I got my first full-time job, but it’s weird. I could swear I was making more money in college, working for my parents as their daughter.
I’m a secretary. On a good day I type ninety-five words per minute; on a bad day I show up drunk in my pajamas.
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office every day. Not because he likes it, but because he can’t think of anything else to do.
One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can’t eat for eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours — all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.
Personally I have nothing against work, particularly when performed, quietly and unobtrusively, by someone else. I just don’t happen to think it’s an appropriate subject for an “ethic.”
Figure it out. Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s no one to live in it.
A society that gives to one class all the opportunities for leisure and to another all the burdens of work condemns both classes to spiritual sterility.
I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.
When we’re unemployed, we’re called lazy; when the whites are unemployed, it’s called a depression.
Getting a living under capitalism . . . is so precarious, so uncertain, fraught with such pain and struggle that the wonder is not that so many people become vicious and criminal, but that so many remain in docile submission to such a tyrannous and debasing condition.
The world was one of great contrasts, she thought, and if the richest part of it was to be fenced off so that people like herself could only look at it with no expectation of ever being able to get inside it, then it would be better to have been born blind so you couldn’t see it, born deaf so you couldn’t hear it, born with no sense of touch so you couldn’t feel it. Better still, born with no brain so that you would be completely unaware of anything, so that you would never know there were places that were filled with sunlight and good food and where children were safe.
Some people think they are worth a lot of money just because they have it.
They are the kind of people who are embarrassed by money, a dead middle-class giveaway. Poor people are not embarrassed by money and are contemptuous of those who are.
There is a working class — strong and happy — among both rich and poor. There is an idle class — weak, wicked, and miserable — among both rich and poor.
Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.
If a man is called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.
“What is my job on the planet?” is one question we might do well to ask ourselves over and over again. Otherwise, we may wind up doing somebody else’s job and not even know it. And what’s more, that somebody else might be a figment of our own imagination, and maybe a prisoner of it as well.
Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.