would just like to say that I don't actually want to be a garbage man when I grow up. Before you ask me why I chose the title, let me ask you a question first. Why did you click on this blog? What prompted you to read this entry while you could be doing a thousand different things? There are several answers to this simple question. Some of you clicked on this simply because I'm your friend and friends are more likely to read friend's stuff. However, I hope there's another reason you clicked on this blog.

Let's go back to the title, shall we? Is there something weird about it? I spent a lot of time thinking about that title and the best way to get my message across. I would hope that the title seems a bit weird in the sense that no one really grows up wanting to be a garbage man. There are, of course, exceptions to this, but for the most part it's true. No one dreams of picking up other people's garbage. The one question I would like to ask, is why?

Don't just say that being a garbage man is an undesirable job. If you do, I'll just ask why, again. You could say that the job doesn't appeal to you, and that's perfectly fine and understandable, but why does no one dream of being a garbage man? I realize I'm leaving a lot of questions without leaving any answers, so I'm going to take a break from the questions and answer some of the ones I already laid out.

Let's look into being a garbage man. The typical work day starts off at 6AM. Ouch, now that's an early time. However, the typical day ends at 2PM. So, it's a trade off. You start a little early, and then you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want to do. Plus, you typically only work during the week, so weekends are free. That's a lot of free time. Now what about pay? This gets a little tricky since the pay is different depending on which town or city you go to. For instance, in New York City, the pay is around $40 bucks an hour. When you get to smaller towns, the pay dips to somewhere around $20 bucks an hour. $40 an hour might seem awesome, but you have to remember that the cost of living is higher in New York City, so that explains why the pay varies so much. Basically, you make enough money to support yourself, and possibly a family if you're being careful, but you're not going to be buying that yacht anytime soon. Hopefully being a garbage man doesn't look so bad anymore, and it might even sound a little appealing to some of you. So I bring up the question of, why is being a garbage man so low on the dreams list? It has decent pay, plenty of free time, and you're done for the day at 2PM.

It all starts when we first start school. They tell us at a very young age that we can be anything we want to be. I don't know about you, but when I started school, being President of the United States of America was almost drilled into my head. My teachers and parents constantly told me that I was going to grow up and be CEO of a company, a movie star, or maybe even an Olympian. In other words, these jobs were being glorified constantly. I grew up thinking that these jobs were the only ones that were worth aiming for. So other jobs, like being a garbage man, were never even in consideration. I got this idea in my head that the big shot jobs that were almost impossible to reach were the only jobs worth taking an interest in and that they were the most important jobs out there.

Now that's a bunch of crap.

You want to know what comes with all of those jobs? Stress, and a lot of it. I can't imagine what the people doing all those crazy jobs must feel like after each and every day. All I know, is that it sounds awful. The President of the United States cheats on his wife? Now that's a headline that will spread across the world in seconds and before long, everyone will know about your (not so) private life. If you make one mistake as President, one little slip up, and you're the laughing stock of the entire world. What happens if a garbage man gets caught cheating on his/her wife/husband? It stays in the family. It's not blown out of proportion, and just a select few people know about it.

One thing that always makes me laugh is when people try to argue that the "lesser" jobs aren't important. In my opinion, being a garbage man is just as important of a job as being mayor. Without those people starting the day at 6AM, there would be garbage everywhere. You could say that people would just haul their own stuff to the dump, but if they did that, we wouldn't need garbage men in the first place, now would we?

What's wrong with society today is that we're putting too much emphasis in all of the wrong places. I'm not saying to go tell all the kids to dream of being garbage men, or that being President is awful, but rather to just stop. Stop telling them that the only way to succeed in life is to strive for the impossible jobs that they probably aren't going to get anyway. Instead, just let them decide which jobs are worth striving for.

Can you guess what the happiest country in the world is? Here's a hint: It's not Canada, England, Germany, and definitely not America. It's Denmark, you know, that little country in Europe right under Norway. I did some research, and realized that they don't put any emphasis on jobs. One of the most respected citizens in their capitol works as a garbage man and their prince is a carpenter's apprentice. You want to know what's really strange? They never stop smiling. They're happy to be alive, just being what they want to be.

So if we really want our kids to succeed, let them decide. If they want to be a garbage man, that's great. If they want to go to college and be a doctor, perfect. If they want to be President, wonderful. I just want people to stop forcing them what to think.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Honest's Avatar
    I read the first paragraph, and promptly stopped because I just had to comment (defend?) myself. I clicked on the title because when I was 5, I said I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up. Drew a picture of myself taking care of trash and everything, too. My parents have never let me live that down, even today. :I


    Thought that maybe I could relate to my young self, or something, within this blog. Little did I know I'd been fooled. ;;
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 03:22 PM by Honest Honest is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    Hopefully you don't have to defend yourself since I'm not really attacking anyone!

