What Am I? Some Kind of Slave?

I was working today for about nine hours at my current place of employment.  It’s called BI-Lo at the Beach and it’s quite a crazy place.  It’s this supermarket located in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I’m cashiering there right now.  It could be better and it could be worse, but most notably, it could be better.  It’s just I wonder about the older people working there.  They’ve worked at jobs like this their whole lives, always having to succumb to the demands of a domineering overseer just so they can afford the rent on their trailer and make it another month without declaring bankruptcy.  I just feel bad for them.  How come they live like that and accept that this is the way life has to be?  Because, most likely, their parents did the same thing, and their parents before them, and on through all the generations.  It’s sad, really.  It’s what they refer to in psychology as generational poverty. 

And they work, sometimes two, three jobs just to pay for their children to have food and inadequate shelter, never knowing when their income could be turned off by a minor mental mistake at the office.  Maybe “office” isn’t the right word.  I think I have a better one.  Plantation.  A group of people doing mindless, tedious, repetitive labor for inadequate shelter and low quality food.  Does that not sound like slavery to you?  Sure, you could argue that they could choose not to work, but where would that leave them?  Jobless, homeless, and possibly hairless (if they can’t afford their Hair Club for Men membership).  It’s just something that they have to do.  And it’s so hard to get out.  How many times do you hear of some poor kid getting into Harvard with a 1600 on his SATs?  Maybe once, twice a decade, if that.  But you hear so many stories about the poor people who remain poor and live poor for the rest of their natural lives, like they’re not good enough to experience lavish decorations, chandeleers, or winter skiing trips in Aspen. 

Money:  the necessary evil.  Money can turn people into animals.  It can force people to go against everything they feel is right and justified.  But when a man is offered one million dollars a year to work as a CEO in the tobacco companies, how could he possibly say no?  Because everyone wants money.  And when they get money, they want more.  They use it to feel secure.  But no matter how much money they get, no matter how secure they feel, they want more of both.  And it becomes an obsession. 

One of the big perks of having a lot of money is FREEDOM.  The freedom to do whatever you want, with no one holding you down.  Not even the man.  Just imagine waking up, going to anywhere you want to go, buying anything you want to buy, having anything you want to have.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  But how can someone who makes minimum wage, working his or her entire life, ever expect to do that?  It’s not possible.  A job is the devil.  You trade your time for money.  It’s not logical.  You only have so much time.  But you can make millions of dollars.  Look at all the millionaires.  Do you think any of them have an hourly salary?  I doubt it.  It’s all about finding opportunities outside the realm of a job, where you are employed under some company with some guy telling you how to live your life wihout your opinion ever being considered seriously.  Now, I’m not saying quit your job or anything, but use the time you have, the extra five or six hours a day you’re not working, and do what you love, what you’re passionate about.  Don’t waste your time watching TV, or zoning out drinking alcohol or doing drugs.  It’s just stupid.  Develop your passionate skills into a competency and use them eventually to make lots of money not as an employee, but as an entrepreneur.  That is a strategy that has made hundreds of people millions of dollars.  And it can work for you too.

 I’m tired of looking at people who work these insanely boring jobs, like the one I’m doing now, and ask them, “What did you want to be before “this” happened?”  It’s just so demoralizing. And these stories about how they can never make ends meet.  It’s depressing and that’s all they ever think about.  So they attract those sort of things into their life.  You are what you think.  I know I’m not the first to say that, but it’s true.  I’ll close with a story about the working poor I experienced today:

I was at my register and these two very rugged-looking women approached my cash register.  They had a bunch of groceries and I knew, without them saying a word, that they were using food stamps to pay.  Of course, when I finished scanning the order, they paid with their EBT card.  Then one of the women says to the other, “Hey, can you get me a carton of cigarettes over at customer service?”  That thirty dollars spent on the wastefulness of cigarettes could have been spent on something that made them both happy.  Instead, they chose to sink down into an addictive habit that consumes most of the poverty-stricken population.  Until next time, dream your life, then live your dreams.

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