Monday, August 31, 2009

Am I Walking The Wrong Path

In my reading about Henry Thoreau, Ellery Channing, Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others of the like, I can't help but wonder if I am walking the wrong path. For years now I have been trying to get another writing gig however, it has not happened. I've been turned down for one reason or another even when a couple of publications asked for me to write something. One magazine even sent out a photographer for a photo shoot and I was assured my article would be in their spring issue; never happened. This is not the only thing I am in wondering about.

This line from Walter Harding in his book about Henry Thoreau caused me pause, he wrote: "Even those who had cold-shouldered him and denounced him for years as a ne'er -do-well began beating a path to his door with birds' nests or flowers or Indian relics in their hands and questions on their lips." Now my birds' nests and flowers and Indian relics are not the same as Thoreaus were but instead other more modern birds' nests flowers and Indian relics. I do abhor when a third party asks a question on a problem which is put to me and I don't even get the credit. Such is life and you learn to live with it. Sort of like working for someone else earning a meager wage while the employers reap all the rewards. Your working and sweating and making things happen and the owners are buying new cars, homes, planes, boats and going on several vacations each year. You the worker make the industries hum with your back breaking labors hoping to get noticed and move up in the company while the owners green behind the ears kids get it all without earning it. They get it only because they are...well because they are their kids. I left a company just like that after over a decade of service because of something just like that, only the kids friends were put in higher positions right off the street because, as you guessed it, they were friends of the kid.

Bronson Alcott was before his time in the ways of learning and teaching in several schools of his day. He was introducing students to science and music and other subjects that were considered useless at the time. These ideas he had was one of the biggest problems of his being able to hold a job. The powers that be thought these things to be less important. They were more of today's thinking of the "NO child left behind" program in schools today. As long as the students pass the tests nothing else matters. These are false results as these kids today are not really being taught anything other than what is crammed in for test time. You see, Alcotts ideals came of age and now it is being shelved yet again. Not every child is geared to be the owner of a large company, or a boss, lawyer or Doctor and so on. Our school system is teaching that unless you procure a large salary job then you are less, nothing, nobody and loser.
It turns my stomach that most of these kids in college are there for only one thing. That is to party, drink, live large, pretend to be all that and independent all on mothers and fathers dime. It's play time to put off what is heading towards scores of them like a steamroller of reality when mom and dad are not there to pick up the tab any longer. They feel it is beneath them to do any actual laborious job. They all want to be living in the big fat house driving the big fat cars with the big fat paychecks. They don't give a darn that most their parents mortgaged their homes, stole into their savings and did without so the kid could be an uppity man/daughter of the world. These kids expect to go into a job at the top not working their way up with actual work.

This is not anything new as it was the same when Alcott and Thoreau were teaching in the 1800's. Most of what Thoreau himself was being taught at Harvard he found useless to large degree. The reasons above are likened to those days of long ago past teaching criteria that led Thoreau, and others like him to start they're own short lived schools. Thoreau himself could not find employment long in others schools so he struck out on his own. He took kids out into the fields and woods to teach many times real world lessons.

Most people today just put to much into having possessions, bigger, better, newer stuff to put in their bigger better homes. Things that keep them working harder and longer to keep up with others around them. Debt, debt and more debt. Spending has it rewards but not for the card holder. I wonder if they know their trying to keep up with the Jones' who are trying to keep up with the Smiths' to not be outdone and it's all an illusion.

I think I need a walk in the woods.


FLHX_Dave said...

Oh man! I feel much better now. I was starting to feel like I was majorly f'ed up here.

You are dead on here on all points. I have been the employer and the employee. Either way I never became wealthy becaused I cared too much about people. One of my employees makes more than I do because I recognize his contributions even though it hurts me.

Every generation has to learn the hard lessons on it's own. Each thinks it can out do the previous...only to find out by history each generation has been there and done that.

I don't have much, seriously. No tv, no internet at my house, but I have to say it has been the most rewarding and eye opening experience for me. I will never go back to the envy years.

Being myself is reward enough. Being content with less has been a treasure. Doing my own thing, right or always the right thing.

Your path is true as far as this turd is concerned.

WooleyBugger said...


You make some good points in your views here.
It is the small businessman/woman who keep getting the shaft as it were. Counties and States say they want to help the small business person but who do they shell out the big bucks for? Why big industries that get huge incentives to move to a particular town. Who pays out this money to the big corps? We and the small business owners who in some cases get shafted when say, a big box store moves to town.