    Like I said, most people don't dream about garbage. I think we all have our moments where we think of ourselves of being garbage men in the future, but few take it seriously.

    I'm just having one of those days where I just have to write my frustrations out, so this was mainly just for me, but thanks for taking the time to read it!
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 04:06 PM by Nolafus Nolafus is online now
  3. Old Comment
    Fairy Tale~'s Avatar
    Damn dude you`re smart, you are right in every word you said, and you just made me realize where would the world be without the jobs like that?
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 04:49 PM by Fairy Tale~ Fairy Tale~ is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Fairy's Avatar
    I'm inclined to agree. The idea of "being president" is to enforce that, by hard work, dedication, and a decent pair of bootstraps you can do anything in the world. But, really, if anything the economy proves that's not always true. I think normality should be taught more. High school should put more emphasis on life skills, like balancing a check book, purchasing a house, how to prepare a funeral, and where the nearest prenatal care unit is.

    Okay, maybe those are drastic examples, but you get the gist of it. Today, people don't need to become Spacemen or CEOs, they just need to be prepared for the world, workforce, and how to live within one's means.

    And really, being the president is not something anyone can do. With the exception of Obama, you should/need to be white, Christian, straight, male, aged, a graduate, and come from a family that can afford you any opportunity in the world.

    But, you know, the children.
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 05:41 PM by Fairy Fairy is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    Quote:
    Don't just say that being a garbage man is an undesirable job. If you do, I'll just ask why, again. You could say that the job doesn't appeal to you, and that's perfectly fine and understandable, but why does no one dream of being a garbage man? I realize I'm leaving a lot of questions without leaving any answers, so I'm going to take a break from the questions and answer some of the ones I already laid out.
    Because the job isn't really appealing? There's not many ways to cut it. You also gotta deal with garbage. I don't know if the Danes have figured out how to soften the cruddiness of garbage collecting, but I'll tell you I wouldn't want to be a garbage collector in Toronto. It's all supply and demand - the wage differential between a garbage collector with that of a job requiring similar skills is due to having to offer higher wages to attract the otherwise non-existent labour pool willing to do the work.

    You know what works with Denmark? It's not about jobs. It's about class. It's about treating people with dignity because they believe that everybody's in it together. Talking about jobs is just scraping the surface. It's having a healthy appreciation for the community and interdependence between people. Denmark also invests highly in education and public services. You say that certain jobs are impossible for people to get, but that's more true in certain places than others. As a proportion of the total population, the United States has more university graduates but less high school graduates than Denmark. Seems impossible? Think about it for a second.

    So should you encourage kids to strive to be the best? Yes and no. Depends on who you are. Because that's how the American system works. When you win, you win. But there are plenty of losers.
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 06:50 PM by Kanzler Kanzler is online now
  6. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    I sure wouldn't want to be a garbage man. It's a tough job that's physically demanding, which isn't exactly my forte.

    With Denmark having more high school graduates, it just goes to show how much the US is pressuring students to move onto college. It might make more college graduates, but it's leaving the kids that don't do well in school behind and makes them feel like failures. But that's a topic for another day.

    Thanks for the words everyone! This was mainly for myself, but it's nice to know that I'm not typing out gibberish.
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 10:54 PM by Nolafus Nolafus is online now
  7. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    This sounds like the beginning of a D&D thread: I don't think the problem is with pressuring kids to move onto college, it's not preparing them to do so. Is the rest of the world wrong for placing such an emphasis on college education? In that light, America is falling behind. How are people going to have high-skill jobs if they don't have a college education?
    Posted February 13th, 2014 at 11:47 PM by Kanzler Kanzler is online now
  8. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    I think that there's too much of an emphasis on college education. If you were to ask college kids fifty years ago why they went to college, most of them would respond with, "To find out more about myself," or something similar. Ask a college student today the same question, and the answer changes to, "So I can make more money". When did the focus change to money? I'll get back to this later, but for now:

    I don't know about you, but when I was graduating high school, the first question people would ask me is, what college are you going to? It's not only the norm, but it's expected that everyone goes to college. When someone tells me that they didn't go to college, I automatically think that they're somehow dumber than me. It's something that society has drilled in us, and it's almost impossible to change.

    Getting back to the money, I also think there's too much of an emphasis on getting rich. You question how people will get high-level jobs without a college education, but what about people that don't want a high-level job? Do you want to know what my dream is? My dream is to rent an apartment somewhere and wake up each and every day knowing that I'm doing the thing I love. I couldn't care less if I'm dirt poor in future, just as long as I'm happy.

    To sum it all up, I do think there's too much of an emphasis on education. It started to become a problem when everyone started going so that they could make more money. I think that personal happiness is more important than a paycheck, and that no one should have to live in misery and pain simply because their way of thinking doesn't flow the way society wants it to.

    We need garbage men and janitors. We need all these jobs that society wants us to think are "less" than other jobs. Society has us think that the only way to be happy in life is through your work.

