Be good to yourself. People will only treat you as well as you treat yourself. ~ M. V. Hansen

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Working to Live - When Will It Stop?

I dread the days when I have to get up and go to work that I do not love. I thought part-time teaching would be good for me; alas, it's not. When you earn a little over $3 per hour while "performing" for a bunch of rude and lazy kids, the motivation to teach wanes. If only they were poor and diligent, it would have been a different story. But these college students I've been dealing with since June this year have just been an additional responsibility that I intend not to keep after the first semester ends. Not all are bad, of course. There are also those who have somehow managed to make me laugh with their funny and witty remarks. However, they are just a few good ones.

Working to survive causes much stress.
Moreover,  I hate the paperwork that teaching entails. I'm okay with reading and writing down notes and even making exams. But when it comes to checking, calculating, and recording of grades, I really need a big push to just get them done and over with. These tasks, unfortunately, are mostly done outside of school hours, robbing teachers valuable time to spend with their loved ones. More sadly, these are unpaid "work" hours. I couldn't help but admire those who sacrificed personal time for the sake of their students and the school where they belonged. Only the Divine knows how to reward them for their heroic and selfless acts.

Much as I want to follow their footsteps, however, I couldn't do so. At 37, I've resolved not to stay pretentious or hypocritical when it comes to work. I have to admit that I am one of the millions (or billions) of people who only work because they need money to survive and to support their families. It's not a happy existence. Meaningful? Depends on how one defines it.

I see work as "meaningful" if it's both beneficial to the worker and those whose lives he/she influences or affects because of the job. Teaching is supposed to do that for me. I may have touched or inspired one or two students, but I couldn't deny how I feel about the whole thing.

When will workers be freed from the clutches of profit-driven capitalists?
It seems that the only people who are protected from exploitation are business owners themselves. That should be the case though since they own the capital to support business operations. Yet, how can these people expect their workers to render quality work if they reward them with a measly sum? How can they expect their workers not to express dissatisfaction when they see their bosses purchasing one property or two, yet they could not even raise their salaries? I won't be surprised if employers say, "That's our money! We can do what we want with it!" Still, that doesn't erase the fact that they are being unfair when it comes to compensating employees who have been enabling them to acquire more wealth.

The teaching gig is just one of the jobs I've had. I left a state university over a year ago because I could no longer stand dealing with egoistic professor bosses who had no qualms about stabbing me at the back in spite of what I have done. I hate the face-time approach and prefer being results-oriented. However, when one works for an organization, quasi-personal politics like creeping in. There will always be people who'll fabricate stories or would squeal "secrets" just to make themselves look good to their superiors and co-employees. Unluckily, I've always been a target of this kind of people even when I've chosen to limit my interactions with them.

I yearn for the time when these work struggles will be over. Life is too short to be spent this way. I don't want to die without even experiencing how it is to live to work and serve others with much sincerity and not because of survival. I hope my daughter will be strong enough to handle these storms which are aggravated by a materialistic human-made economic system that has the ability to kill a person's humane side. I pray that her life would be less financially troubled, if not nil. And yes, that she will have a job that she'd love to do so that she'd enjoy each work day.

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