My own Pop had his own business from 1960 until only a short fiew years ago. He treated all his employees well and most treated him the same. But then a couple embezzled and stole in other ways which hurt his bottom line. They were making underhanded secret deals with clients all while using Pops buildings, equipment and company cars so they had no overhead, they used Pops behind his back. Pop had this sharpe as a tack new secretary who uncovered the mess and blew the whistle.

We weren't rich but we did do well and Pop worked long hard hours, days and weeks. So much so that he didn't have much time to actually enjoy much or restore his antique car he had even before I was born.

Sorry, that was an extremely long response. Should have made that another post.

"Joker" said...

There are a hell of a lot more people out there who could do with a walk in the woods. The problem is for most of them it wouldn't help, and that's sad.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sits sometimes and wonders just how and why there are so many people out there who just can't see the forest through the trees.

Many think that because I'm a conservative I don't care about people. That hurts sometimes, but I have always believed that the easiest way to decide what side of the political fence you're on is to decide whether or not you agree with this old saying from Lao Tzu, the founder of taoism:

"Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime"

I don't think it's any secret I believe this is my base for all my views, because it can be analagous to so many life questions. But, it is hard to live your life based on this in a world so corrupt with shallow, self-centered characters who are oblivious to the meaning of the word merit. I often wonder how many people would make great actors/actresses, but will never have the chance because their mother or father isn't already on Hollywood's "A" list.

It's hard to cling to the belief that I myself or countless other "regular joe's" out there who could be fantastic public servants, but will never serve because their last name isn't Kennedy and they don't have an extra 5 million dollars around to run for office. When I look back at some of the people I have reported to in the workplace over the last 28 years I cringe. It seemed to me the more incompetent and scatter-brained a person was, the quicker they became the boss.

I once worked for a father-and-sons plumbing company. What a disaster that was. The sons of course could do no wrong, and when something got screwed up me or one of the other guys must be to blame. Needless to say I didn't last long in that shop.

Another time when I was a shithead shuffling papers in a white-collar sweat shop, foolishly thinking I could "work my way up," I had a manager who called me in to his office one day to go over a report I'd prepared for him. It was basically a cost analysis I did on my own when I noticed a few things that to me seemed to be costing the company money. I was trying to earn some points with initiative, and hoped to be praised for coming up with a way to make procedural changes that would increase efficiency and cut costs. I sit down in his office and he says to me:

"Well, this is very interesting. Tell me, if you were a manager, what would you do with this information?"

I was shocked. It was as if he was in charge of a department, but had no idea at all as to what his employees did for 8 hours a day. Yet, this was a guy who once asked me if I'd ever been in the Army because he noticed I "drank a lot of coffee." I walked out of that sit-down like I'd been kicked in the teeth. The only satisfaction I got was his incompetence did catch up with him, and he was fired. I heard through the grapevine that because I had reported this incident to the VP, it was used as part of the big bosses' ammo to get rid of the idiot. Nothing was ever done about my report though; they just blew it off.

I don't want my kids to think it's all about money, but I would like to hope they realize it's about power. Even if they're not rich, I'd like to hope they can find a way to be paid to do something they love that someone above them won't get all the credit for. I hope they have the power to control their own destinies rather than be at the mercy of some Devil who wears Prada. That's why I can relate so much to Dave. He may not have much, but he's happy. He's the master of his own fate, and to me, that's priceless.

Sorry this was so long, but it was a great post I just had to ring in on.

WooleyBugger said...

Ring in all you want Joker, and I can identify with most all that you have said here.
I remember when I was trying to work my way up from the bottom and was making pretty good headway. What got me was when another employees brother was in college and he'd work summers with us in the warehouse. The company hired him right out of school and put him where? Right above me. Now I never minded having a younger boss as some people do, but only if they know their job. This guy did not know shit and I had to teach him his job. He would sit in his office most the day talking to his friends about going out to party after work or yakking with his girlfriend. I was not the only one fed up with his antics like being out all night, coming to work and sleeping in his office with the door closed telling the secretary he had a migraine not to mention his coke habit. It pissed me off when he bought a nice house after a year and all I could afford was an apartment with my brother.
It's alright though as I out stayed most short term bosses and became the warehouse manager after years of work. The only reason I left that place was because I married someone from another state and she did not want to move to my state.

Sorry, my post response went no where and every where didn't it.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Great post and responses all! I thoroughly enjoy reading blogs like yours; ones that stretch the neurons.

If I may make a suggestion, when you go on your walk in the woods, take a little reading material. Maybe something by Ayn Rand?

WooleyBugger said...

RazorsEdge2112, Hey Thanks. I should put a link to you in my side bar.
Ayn Rand, interesting, she has an extensive literary of fiction and non fiction. Where would you suggest I start?

WooleyBugger said...
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