Phil Gramm, a former Republican Texas senator and now former member of John McCain's campaign, found himself in a bit of hot water when he was speaking about the downturn in the economy saying "We have sort of become a nation of whiners" and "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."
When I saw last week's letter to the editor in the Yated (see Wolf's blog for the letter) about the low wages your average Lakewood wife commands, the letter to Rebbitzen Jungreis from a mother who wants to *abolish* visiting day--she views sleep away camp as none other than a "necessity" despite tough financial times--because it is too expensive to visit and she always ends up with extra expenses such as taking her kids out to eat because they don't like the camp food (here is a similar letter to the same effect), and I see the responses in this week's Yated to last week's letter about the low hourly wages Lakewood women are being offered as unjust, I can't help but think that someone should invite Phil Gramm to give some mussar (and an even more needed class in Microeconomics) to some our own whiners because this is getting ridiculous with a capital R.
This letter makes you say what in the world? A young lady (married, I believe, but now I'm not quite sure) who has never held a job complains that she makes *less* than our cleaning lady. Earth to "Help Us Make an Honest Living" . . . . . .the answer is that you need to become a cleaning lady. The pay is higher and the market is ready. Do I say that tongue in cheek? Yes and no. I worked an unskilled manual labor job once to make some money and get something on my resume.
For many years, I slaved away in school. I had a straight-A average in all subjects. Then I spent a year in BJJ. Now that I am back here and looking for a job, I am told that everything that I learnt is not important and my skills are useless. I applied for many jobs and was offered only one, at a salary less than our cleaning lady.
I was about to accept the offer, but my father didn’t let me. He said that, as a bas Yisroel, I should not permit myself to be taken advantage of in that way. And I don’t even live in Lakewood. I live in Monsey.
Help Us Make an Honest Living
. . . . . . .but I imagine if someone dared suggest cleaning for a living the reply would be a "Bas Yisroel" can't do that. Many Rabbonim have pointed out that we have fallen victims to an "instant gratification" culture. They are 100% correct from what I see and what I read. Good thing our grandparents and great-grandparents were more concerned about making a living than keeping their "dignity."
The last post was about encouraging children to save money. Another subject is encouraging our children to WORK and start at the bottom (the place most of us started) . What this father has done to his daughter by preventing her from taking a "low paying" job is criminal! He is damning her to a life of poverty (how do you climb the ladder if you don't get on the bottom rung?), he is stripping her of dignity that comes from contributing to the well-being of your family, he is sentencing her to idleness, and he is helping her feel entitled without a resume to prove her worth.
To the letter writer: you should never allow yourself to be taken advantage of (e.g. stay in a job where you don't get cheated out of your pay). But starting on the bottom rung is not being "taken advantage of" it is simply "taking advantage of an opportunity. If anything, you are the one taking advantage. So, get on the bottom rung and start climbing.