When I was a kid, I wanted to be a librarian.
I was in love with reading, often carrying up to 10 books home on Friday afternoon, done with nine of them by Saturday evening. Having the chance to read all these wondrous books, introducing others to the mysterious world of fairy tales, thrillers and history seemed to be the best job in the world.
Well, here I am, not having considered being a librarian for more than 30 years and as much removed from the library world as anybody can be.
Given the abysmal state of libraries in the US, this seems to be a good deal to me personally. But, it left me with the question to ponder: Where are the passionate librarians coming from? Where are the hard-working firemen coming from? From where do we recruit the best nurses we will all need one day?
We live in a world where we are more focused on ourselves than focusing on the community we live in, where money has a higher value than what real value someone added to the world. And that world has turned important professions like being a nurse or a teacher into jobs for people that weren’t able to get that special degree or didn’t have the chance to get a higher education. Just experience the amazing care hospice nurses take of dying people or the passion good teachers show each and every day towards their pupils, and putting these amazing people down as not good enough to get a “real good job” will make you feel ashamed of your warped opinion.
In the holiday season of giving back, the advertising industry should consider transforming the image of these jobs that make our community work and our world worth living in. Let’s face it, the majority of us in the marketing world earn much more than any librarian or nurse, and we have contributed less to society than they do each and every day. When you are in trouble, would you turn to your fellow Creative Director or your police man for help? It’s time for us to help them.
Ultimately, we need to take a hard look at the value of work. Why do we consider blue-collar work less valuable than white-collar work? Should an investment banker be 100x times more worth than a teacher? The value we attach to specific kinds of work determine what kind of society we are and want to be. Time for a reset?