Sunday, April 11, 2010

Work

Taibbi read a blog post by Brooks and took him to task (again). In doing so, he makes a distinction that I think is important to keep in mind. It's one that people may lose sight of.

I would give just about anything to sit David Brooks down in front of some single mother somewhere who’s pulling two shitty minimum-wage jobs just to be able to afford a pair of $19 Mossimo sneakers at Target for her kid, and have him tell her, with a straight face, that her main problem is that she doesn’t work as hard as Jamie Dimon.

Only a person who has never actually held a real job could say something like this. There is, of course, a huge difference between working 80 hours a week in a profession that you love and which promises you vast financial rewards, and working 80 hours a week digging ditches for a septic-tank company

There's a very good point here. Brooks is right that many rich people work ridiculously long hours. But I'm pretty sure that the guy digging ditches for barely above minimum wage isn't just "harder work" away from getting a job as an investment banker. When I was working for a pool company, I did exhausting and disgusting work for up to 80 hours per week. But oddly, I wasn't making as much money as your average fresh-out-of-college investment banker working similar hours, but in an office all day.

But really, Taibbi said it better (and more profanely) than I can. So read his post.

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