A Tale From the Global Economy

From early 1978 to late 1982, during the time that I was living on the street, I took up the study of the Italian language. I bought a book called “Teach Yourself Italian,” and made friends with some local Italians who helped me. I got good enough that for awhile I tutored others. But I’ve since let it slide. Last month, when I was in Europe, I decided I ought to brush up. So, I bought a set of grammer books and started working through them. Here’s one of the dialogues in its entirety. It’s called Let’s talk about work.

Carla: Hi. How are you?

Luigi: We haven’t seen each other for a year.

Carla: Yes, we finally meet. But are you always busy?

Luigi: Always busy, always working. I’m under a lot of stress.

Carla: Me, too, you know. My day starts very early. I wake up at six in the morning, I get up, I wash, I get dressed, I sit down for a second to have coffee, and right away I go out to go to work.

Luigi: But at least you have breakfast.

Carla: You don’t?

Luigi: That’s the way it is. And in my office, I sit at my desk all day. I feel tired. I never have a moment to enjoy myself.

Carla:  But you have a good job!

Luigi: You can’t complain either!

Carla: That’s true. I can’t complain either.

6 Responses to “A Tale From the Global Economy”

  1. Tracy Glomski Says:

    I’m speechless.

  2. Karen Says:

    Reminds me of you get a frog to stay in the pot so you can cook him: Don’t drop him into boiling water; instead, put him in cold water and slowly turn up the heat — he will never know he’s cooking.

    We have jobs that are killing us, but at least we have jobs, so it’s okay that we’re dying because of those jobs.

    And then I remember something I read about California Indians when the Spanish Catholic missionaries arrived: The Indians had a rather idyllic lifestyle. Food was so abundant all year round, so they didn’t have to work hard to feed themselves. Unfortunately, the Franciscans thought they were lazy and sinful, and forced them to do back-breaking work in the fields. As a result of following the fanatical fundamentalist religious model of how society should be structured, California’s environment has been sorely degraded, and we have become corporate slaves. We’re slowly cooking, and we don’t seem to know it.

  3. Suzy Says:

    I‘ve had good jobs & I’ve had bad jobs. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which!

    I once had a pretty good job. The work was interesting & challenging but not overwhelming. The workload was reasonable for a salaried position. But I wasn’t being paid as much as my male co-workers. The only ones getting decent raises & promotions were younger, less experienced males. It was pretty obvious I was not headed UP the corporate ladder.

    So I looked for & found another job. It sounded wonderful. It paid a lot more & I didn’t need to relocate. My friends told me it was a hellish place to work & that I was making a bad move. But lacking any previous experience working in hell, I could not imagine it.

    I was SO wrong! It did turn out to be a job in HELL. I was expected to work 60+ hrs per week (on salary of course). It is not really possible to describe the work environment because it was so ungodly. It was a DOG-EAT-DOG world! Everyman for HIMSELF with lots of screaming & cursing to boot! I would have loved to have my old job back!

    I guess I was too proud to admit my misery for a long time. But eventually it took its toll on my nerves & I went to a counselor who ordered me to find a new job. It took a while but I was very careful & I listened to the experiences of others THIS time.

    This new job turned out to be THE BEST JOB! I was on a team with 3 males. We were all equitably salaried. Our tasks were given to us as a team not as individuals. It was unbelievable how supportive the other team members were. Because we could only succeed (or fail) as a group, there was no mean-spirited competition. Everyone had everyone else’s back. We had to work late sometimes, but it was agreed upon that no one would go home until we could ALL go home. It was heavenly after what I had been through.

    Sadly, I eventually had to resign that job because my husband was transferred. But I have learned that the quality of the work environment is at least as important as pay level when evaluating whether a job is a “good” one or a “bad one’.

  4. Diane Says:

    I quit a “good” job because I was selling the only thing in the world I truly owned: my time on Earth. I was selling it for money, but somebody else further up the chain at the company was the one getting rich. So rather than trade my time on Earth to make somebody else rich, I quit and walked from Mexico to Canada. I was the richest woman in the world, rich in time, wildflowers and sunshine.

    Now that I’m home again, I work again. It’s not always good. But I work part-time so I own more of my time than I used to at my “better” job. Life’s much better this way.

    • Suzy Says:

      Do you have any tips or advice to share on how to get by on less? For example, do you make your own tofu, bread, …? Grow a garden? Do you sew your own clothes… buy at the thrift stores…?
      How do you manage your budget on a part time job? My full time job doesn’t pay very well. They might allow me to go to a part time basis, but I would give up all of my benefits: vacation pay, personal sick leave, partial reimbursement for health insurance… But more so than all that, it would be extremely difficult to stretch the money enough to pay the utilities & other costs of maintaining my modest home. There definitely would not be a safety net or rainy day fund to fix the broken car or leaky roof. So I am very interested in figuring out how to get to live on less.

  5. Kathy Says:

    That was hilarious!!!! I love the rhetorical underpinnings….

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