Saturday, February 26, 2011

Education Vs Effort

The other day I was looking outside my window at the pretty white snow, accumulated in the parking lot, on the roads, everywhere. I was busy admiring the beauty of nature and the various forms it takes to awe us with it's fury. That is when this pretty picture was disrupted by cars breaking down and getting stuck in the snow. It is also when my eyes opened and went beyond the beauty.

However beautiful the snow looked, it did cause practical problems for everyone. And somebody had to take care of it. So, out came the snow plows, the snow blowers and all the heavy machinery. It was snowing so hard that one could hardly see across the street, it was so windy that the wind was cutting into the face like needles. Even with that, I could see maintenance workers on their snow mobiles trying to clear up as much snow as possible and getting stuck cars out into safety. Looking at all the effort they had to put in, and that too in such extreme conditions, I would think that they were really well paid. But this is only if pay was proportional to efforts. Unfortunately, today's society works in a way that skill outweighs mechanical labor.

It is sad to see that jobs requiring the highest amount of labor and physical strength, often pay the least. Because, according to some, those jobs don't require skill. Some of the riskiest jobs pay you just enough to sustain a family. No wonder, most of the youth aspire to become an engineer, or an accountant. Nobody aspires to be a fireman, or a maintenance worker or even an armed forces officer. Those who do, are great men with exceptional mental strength and grit. Because all of these jobs are either risky or involve a lot of physical labor and are not as rewarding as one would expect them to be.

So, how is the pay scale come up with, would be my first thought. How much menial work would be equivalent to talent and knowledge??? A lot of people work extra hours to get that extra income, and still do not earn as much as an engineer. How many hours would they have to put in, to deserve a good pay? I understand that education is being given importance and is considered to be an asset for high-paying jobs, and rightly so. But that does not give us the right to ignore the efforts put in for the less-paying jobs.

It is a known fact that college teachers are much well-paid as compared to kindergarten teachers. Now, any person who is sane, can obviously see which of the two requires more work. It becomes difficult for parents to manage their own children and yet a person who is taking care of 20 such kids, has their worth go unnoticed. I can only imagine how much stamina and patience such a job would require. As opposed to which, a college teacher has much more responsibility in terms of assignments and what not. But, she has the privilege of mental peace. And yet she gets paid more.

So are we saying that the only thing valued today is education and skill? If so, why can't we take better measures to make everybody aware of the worth and benefits of education??? In a country like America, there are all grades of people and every job is appreciated, but it is also true that appreciation cannot feed you. In a capitalist society like ours, it takes much more than appreciation to make lives better. It takes a better education, value addition and self-growth to make you survive the rat race for a better paid job. But has anyone thought, that the whole process of acquiring knowledge also requires a lot of money and that is where some are left behind unwillingly. It then becomes a vicious cycle. You will not have a whole bunch of money in your future, because you didn't have it in the beginning. So where does this end??

I think every person should be entitled to a good education and should be made aware of the perks, so that they can make a wise decision. And having said so, there will always be people who take care of the more exerting jobs, because if they didn't, we would have to do those ourselves. So, next time you see someone who makes your life easy by making theirs tougher, be sure to thank them. Appreciation surely cannot feed the stomach, but can feed the heart and bring a smile to faces. And sometimes, it is a happy heart that goes a longer way than anything else.

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