Take it easy…but take it. Or, some thoughts on gratitude and grace at Thanksgiving.

I’m burned out. On global politics, on local politics, but especially on workplace politics. On pettiness and conniving, scrambling to steal others’ ideas to make oneself look good. I’m over it. So we’re having a feast today at my plant. In the dirty, grimy old body shop. No one sanctioned it, neither the union nor management sanctioned it, championed it nor offered to help. Though after some wheedling and gentle harassment, even the bosses chipped in. In grand style, actually. One’s bringing the turkey, another’s bringing extra time at lunch. I’m bringing pie and mashed potatoes. Not together, though. That would be kinda gross. Anyway, the whole point of this exercise is that we spend so much time together in the plant that (in my very humble opinion) we should honor that time with a family-style dinner. I see my co-workers a hell of a lot more than I see my family. So I want to make a short list of things for which I am grateful, in the context of work. But there are a few things for which I am not grateful, because we earn those things. They are not gifts.

I am grateful for:

a resilient sense of humor; co-workers whose company I enjoy; collectively bargained rights; my more-or-less enduring good health; the opportunity to put food on the table; and the good sense to enjoy it all.

I am glad (but not grateful) for:

my paycheck and benefits. I come to work every night and work hard. I toil, I sweat in the winter, along with many, many other folks. We have no reason to be grateful for something we work so hard for. We earn it. This Thanksgiving, I’ll raise a glass to my co-workers, fellow travelers and toilers. We’ll give thanks together for the things we do nothing to earn and I’ll encourage everyone to be glad in their efforts to put food on the table. Don’t be grateful for the things you earn by the sweat of your brow. Be glad, be proud. But you earned them. We earned them. They are ours. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

In solidarity,

Stepchild in the Promised Land


About Stepchild in the Promised Land: Notes from a Tier-Two Autoworker

A third-generation Detroiter, Wayne State grad, mother and tier-two autoworker.
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