Monday, May 7, 2007

The American Dream

I currently work for a small Comcast sub-contracted outfit called "The Cable Guys" (yes, that is a shameless plug). One of my co-workers, a tech named James, once said that what he does as a technician is the American Dream.
I found his assertion curious. Curious because when I think of the typical idea of the "American Dream," I see big houses, fast cars, fat bank accounts, and financial independence. In short, I see results. With James, however, I see no fancy cars or huge bank accounts (I could be wrong; he may be an undercover drug dealer from Venezuela). All I see is hard work and a sweaty brow. He spends his work days actually working. Not sitting at a desk (like I do, darn it!), but getting out there and working with his hands and earning his living. In short, with James I see the process to the results. For him, the American Dream is not what you get, but how you get it, and he gets it by getting his hands dirty. Again, I find that this is highly curious.
I also find it true. Nobody, and I mean nobody cares to actually do something to get where they want to be. Somehow, we have been fooled (or fooled ourselves) into thinking that we've earned the results without the process, that our mere glorious existence is somehow reason enough to reap all the rewards. Try to inject any thought of (gasp!) hard work into our minds, and we bulk and whine about someone trying to "squash our dreams." Our dreams are squashed by our own laziness more than they are squashed by someone else.