The Lily Doth Not Toil.  Why Do You?


Today, I am in the mood to confess my most grievous failing:  I disapprove of work.  (You forgive me, I’ll forgive you for working so hard.)  You see, it seems to me since our beginnings, since we first discovered the rock and made it a tool to dig with, or to hunt with or whatever.  Everything we have invented over the years is a tweak on that rock.  And the purpose of that rock and all our other clever inventions was to relieve us of our burdens, of our work – and yet we work and work and want more work and want more people to work more and more.  So. I think we have failed, so far.  That’s why I hate work.


“COME MISTER TALLEY MAN, TALLEY ME BANANA”  (-Harry Belafonte, old  Caribbean work song)

  • We have come to the point where no one is a good guy to everybody.  For example, take the tomato picker.  A good guy, right?  A religious, family man.  He comes over here and picks our tomatoes, cheap. But the California farmers are using up all the California water and they want to use up more of it, and that is not right – for other good California people want to use the water too – so they can wash their cars, sprinkle their lawns and drink, even.  And now there are  thousands of tomato pickers who are joining up with the tomato farmers and they are picketing the legislature so they can use everybody else’s water so more tomatoes can be picked by the bad tomato pickers…and this sort of thing is going on all over the place…look at the good minor and his bad pollutions and see the good Nuclear submarine builder and the Apocalypse.  And so it goes.
  • The average American worker takes less than 3/4 of his yearly vacation time.  30% can’t afford to take their full vacations.  27% don’t want to be seen as ‘replaceable’.
  • 30% of workers think they are the only one who can do the job they are doing.
  • 37% do not want to return to a mountain of work – so they feel they cannot stay away for long.
  • 27% feel guilty about using the time away.
  • 90% of Europeans think we are nuts.
  • The average CEO makes 254 times his/her average worker.  Musk was paid 40,668 times his average worker.  The head of Disney was paid only 1,425 times his workers average fee.  (Yes, this is another issue; but I’ll keep it in.)
  • 83% of healthcare workers admit they come to work when they are sick.  (At least they are honest.)
  • Amazon has developed a work-style ‘video-game’ for warehouse workers.  This ‘game’ scores the workers, which encourages them to work faster and get points…it pits workers against workers and teams against teams and there are big screens that show who is doing what and 1984 and George Orwell did not envision one quarter of the hell of it.  And yes, I am going to buy something from Amazon Prime tonight – as soon as I post this blog.  God forgive me – and I’ll forgive you.
  • I hear ‘They’ are working on ‘Scanner Games’ so the scanners at the check-out counters can speed things up a bit.  (Do you see my point on work?  Do you wonder where this will end?)



  • PRESENTEEISM:  This deals with the idea that people feel more secure if they are known to be at work: Bosses, on the whole, like to leave after their workers leave, but workers are afraid to leave before their bosses leave.  And so on.  Machines and computers give workers the jitters because the workers do not want the bosses to see these devices unattended…so counter-acting tricks are:  Leaving your jacket on your chair, or if you must walk about, walk with a clipboard in your hand.  Sending e-mails at odd hours is a good technique, also.  Appearing to be present is the key; even if studies show productivity dramatically declines after fifty hours of a work week.
  • BURNOUT:  This is a word used in Human Resources frequently.  It relates to the cause of 50% of employee attrition in the U.S.
  • PAJAMA TIME:  50% of (urban) doctors log on to EHR (Electric Health Records) from home, after work – to complete documentation – working on their charts at 10:00 PM and on the weekend.  This is not ‘over-time’ nor time and a half – this is ‘Pajama Time’.

I will sign off today’s post with a few quotes  – on the subject of work – from some of the great minds throughout the ages:

  • “”You will eat bye and bye/In that glorious land in the sky/Work and pray, live on hay/You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.” -Joe Hill (1879-executed 1915)
  • “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion” – C. Northcote Parkinson (1909-1933)
  • “Work Conquers all.” -Virgil (Georgics 37-30 B.C.)   “Love conquers all.” -Vigil (Eclogues 43-37 B.C.)
  • “Work is for cowards.” – U.J. Puckett, pool hustler (in 1984 at age seventy six)

That’s it for now. Remember: If you can’t think of anything else, “Follow the money”…(-All The President’s Men)








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