Has Austin lost touch with it's work ethic?
There was a time where the work force of America was the strongest in the world. Labor used to be well paid, well respected and the country as a whole took pride in the manufacturing power of America. Now all our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and we’ve become a consumerist culture. Where is our work ethic? Is it gone for good?
The bizarre truth is that the modern American worker, including here in Austin is overworked and underpaid. We work long shifts, with poorly enforced break periods and no overtime. In the past environments like this would be the foundation for union formations, or company wide walkouts. Today workers feel powerless to make change and even unworthy of it. It’s true that in comparison to most other countries US workers work substantially more, but our work is less profitable because we don’t manufacture anything. American workers spend all their time in a cubicle trying to avoid work on Facebook, then once every hour they do enough work to not get in trouble. Nobody is going to form a union around the right to update your status more often, we don’t feel worthy of extra pay or fewer hours and we may not be.
Is the media and pop culture to blame? Is our constant bombardment of entertainment finally beginning to take its toll on our society? Or is the entertainment industry a reflection of our own degrading interest in reality? Do we create distracting media because we want our attention to be pulled from hum drudgery or is the media really some zombie virus dumbing down the work force?
Addiction is described as substance dependence. That substance can be anything; it simply needs to hold such power over someone that they can not control themselves when in it’s presence. Is it possible our country is developing an addiction to social media and entertainment? I’ve met people here in Austin that are “addicted” to video games, they would spend all their time at work talking about the games they are currently playing, when they get off work they would rush home to play then they would play for hours on into the night and lose track of time to the point they wouldn’t get proper amounts of sleep and would perform badly at work, or even miss work all together. It sounds funny but its 100 percent true and we all have had those Netflix marathons where we watch an entire television series in one sitting when we know that we had piles of work to do.
There is a war going on in our minds. America has this disease where we honestly think we should be working constantly but we slack off because in our minds it’s ok because were constantly working. The result is we get no work done, all the while slipping into a deeper sort of depression at how much work we should be getting done and how much more we could be doing. How did the previous generation work soo hard and build such a rich powerful country and we’ve been left with no idea how to continue? What has changed?
The new generations of Americans are more preoccupied with being cool. Now instead of leaders in science and production we think only about culture. American’s are now trendsetters, we want to be the best at dancing, or partying, we want to look the best. The new American dream is how can you become rich and famous by doing the least amount of work as possible. I mean we worship celebreality, we make people like Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton famous for being famous. The mere concept of that is highly illogical and frankly upsetting as a person who envies and covets a strong work ethic.
Unfortunately I do not know the road to recovery, are we beyond repair? No, there is always time to fix our mistakes. I also don’t think we have to discard our identities in order to become a strong country; the answer isn’t us becoming some country of communist industry like China either. I just think we can find a way to embrace our work once again. We can take pride in our work and American production and then we can begin to change the atmosphere of work again, we can rend power away from the fortune 500 and these mega conglomerates that send production overseas and gouge our wages. We can be the cool and productive country starting here in Austin, we just need to shift our value off our selves and onto what we make, whether that is entertainment or industry. We need to take pride in our work or well never get back our powerful work ethic.
Food for thought Austin!