The Dignity of Work



Politicians are constantly moralizing about the “dignity of work.” I’m all for being able to pay the bills, but I find the phrase condescending, as though people in need of the social safety net don’t quite grasp the concept of a job. And plenty of jobs are lacking in dignity; I’ve worked a few myself.

While doing some image research for this cartoon, I made a fascinating discovery. Did you know the Porta-john industry has its own trade publication, Portable Restroom Operator Monthly? Or that the 2014 Pumper and Cleaner Expo, billed as “the largest annual event in the world for the liquid waste industry,” will be held next week in Indianapolis? Not to suggest such work is undignified, mind you. But I bet they earn their pay.



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  • ThorstenV

    “Whoever is not in the possession of leisure can hardly be said to possess independence. They talk of the dignity of work. Bosh. True Work is the necessity of poor humanity’s earthly condition. The dignity is in leisure.” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Herman_Melville

    • Jen Sorensen

      Great quote, thanks.

      • ThorstenV

        Just my attempt at giving thanks to a great cartoonist.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-syndicated political cartoonist whose work has appeared in The Progressive, The Nation, Daily Kos, Austin Chronicle, NPR, Ms., Politico, and many other publications. The recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, she tweets at @JenSorensen.

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