Father Sez

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Would you ever consider a job to be beneath you?

Monday February 2nd, 2009 by fathersez

Last week I read two great posts on this topic. The first one I read was by Mrs. Micah who asked “what kind of work is beneath you” and she   listed the pros and cons of having a job, any job, as opposed to having no job whilst looking for the right one.

Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity asks whether we should take a low paying job. He also credited Mrs. Micah for igniting his thoughts on this matter and made a very powerful statement at the end of his post.


Finally, I find it dangerous to pass judgment on any job, above, beneath or beside you, because it’s someone’s job somewhere.                                                                       


I think the subject is most appropriate in these trying times of widespread job losses. Lots of buzz is being created all over the world over “foreigners” working in countries where the locals are losing jobs.  

Mrs. M’s and Jim’s posts strike very close to home in the Malaysian context. I have written about the official unemployment statistics for Malaysia to be 3.1% or about 343,700 people. At the same time, foreign labour in the country is about 1.2 – 1.5 million. They are mainly Indonesians, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Indian and Thai workers. They do work that the Malaysians seem to shun, work like being plantation workers, restaurant helpers, domestic maids, security guards, construction workers etc. 

This foreign workers number is almost 4 times, the number of the officially unemployed. This seems to be proof that some people do consider some types of work to be beneath them. (Of course, some employers also prefer to employ the foreign workers for various reasons.) 

Our Government often makes the appropriate noises about Malaysians being too choosy about their jobs. I suppose sooner or later some change has to happen in this ratio of foreign workers to the Malaysian unemployed.   

I have never ever had to make this decision in a personal capacity in the past. Some reasonably paying job would land on my lap. Looking back at the various jobs, members of my family have held, the lowest one might be that done by my late father. 

My late father was a bread vendor, selling bread and cookies. He had a “route” assigned to him by the bakery and he would collect the bread, cycle along the route, stop, disembark and sell the bread, and cycle on. This was his daily routine until he went for an appendicitis operation and was advised not to cycle anymore. This story was told to me by my eldest brother. I have never seen my late father mount a cycle, ever. And I don’t think that this job was ever considered to be beneath him, rather I am sure my father took pride in having a job that helped meet people’s needs. 

Now my wife and I are doing something that I might be considered as “beneath me” not too long ago. We have taken a well considered plunge into direct selling. And to be honest this decision was not exactly a result of a “no other option” kind of situation. Yes, declaring myself to be a MLMer when asked what I do now has resulted in some snickers. But then, is a person who is a friend because of your job or position really a friend?  

So Mrs. M and Jim, I consider that the pizza delivery man featured by CNN has set a fine example. And my wife and I are further examples of people wanting to do jobs that OTHERS may consider to be beneath us.   

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