Don’t Worry. Be Happy.
Memo to self: Take better notes.
Then again, I stayed awake through two nights of Democratic debates this week. I ought to get some credit for that.
And I didn’t throw anything. Extra credit.
So I apologize for not having an exact quote to go with this post. I can’t find a video clip of the portion of the debate I want to discuss and have only illegible, second-glass-of-wine notes. No, you can’t see them. They look like they were scribbled by a badger.
I can remember what Kamala Harris said on Wednesday night because I almost spilled my drink as I leapt to my feet the minute she uttered it.
She was yammering on about her health-care plan, which she couldn’t explain and which the other candidates were shredding. Then she said something like this:
I know too many Americans who are in jobs they don’t like in order to keep their health insurance.
Oh, please. Here we go, I thought.
If Harris has her way, Americans may suddenly have a brand new “right”.
To an enjoyable job.
I hesitate to point this out to the former prosecutor from California, but lots of Americans stay at jobs they don’t like for a host of reasons: To support their families. To pay their bills. To live in a good school district. And yes, to keep their health insurance.
It’s called being responsible.
You get a job. You work hard. You quit when you get a better one.
Those of us who have jobs we enjoy are lucky. Many folks simply endure theirs. They find fulfillment outside of the workplace.
Besides, if everyone loved their jobs country song writers would be out of material.
Take my parents’ next-door neighbor, for instance. He was a roofer. First time I met him I stupidly asked if he “liked” what he did for a living.
He looked at me like I was insane.
“Oh yeah ,” he said sarcastically, “I love climbing on hot asphalt roofs in the summer and on freezing roofs in the winter. I like being one step away from a fall that could kill or paralyze me. It’s a lot of fun.”
He was a roofer because it paid well and he was good at it.
Likewise, my grandfather was the janitor at the Ocean Spray Cranberry plant in Bordentown, NJ. I never met him because he dropped dead of a heart attack - at the plant - while my mother was pregnant with me.
Did my grandfather die happy as he mopped the floor? Doubt it. It was a job, not a career.
On the other hand, I’m pretty sure he liked the paycheck. It kept a roof over his head, that of my grandmother and their handicapped daughter.
During the Depression my grandfather had lost not only his job but also the family home for back taxes. The notion of an “enjoyable” job was probably foreign to him. He was just grateful to have work.
So are lots of Americans who have full-time jobs in this robust economy. Especially after suffering through a recession and sluggish recovery. If the newly employed have health insurance too, it’s a bonus.
Employers offer perks - including good health coverage - as a way to attract good employees and keep them. A recent Gallup poll showed that 80 percent of workers were happy with their company-sponsored healthcare.
People like Harris, who have never worked in the private sector, discount this.
At their peril.