Monday, March 16, 2009

We Get It Wrong Too Often

I was reading another friend's blog and he had a link to this fantastic talk from Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy.

This got me thinking about my calling at Church. I am the Elders Quorum employment guy. I am supposed to help people find jobs. Which is weird, because I have never looked for one. I have either started my own business or worked with my dad.

In that talk, Mike Rowe mentions that trade schools - for plumbers, electricians, welders, carpenters, etc. - have had dwindling enrollment for years. But I would bet that law schools, MBA programs (like the one I just finished), and other things like that have had more graduates each year for a long time. Mike says we have declared war on work. And he is right.

Last fall, I was at a Steven R. Covey speech for the DFW Chapter of the BYU Management Society. He said something I have never forgotten:
Retirement is an apostate principle invented by Satan.
Said another way, whoever doesn't work is dead. And all kinds of work need to be glorified, not just the glamorous stuff.

There are a lot of smart, educated people in my ward, and I only know of one who is training to be a plumber. The thing is, he may have made a shrewd decision. The infrastructure in this country is in bad shape in a lot of ways. His skills will still be in demand long after those of us with more education have had to switch careers fifteen different times.

In the 1930s, the Church Welfare Program was instituted:
to set up, insofar as possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of the dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift, and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as a ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership.” (Conference Report, October 1936, p. 3; see link here.)
This is partially a self-indictment, but everyone today wants to be a big wig; they want to be CEOs, big lawyers, or have political power so they can be rich and famous and then they won't have to work. CEOs, lawyers, and politicians have a role, but it is secondary. They (we) need to have a broader view of what their self interest is.

Joseph Smith put it (approximately) this way:
Self-aggrandizement is a true principle. But it can only be exercised on one plan or principle: that you seek to lift others first.
If today's cultural vanguard in business, politics, or the media acted on that principle, they would be far more wealthy than they are now.

(Cross-posted at my other blog.)

1 comment:

Austin said...

Amen! The Covey quote is particularly compelling.