“I Do Not Dream of Labor”- The Difference Between Labor and Industry, and What It (Should) Mean to Work

I spend way too much time on social media. If it wasn’t the best engine for reaching out to my readers and sharing what I do with a global audience, I would have wiped my accounts ages ago for the sheer amount of half-assed “hot takes” people are encouraged to belch out about everything from Sudanese economics to Dr. Seuss. It really is the dark side of the democratization of knowledge that anyone with a keyboard thinks “I have an opinion and a way to express it, therefore it is just as valid and important as any expert.”

Yes, so says the pastry chef and food writer with a blog who is about to expound on the psychology and philosophy of labor, but stick with me for a minute.

As a guy who works for a living, is trying to create a work environment that his employees can thrive in, and is having difficulty finding qualified help, I think I have some insight into the whole “no one wants to work anymore,” “quiet-quitting/working to contract” kerfuffle fiasco mass whining discussionthat has been making the rounds lately.

This quote is actually tacked up over my desk at the bakery- just in case I ever forget why I do what I do.
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The Month That Lasted A Year

We’d gotten a notion that things were gonna be a little off on the plane down to Florida.
It was our first vacation with my family in years, and one of Emily’s student’s parents gave us two N95 masks “just for the plane because of the new virus going around.”

The new virus. Some bullshit about about people eating bats in China or something? We’d joked around the kitchen about it, and gently teased a hypochondriac friend of mine. I said I’d get to the airport and lick someone’s eyeballs on the way back, catch it and get a bit more time off.

On the plane, there were a few older folks in masks. I’d been asked at a doctor’s office earlier in the year if I’d recently been to Wuhan China or was in contact with anyone who had. “God I wish,” I half-jokingly told the receptionist. “Anything to travel for a bit and take some time off of work!”

At Disney, there were hand sanitizer and washing stations sprinkled around the property. My parents switched on the news in the mornings, and we heard that it had spread on the West Coast. The day after we left, Disney closed it’s properties and sent everyone home. When we arrived in the late afternoon, PDX- one of America’s best airports- was nearly deserted.

This was no joke. It’s still not one year later.

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