A Stigma Attached to the Work We Do


What we do reflects who we are. Or so, we’ve been led to believe. 

Nobody grows up wanting to be a janitor. There’s no shame in being a janitor, but that’s not a dream job. That’s s something you fall into because you need a job and the bills are overdue.  And many of us would  shy away from telling friends and family that we sweep up floors and clean up bathrooms for a living.  It’s one of those jobs that’s looked down upon.  No skills or education needed, just an able body.

I’ve been embarrassed to tell people I worked as an administrative assistant (when I did).  Again, it’s one of those jobs people don’t dream of becoming, but fall into because they need a job.  It’s not the right job, it’s a job right now.  And who wants to admit they’re doing something they hate or don’t enjoy for a living?

We judge ourselves as we let others judge us, as if we’re saying to the world: “I didn’t dream big enough” or “I didn’t try as hard”.  There’s a stigma attached to what we do for work because it defines where we live, who our neighbors are, where our kids go to school, where we shop and what we buy, who we associate with and what we do for leisure.  A job defines more than our title. It defines the parameters of our lives.

The picture caption above talks about respect across the board regardless of one’s position. Why is it that the CEO assumes more respect than the janitor? Who is more valuable?  Who works harder?


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