Round Table Piazza

I once worked at a commercial pizza restaurant for about 7 months. At one point I had worked at every position possible except cashier. I bused tables, cleaned dishes, and answered phone calls. My main role was to make the pizza on the production line. The easiest part of the job was my first couple of weeks where I was learning the ropes and no expectations. Afterward, I was expecting to work the assembly line like a machine. The hours were too long as I worked 2-3 hour shifts but I also got the high-intensity shifts typically the Friday and Saturday nights. The shifts usually went over because closing up shop, and cleaning up always started after closing time. The work may have been brutal, but the atmosphere was dire. A hard lesson I learned is that company culture is important. The work may be dull and tedious but if the people are agreeable and cheerful it will rub off on you. Unfortunately for 90 percent of the people I worked with that wasn’t the case. From a manager who wouldn’t answer a phone call if their shift hadn’t started. That same manager would have others make his break pizza even though that was clearly against the restaurant policy. I came close to quitting because of the prick. Yet that wasn’t the worst of it. One of my co-workers at the time was plain lazy. Always slow to get supplies from the storage room. Slow to make pizza’s and couldn’t be bothered to help you. She worked so slow she almost got me fired because I was blamed for her ineptitude. I don’t know what she is doing now but I bet she is either still working there, or at some other dead end job. You may be wondering if that person is the typical American lazy worker but surprisingly she was an immigrant from Africa. The myth that all immigrants are hard workers is simply not true. Even though she may have been a lazy slob she wasn’t a sexist asshole. There was another prick who was always trying to get into the pants of women even though he had a girlfriend. Somehow the ass got promoted with a sexual harassment lawsuit on his rap sheet. Here I learned that office politics can be complicated and at times make no sense.

All these negative experiences drowned on me. Eventually driving me to quit once new management came in to run the show. Yet despite this, I have an impactful memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I sometimes had the pleasure with working one particular person who was also an immigrant from Africa. She was working two jobs for the benefit of her son and his life. Never complained. Worked harder than she had to. Gave it everything she had in a labor intensive job. I am a hard working guy myself, but I also focused on my personal passion and even though I didn’t like my job I did my best. But watching her showed me another level of motivation. The motivation of working for someone you love. She loved her son so much that I bet if she had to dig crap out of a toilet she would for a paycheck(I forgot the mention I had bathroom cleaning duty as well). Later I would get my first desk job and it truly was a world of difference. I envy those whose first job was such a job. Yet as I look back I appreciate the experiences I gained with working the menial job of the service economy. There are more dangerous jobs, and less glamorous but for most citizens, in the western service economy it is as the restaurant, retailer, and the bar where you find the people working the jobs at the minimum wage mark.

Working at a low skilled low wage job gave me the insight and experience I wouldn’t have been able to gain otherwise. For that, I am truly grateful. It is important to never forget the difficult and monotonous life of the common people. People forget that the median household income in the United States is approx. $45,016. That is it. Mortgage or rent, car, kid expenses, health, education, and any other cost you can think of. People are squeezed and the work they must endure is not ‘pleasant’ either.

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Challenge Yourself

Society has become twisted. A person values their success based on their income, or by the number of people who show interest in their life. You see this with people who are obsessed with having large number of friends particularly on social media. We have allowed a new generation of online celebrities gain unprecedented influence on the world. Not saying they are worse than the gatekeepers of before, but I doubt many understand that with that influence comes responsibilities. No one can doubt their hard word, and the fact their is a market for their talent. These are the artists of our time since, and for the first time ever people who have the ability can easily share their talent with everyone, but in this saturation we can sometimes feel overwhelmed. So like always we look for something or someone to filter through all the material. We take recommendations from friends, bloggers, or institutions we think are credible. I know anyone reading this can think of examples in their personal lives. Without even thinking about it we find ourselves in a repeated cycled checking the same sites, and viewing the same material in an endless loop. We become trapped in this artificial personal bubble.

Which is why when Stumbleupon first became an Internet sensation I thought the purpose was pretty novel. We should challenge ourselves little by little to find something new even if it doesn’t fit our interests. All it takes 10-15 minutes every couple of days to have that resolve to pick up that random book or read that random online forum. Yes you may be challenged, or bored, but you may also find something beautiful and new. We often place too much importance on individuals who seem god like. Weather it be the athlete who can run a 4.2 second forty yard dash , the artist who can paint, or the writer who produces literature. We tend to often forget they are humans just like us who sleep, eat, pee, cry, and laugh. We become fixed on living our lives through others that we begin to lose sight of what is real and precious. Later this becomes a reality where the artificial no longer matches the reality. That fiction is preferred over the non-fiction. My lesson to you is to learn from your hero’s but do not idolize them. We place too much focus on what something means, or what the proper interpretation of book, movie, television show should be and not enough time just “experiencing” and taking in your own opinion or inner thoughts. I say this as someone who has devoted most of their life with the fundamental belief that there is a way to break down everything in our world into basic facts or principles. That our world can be like a chemistry book, and what we do not understand is because we have yet to discover it. All I ask is how can we have people who watch Netflix all day, and such that it becomes a strong focal point of their existence. Eat, sleep, work, reproduce, and die.

Do we solely exist so that the society can be productive? So that the desires of humanity can be focused into the capitalistic culture humanity has created? The message is clear we exist to consume, and keep the wheels of the money making machine turning. How long can this last? Where has the pride gone? The value of work? Of relationships? Of building something greater than yourself? Using creativity to share, and cherish. Contributing to society instead of merely consuming. Perhaps that society has never existed. For human existence has been always filled with inequality. Better minds than mine have attacked this problem, and the best answer I’ve seen is that some vague solution will appear, and people will realize it is time to “move on” to the best alternative for us all. What kind of answer is that? That’s no answer at all. I am not asking for perfection, because I don’t even know what that is. Frankly anyone who claims to have that answer do not know what they are talking about. I am just asking the questions we all have, but we hide from each other because we want to give the illusion we know what we are doing. People so easily forget that they are mortal , and potentially living a life without worth. Our dreams, and goals just like our genetics are inherited. In some form we are just mere copies of each other. We have basic needs, but we all address them differently. At one point the universe came from a singular point we are all interconnected, we feel alone, but we are not alone. Past, present, and future is all intertwined. I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. Surprisingly it doesn’t scare me, but instead is the fuel that keeps me going. I promised myself I wouldn’t regret any action I took in life, but when ever my life does end I feel I will have one dying regret: That I never found all the answers I was looking for.