Dictionary.com defines menial as: “lowly and sometimes degrading.” In my mind, this instantly makes the term “menial work” an oxymoron. Do read on…
I have a number of friends who work in positions outside of corporate America’s nine-to-five office jobs. In fact, I have several friends who clean those offices, and the bathrooms in those offices. I have friends who are store clerks, cooks, baristas, stock clerks, and a whole variety of other positions. (Me? I’m a college student, and I make greeting cards; let’s just say Hallmark is in no danger from my little business, and I’m not racing up any corporate ladders.)
I’ve had a bee in my bonnet for some time now, and I’m going to share it with you in hopes that it bothers you as much as it does me, or even more – and that your annoyance leads to something positive.
It breaks my heart – and some days annoys the spit out of me – when I see or hear someone bemoaning their “menial” job or feeling/acting/talking as though they are somehow “less than” because they don’t have a corner office with a view making a 6-figure income. And it bothers me exponentially more when I hear someone else talking about others as though the other person’s job makes that person “less than.”
Let’s set the record straight, shall we? Here’s the deal: you matter. Your life matters. And, yes. Your work matters. Imagine a world with no cashiers, no cooks, no housekeeping services, no support staff (please feel free to insert whatever it is you do in this list). Seriously?! It doesn’t work. That means it doesn’t work … WITHOUT YOU. Not everyone can be the boss. In fact, I know Someone Who would agree. God tells us we’re all part of one body; not all parts can be an ear or a hand or an eye; we need all kinds of parts for things to work (1 Cor. 12:14-21). And check this out:
“…the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Cor. 12:22-26).
You’re working. You’re doing something with your life. You’re making an effort. So very many people don’t bother. You’re doing the stuff. You’re taking care of business, tending to your needs and (if appropriate) the needs of your family. You’re not sitting around moaning and groaning and feeling sorry for yourself while you wait for Publisher’s Clearinghouse to come knock on your door and hand you a free pass for the rest of your life.
Understand this: Everyone appreciates what you do. Even those who occasionally, accidentally or not, influence you to feel like you are less than you are, or that what you do is less than what they do. They’re just either having a bad day or, worst of all, ignorant and closed-minded. They DO need you. We all do.
So, thank you for showing up, day after day or night after night, working hard for less than you deserve, and contributing to our society. Hold your head high and feel good about every single cent you’re earning the hard way.