We need industry and the jobs that (still) come with it but maybe I’m glad I left the factory decades ago and then after less than a year. Being stuck on the factory floor was no life for me. But for a beginning job the pay was relatively good and I did have some health insurance with it. And I should not have left the way I did. I just left. But I used my GI bill and took some journalism classes, became a reporter (finished my college work years later).
But that factory was hard work. And unlike the small newspapers I worked at no one ever made me feel that my job was not important. This was in what most people just called “the mill”. It was a lumber re-manufacturing facility. We made the parts for the now old-time fruit lug boxes (yeah a box factory) as well as molding strips for construction. I remember during an orientation a plain-talking no-nonsense mill manager said: “some of you might find yourself sweeping the floor and think that your job is not important — that’s a bunch of bologna sausage (he really said that); we wouldn’t have hired you if it was not important”. And I guess a Republican might say that is the difference between the private sector and the public sector.
But what made me think about all this is that I was talking to a handy man in the apartment complex where I live and he was telling me about the factory he worked in before his present job. He told about 12-hour rotating shifts and about being left out on the line by another employee who decided he wanted to goof off. The stuff kept coming and he could not keep up.
Heck I had help and could not keep up at times. Machines are relentless. They never tire. They just keep spitting stuff out at you. And being cooped up in a building all day long is not for me anyway. Where I worked the sun beat down on the metal roof in the summer and sawdust got all into your clothing and stuck to your sweat-drenched skin.
But it was honest work. It was work and even then not everyone had work, even those who wanted it.
But the stuff I did at the small newspapers was work too. But I enjoyed it for the most part. But too much of a good thing can be work too. And it was not always enjoyable because one person can only write so much and that one person likes to go home now and then and visit the family but in that kind of work there are no regular hours and for the most part overtime rules don’t apply or if and when they do they are ignored. But the worst of all is that in the small time they actually see you as necessary but bothersome overhead. I’m talking small newspapers often run by small-minded people or big corporations that operate them as cash cows. No wonder so many have gone out of business. The same attitude affected some of the bigger publications (just some). And the internet has changed everything.
And I have just discovered something to add onto what I just wrote concerning changes in journalism but I’ll save it for further down in this post.
But I did not mean to go into all that.
Another thing that got me thinking along these lines is the conversation I had with my dental hygienist. She said that she and her husband want to move somewhere else where they think they could have a more suitable lifestyle. They are not sure what the job prospects would be where they want to move (and we are not talking big city, just the opposite). But I’m thinking like I think they are: settle where you want to live and make it work. No job can take the place of that.
I did not originally aspire to be a newspaper reporter. I just wanted to write. I was thinking more along the lines of novelist. Who knows? I just might write a novel sometime. But I think the secret to writing is to write. And the secret to writing novels is to write one. People who are meant to do it do it.
And one should do what he or she is meant to or what he or she would like to do if at all possible.
Okay, so I settled for truck driving for survival. And it has indeed sustained me. And there is a lot of independence hour by hour (by hour by hour….).
But, whatever, we need those factory jobs, even if automation is taking over. Technology is even moving into the heretofore protected world of the so-called cerebral jobs and professions.
I think we are destroying our own humanity.
I suppose that if the machines and computers take over that will free us all up to do what we want to do if we know what we want to do or if there will be anything left to do.
And now that thing I discovered: I had mentioned the fact the internet changed journalism. Well some people apparently think that it is obsolete, that social media makes it unnecessary. I just lifted the following paragraph out of a publication (to which I will give full credit at the bottom):
But here is what one man thinks:
With the rise of social media and the internet, journalists are becoming irrelevant. After all social media has made everybody a journalist. We no longer need for journalists to act as a middle man and report what someone said or what event may have happened. With social media we get it straight from the horses mouth (sic). No journalistic comments are required or even welcomed. We are now in a position of having to make up our own mind. And that is scary for people who run on a high level of emotion. They are used to someone telling them how to think. (By Larry Oscar) full article: http://haulproduce.com/2017/zinger-8/
Well okay, I say, if you want to wade through the hodgepodge of items (including posts like my own) and decide what is true and what is not or what makes sense and what does not without any gatekeepers and fact checkers and with computer hackers filling the web with fake news and put up with the illiteracy that further confuses communication, have fun — not for me. We do need responsible journalism, though. And it is indeed helpful to have access, especially video, to what the professionals do — if makes us more aware and keeps the professionals honest. But we need journalism still I believe.
Oh, by the way Larry, my own spell check just reminded me that what is displayed in your article as horses mouth should be horse’s mouth (possessive), but we know what you meant.