We are often made to think that some jobs hold more dignity than others. While it is true that some careers are more profitable than others, there is dignity to be found in hard work, no matter what your line of work might be.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Brittany: Hey, Connor.
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: So we have talked a lot about work and how to succeed in your professional life, both when you’re a kid and when you’re an adult. But today, I wanna put a little bit of a twist on this and talk about the dignity of all work, not just, you know, entrepreneurship. So, a couple of years ago, an actor, he used to be on a really popular show in the 1980s. Well, he was caught, I say caught as if he was doing something bad. He was seen bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s, which is one of my favorite grocery stores, really popular grocery store. But someone took a picture of him, and for a little bit of time, he was being shamed or made fun of on social media, on the internet. You know, people were saying, how could this guy who has once a successful TV star, now he’s working this lowly blue collar, they call like blue collar’s, like a, not like a white collar’s, like a fancy businessman, and blue collars like a factory worker type of person. You know, how could he be working this blue-collar job? And I don’t know, Connor, do you remember when this happened?
Connor: Yeah, I do remember that. And I was sad, you know, for a few reasons. I mean, first making fun of someone who was trying to just make a living and have a job provide for themselves. And the second, you know, this poor guy was being shamed for working a quote-unquote, regular job. And when he was asked about it, he even gave a statement saying that the reason he took the job was that he was between acting gigs and he had children in college and he had to help pay for their tuition. And so he had a need. It’s not like he was fantastically wealthy. Yeah. and so he was working to support his family just like everyone else. So it was very sad that there was that type of reaction.
Brittany: I agree. Fortunately, with this story, it had a happy ending. The public shaming actually led, led him to get new, well, his name is Jeffrey Owen. Ones, first of all, that’s the actor’s name, but it led him to getting more acting jobs. Like he started getting movie rolls, so, and he was really, really cool about it. He’s even done interviews. He’s like, thank you to everyone who made fun of me. This has helped. And he even won an award at Sunlight. I remember, I think it was the SAG Awards, which Screen Actors Guild, which is a union, so we won’t even talk about them. But he gave a shout-out to Trader Joe’s for helping him get there. And I thought that was really cool. But there’s a bigger lesson in this story that I want to talk about, and that is that, you know, we talk about how great it is to be an entrepreneur, be an innovator. We’ve talked about these, you know, fantastically wealthy men like Jeff Bezos and, and Elon Musk. But there’s dignity in all work. And I really want to drive that point home, because when someone is using any kind of work to better their circumstances and provide for their family, this is something you should be proud of. You shouldn’t feel bad just because you are not Elon Musk. So, I don’t know if you have some thoughts on this, Connor, but I thought we could really, you know, dive into a good conversation about this,
Connor: Maybe a related, and semi-tangential idea before we unpack the broader idea of the fact that there’s dignity and work. I also wanna mention that you never know what’s going to happen. this guy didn’t know that you know, good things would come from this unfortunate circumstance that he would be caught on camera, quote-unquote, as you say, he wasn’t doing anything bad, but he would be observed, and that would actually lead to more acting gigs, which helped. it reminds me of, you know, silly things like Chewbacca mom, who, you know, went viral and that led to, you know, opportunities or the guy with a golden voice who was kind of a homeless guy and someone found him and helped get him off the street. Like, you just don’t know what’s gonna happen in life. a related story that comes to mind is we talk about these, you know, menial jobs or these blue-collar type jobs. I remember reading a few years ago about the guy who invented the, what is it called, The Flaming Hot Cheetos? I think it was.
Brittany: Oh, this is a great story. Yeah. Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Connor: It was a great story. This guy was a janitor, working for the company, you know, at Cheetos, whatever, like Nabisco or whatever the parent company is. And he’s just a janitor. This I believe the Hispanic gentleman. And, you know, in his culture, family, they, you know, would eat a lot of spices and things like that. And so he was experimenting and basically invented a Cheeto flavor, that is now like one of the best-selling, Cheeto flavors. He’s like a vice president or was like, he just shot up in the company from being a lowly janitor. He was at the right place, right time. He showed some entrepreneurship. He’s thinking outside of the box. He didn’t think of himself just as a janitor. He is, you know, thinking up other ways to do things. And that led to, you know, great success. And so, you don’t know, like I was a web developer. I built websites. Not that my story is like, either of these people, but like, I would build websites and I loved learning about technology. I loved being able to have that skill, but a lot of times I didn’t love the websites I was building was just random websites. But gaining those skills led me to a variety of things that have helped me today. The first is that I have the skills at all. So I built the Tuttletwins website. Wow. And I built other websites rather than having to pay anyone else. And I know exactly what to do. So that skill has helped me. But also building random websites led me to building websites and doing things for people like Tom Woods, who we’ve had on the show. And, working with the Mises Institute, which is a great organization, and other things where I started working with them in that capacity. But then I created relationships that helped me in this totally different career I’m doing now. And so, you know, I was just building websites. I’m just a web developer, but it opened new doors and it created new relationships. And so when we talk about this question of are some jobs better than others, what I like to think about is like everyone has a role and their needs all over the place, even if it’s like manual labor. And along the way as long, like, even if you’re working in one of those jobs, and let’s be honest, no one loves being a janitor. Yeah. But if you’re trying to figure out along the way how to develop a new skill or how to be the best janitor, so you get promoted and that now you’re a manager instead of a janitor. Like, there’s so many different things that you can do. And everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Tell me about your teenage jobs. I started, I started working at like Target and Einstein Brother Bagels and like random, you know, jobs like that. And I was learning some money, but I was also learning about hard work and showing up on time and what good managers acted like, and what bad managers acted like, and how to get promoted. Like, all these things that led me to gain more experience and become a better employee and later an employer. so what was kind of your experience like as you were younger, Britney, and how did that kinda help you over time?
