To supplement the seemingly random Go-Go inspired titling of this column, I'd like to insert a likewise random idiom: a good plumber is very hard to find. Don't fret, dear reader, for there is a thread of contiguity between these two shoddy literary devices. They bring up an interesting point about the disparity between those in service jobs, and those in so called "higher class" professions. More students are choosing to pursue a broad-based education (myself included), and less are going to work in vocational pursuits.
This desire to work for the higher class jobs is a natural; they generally make more money and require less physical labor. This seemingly unequal trade-off leads to the incorrect belief that these service jobs are bad, or even shameful. It couldn't be farther from the truth.
While this idea of manual labor being a last resort isn't a recent one, there are contemporary factors that reinforce that belief, namely the No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially bases students' intelligence completely on standardized testing. This not only reinforces the notion that if you can't score well on a test, it's because you're unintelligent; it also sets up the decision to either disregard school or force yourself to do something that doesn't interest you.
To trudge through school without gaining any enjoyment or benefit is a waste of time, money and utility. The end result of this wasted education ultimately creates more middle-managers and paper pushers. Essentially, it spawns, and I gasp at the word: bureaucrats. It's a well-known fact that when the world ends there will be two things left: cockroaches and bureaucracy. I say that with disgust because it creates a double negative. The aging people of the service industry, the plumbers, carpenters, etc., need a larger labor pool, and those "middle-management" jobs demand a cutback. I say again: There is no shame in working in the service industry. People need hot-water heaters fixed and garages built; jobs that the average person is usually unable to do.
I propose a swift and orderly change: trimming off a couple "assistant supervisors" and throwing those people into carpentry school. I don't remove myself from this equation either. During summers at home, I work as at the Department of Public Works, holding such jobs as garbage man, wall-painter and garage-cleaner. I did not particularly enjoy these jobs, but I respected the men that I worked with, the ones that didn't go back to school. They might work themselves to the breaking point, but they do a needed job for competitive pay. They won't be wealthy, but they can rest their heads at night knowing that they are a vital part of the community.
I have a vague idea what I'm going to do with my future, although an English major has select few choices, but I'm not sure of whether or not I'll make a difference or make lives better. The men and women in the service industry get, and deserve, that sense of the importance of their job, and should never be put down for not "succeeding" in the workplace. Hell, I guess bureaucrats shouldn't really be put down either, but seeing as most have about as much emotion as a Tom Clancy character, they won't even notice.