Recently I was walking down the 18th fairway at a golf course. Recently this course had hosted an event in which TV coverage was provided, along with it, all the grandeur of a VENUE: including everything from tents, stands, electronic scoreboards and porta-potties. Since this event was over ( as I wouldn’t be playing in any event ON TV, I was watching a large group of men disassembling one of the massive temporary structures they had built only a few weeks ago. You’ve no doubt seen them if you have ever watched golf on TV. They can be a simple as rows of seats on scaffolding or as complicated as a house with rooms, roofs, electricity, and hot/cold water.
If you have ever been privy to seeing these structures go up and down, its rather amazing. They are all just metal poles, nuts and bolts and plywood…all wrapped in green or white fabric with a hundred million zip ties.
Most of these guys where shouting to each other in Spanish so I imagine they were all hispanic laborers, either hired for the job, or they travel from venue to venue setting these tent cities up and down all over. The thing that struck me was that I imagine most of them make little more than laborer wages but when you consider what they are building, its pretty important that they do it right. These scaffolds hold thousands of people..at one time. Take the plastic skin off these structures and they aren’t much underneath but a skeleton of poles. No wonder they cover them up.
My point in describing this to you is that I thought about the work these men do for under 20 bucks an hour likely is going to support the lives of several thousand people and absolutely none of them will give a thought to who built this structure they are standing on. They assume it will hold them safely and not collapse. These laborers built a structure thats going to hold CEO’s in a corporate tent, people who make a zillion times more money than they do. Generally, society puts value on the CEO. I think we need to put some value on the laborer who spend hours in the sun building something that he is going to stand on and not fall thru 30 feet to the ground.
So I pose the question. Does our value or worth come from our income? No, of course not. IN fact I propose that some of our most important people aren’t the ones who are sitting in a leather chair in a corner office shuffling papers and barking orders, but the guy who is doing most of the work unnoticed and unrewarded. Put aside the laborers who built the scaffolding for a minute. Who are you surrounded by that probably goes rather unnoticed that probably you couldn’t do without?
I look at my staff in the pharmacy. I make good money and I know it. I earned my wages by obtaining my degree in Pharmacy. My techs did not. They don’t make good money, but you know what? they work so unbelievably hard to help my patients that if I could pay them my wages I would. They put in a supreme effort to make the pharmacy that I manage look “easy”. Without them I am nothing. With them I am successful . We make a team. Sometimes my customers look down on “just” a tech, but if they realized how much I depended on their efforts, they might look at them differently. 75% of the work in the pharmacy is done by the techs. There is 1 of me and 3 of them. They are so valuable to me that I routinely let them know. I never want them to feel unappreciated or undervalued. Each year I treat them to a bonus that is probably majorly frowned upon by corporate. I don’t care. The company never rewards their labors…so I do.
The next time you see a man in a thousand dollar suit, remember the man who sewed it. Or when you pull out of your driveway , remember the tech who adjusted your brakes, or when you sit before that plate of food at a restaurant, think about the cook who made it. The next time I watch a golf tournament on TV Ill certainly think about the guys who spent a month or more getting it ready for the guy in the thousand dollar suit… who drives to the course… to sit and eat that plate of food he didn’t make…