Brittany: Well, in the beginning, I think I’ve talked about this before. I had a babysitting business. So at a very young age, you know, we had a lot of kids in my family, and so allowance was not something we got. Like, I, if I were to just ask my parents like, oh, I’m going to the mall, can I have a hundred dollars? That would’ve never happened. And I grew up in a very rich part of California. So I did have friends who that did happen. Like their parents were given $200 every time we went out. But I didn’t, you know, I was, I wanted to have that money. And so I learned at a very young age that if I wanted it, I was gonna have to go out and get it. So at about 12 years old, I started my own babysitting company. And, you know, I went to a church where people had a lot of kids. And so that was really, really good for me. So I was able to have a lifestyle that I wanted to have on my own, and that was really independent. Like, that gave me this sense of independence. And that is what I think that, that my jobs gave me. And then I went on to work in restaurants. I was always a host at a restaurant or a server at a restaurant. Younger teenagers, always a host, where you, like, you’re the one who takes people to their tables. But what I learned about that is people skills. I learned how to talk to people. I learned how to be happy, what I wasn’t in a good mood. And that doesn’t seem like that big of a skill, but it is because you, you’re gonna have to get along with people you don’t like. You’re gonna have to deal with angry people. And if you wanna deal with the angriest people find hungry, angry people who want to be sad at their table and are told that they have to wait an hour, you will encounter some of the meanest people ever. but it also taught me to have respect for the cooks in the back, right? Because a lot of times that’s even seen as a lowly job. But I had so much respect for how hard they were working. And a lot of them were immigrants who had come here and had a ton of kids, and they were the hardest workers I’d ever seen. So I never worked in like the ser like not service or I just retail industry. Like I never worked at Target or anything like that. Yeah. But I kind of dabbled with entrepreneurship and then in the restaurant industry, but I learned so much about life working in a restaurant.
Connor: I think it’s important to remember that entrepreneurship or business, it’s all about service, right? Yes. We call it customer service. You’re serving the other person. And the better you can get at serving other people, the better you get at solving their problems, the more they will reward you. And so maybe you’re gonna start working at Subway, right? And you are, the problem you’re solving is hunger, and you’re a sandwich artist, right? But as you learn about how to serve people better, and like you say, like the soft skills, the people skills, and you’re friendly and you’re upbeat and you’re quick to respond, right? Other people are gonna notice, your manager’s gonna take notice. The person in the drive-through is gonna notice and say, Hey, I have a company and I need someone like you. Will you come work for me? Right? Like, you don’t know what the opportunities are gonna be for you if you do the best you can in the job that you’re in. And you don’t see it as, Ugh, I hate working at Subway. Right? Like, instead, like you do the best job you can and pretty soon you’ll find yourself like, you know, having crazy opportunities open to you where you won’t be at Subway for very long. You will have learned while there the things you needed to learn and improved yourself in such a way that you’re gonna do far better. Maybe you’ll be the janitor who invents a new kind of Cheeto or whatever, but doors will open to you. And it’s, so, it’s important that we not look down on people in these jobs. They are also solving problems. They are also serving people. And, so I didn’t like that aspect of this actor where people were like poking fun at him. Like being an actor is somehow better than, you know just working at a normal job. If anything, maybe the opposite is true. you know, a lot of actors are like the worst people I would never want my children to be around. But the hardworking people that are providing us, you know, food and support and deliveries and bagging things up, like these are genuine normal people that we’d be okay having over to dinner. Our society kind of warps things, I think, right? And we kind of elevate, oh, celebrity, and you’ve now reached into the stratosphere and, but now you’ve come crashing down cuz you’re bagging groceries. and so that, that’s one thing I didn’t like about the story. I think it’s much better for the kids out there listening to recognize that all jobs are important. that what’s really important is learning about hard work, learning how to serve customers because you’re quickly gonna have new opportunities to apply those skills where you’ll be even more successful.
Brittany: Absolutely. And I think, you know, we’ve talked about division of labor and specialization before, we have to have farmers and we have to have entrepreneurs. We have to have all these different workers for our economy to work. And so what you ask, you know, is one job better than the other? Well, we can’t have one without the other, right? If we only had entrepreneurs who’s gonna feed us, who’s gonna, you know, who’s gonna be our plumber when something breaks? So we need everybody for the economy to keep going.
Connor: Well, we’ll wrap it up there. you know, for a lot of you kids out there, you’re gonna be getting jobs pretty soon, or you already are. Just recognize that it’s a great learning opportunity for you if you treat it that way. No one should look down at you, especially when you’re younger. Really, this is a great opportunity for you to gain new skills, serve other people along the way, and pretty soon you’re gonna become even more successful. So keep at it and don’t look down on anyone along the way, like you say, Brittany, the chefs in the back of the restaurant, right? Like all these people, especially as we learn about in the Tuttletwins, and the miraculous pencil, it takes all these, you know, people working together to provide us our meals or our groceries, you know, or our cars and computers and everything else. And so all these jobs are critical if we want to end up with the amazing products and services that the market provides. So we shouldn’t look down on anyone. If anything, we should be grateful for all of them because they all have a role to play. So thanks as always. And until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.