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.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.



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