    Some people can't get enough of education and absolutely thrive in college. That spectacular for them, and they should go and reach for the top, but it's not for everyone. And that's where I feel like society is failing.
    Posted February 14th, 2014 at 12:58 AM by Nolafus Nolafus is online now
  9. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    What if I put it this way: society isn't failing because it values and promotes higher education, it's failing because it's not preparing its future with the skills necessary to make that dream come true? There is suffering coming from a mismatch between expectations and reality. Instead of changing expectations, why not change reality?

    College can be for most people (if not for everyone, absolutes tend to be difficult cases to make) if people are prepared for it. You seem to take people as they are and society as it is, not what they could be.

    It's not a good idea to pressure someone to do something that they don't want to do, but we have to look at the big picture as well. I think it's naive to neglect the impact of the material world on our ideas, especially the idea of extricating money from happiness. Is our perception all just in our heads, and as long as we "believe" that's what matters? When that job you "love" isn't paying the bills, you might want to consider getting a divorce.

    Let's take another look at Denmark. Why exactly is a garbageman held in the same esteem as a banker or a lawyer? They have one of the highest taxation rates in the world, with plenty of income redistribution. When the minimum wage turns out to be something like $19 USD, you can do anything and be happy. And since there's less inequality between rich and poor, nobody's going to judge you for the job you do.

    We can talk all day about dreams and aspirations and whether they're on target or misguided, but the world is more than what's in our heads. Money matters. Government matters. America will not wake up tomorrow and say "let's make less emphasis on higher education" and people will not be happier even if that's what does happen. Society will not change if inequality is not reduced and if the education system does not get itself in gear - society does not exist in a vacuum.
    Posted February 14th, 2014 at 01:19 PM by Kanzler Kanzler is online now
  10. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    True, very true.

    Denmark also has the government pay for a lot of stuff, hence why the taxes are so high. Denmark also doesn't get a lot of immigrants, so the citizens are happy (happy being a relative term) to pay the taxes knowing that the money is going to fellow Danes.

    I think I got a little off track of what I wanted to say with my last post (serves me right for posting while tired), so let me just clean up my thoughts a little.

    Yes, money matters a lot. It's pretty much what makes the world go round. What I was trying to get at is that it's not the only thing. When I asked people why going to college is important, the most popular answer, by far, was so that you can make more money. When your entire existence and everything you've worked for revolves around making as much money as possible, it just doesn't seem like a good life to me. Some people thrive off of it, but not me.

    What I was trying to get at with my dream, is that I'd much rather be happy and poor, than sad and rich. You're correct though when you say that if your dream doesn't pay the bills, it's probably time for a career change.

    You're right when you say that I take people and reality as it is. I don't want to change people to fit society's box, but rather work with how the people are and find a place in society where they can excel and drive the society forward. In other words, I'd rather play the hand I'm dealt and make it work.

    That's an interesting idea though, with changing reality and not just expectations. I don't think schools are doing the best job at preparing for college. Quite frankly, our education system in the US sucks. If we want to change the future, it has to start in the schools. If we focused more on the student, and less on the tests, I think students will be a lot more successful.
    Posted February 14th, 2014 at 03:58 PM by Nolafus Nolafus is online now
  11. Old Comment
    Kanzler's Avatar
    Quote:
    Yes, money matters a lot. It's pretty much what makes the world go round. What I was trying to get at is that it's not the only thing. When I asked people why going to college is important, the most popular answer, by far, was so that you can make more money. When your entire existence and everything you've worked for revolves around making as much money as possible, it just doesn't seem like a good life to me. Some people thrive off of it, but not me.
    I doubt that you're hitting on what they mean. People can pursue a comfortable standard of living without "revolving around making as much money as possible". Isn't the Bachelor's degree the new high school diploma: the standard for a proper job? That's what happens when you're hurtling towards a knowledge-based economy - more and more jobs will require the skills that a college degree provides. I see it more as survival than acquisition - people go to post-secondary because they don't want to get screwed ten years down the line, not because they want to be the next billionaire. America might have its fair share of greed, but I daresay that most people just want to live better.

    Perhaps it's more so:

    Quote:
    When I asked people why going to college is important, the most popular answer, by far, was so that you can make more money...
    ... to pay the bills, have a car, have a house, raise a child, go on vacation, get the iPhone X, finally renovate the garden shed, and on and on and on. Your middle class, American Dream lifestyle.
    Posted February 14th, 2014 at 04:36 PM by Kanzler Kanzler is online now
  12. Old Comment
    Nolafus's Avatar
    Okay, I think I'm just thinking about it too much. This pretty much summed it up:
    Quote:
    Isn't the Bachelor's degree the new high school diploma: the standard for a proper job?
    I think you just hit the nail on the head with that one. With a knowledge based economy it is necessary, just like you said.
    Posted February 14th, 2014 at 06:50 PM by Nolafus Nolafus is online now
 

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