April 22, 2024

I had a tete-a-tete recently with a friend who was deciding on whether to take a job offer abroad that paid better wages compared to what he is receiving here in our beautiful archipelago of delicious coconuts and smiling carabaos.

“So, what’s the problem?” I asked my friend who seemed troubled. He said the job abroad was menial and quite demeaning as compared to the clerical work he is currently engaged in. Again, the job abroad that he disparagingly described in unflattering terms paid more than four times what he is getting in our political dynasty-ruled land.

I reminded him of what my late father always tells me that there is dignity in honest labor. I told my friend that as long as the work is honest, moral, and does not hurt anybody, then it should not be considered as “degrading” no matter how “menial” he thinks it is. There is no such thing as a “menial” job, only a “menial” person, I told him.

I reminded him that what is truly degrading are supposedly glamorous and prestigious positions that are used to harm people or steal from them. Just look at some of our so-called honorable politicians who use their lofty positions to enrich themselves and their families. They and their kin hold on to power, by all means necessary, in order to steal from people directly or indirectly.

Every election, the same names are being voted into national and local offices. Haven’t we had enough of their inept, immoral and thieving kind? Or maybe we truly deserve to be “degraded” by some of these dynastic politicians who serve only themselves and their cohorts since we continue to put them in office? Just saying.

Even some with titles before their names and even captains of industry who use their titles or positions to take advantage of their clients or workers. They are the ones who are doing degrading work and should be shamed and not idolized.

Lest this near-sighted Ibaloy writer be bashed as holier-than-thou, let me assure you that I am as big a sinner as anybody else. We all have skeletons in the closet. Maybe some more than others. I just hope that my friend got the point I was making: There is dignity in honest labor.