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Occupational hazards



To the editor:

When reading "The U.S. needs homes, but also the workers to build them," (The Chief, Jan. 26), I was reminded of a three-way phone conversation I had about 15 years ago. The other two included a great friend I met when I was 13 who has just a high school diploma but who is wise. The other man, who I'm no longer friends with, has a master's degree and was a career political hack before retiring.

My friend and I were complaining about our jobs when the other man said, "You should just get another job like I did." When I said not everybody can do that, he replied, "You should have gotten master's degrees like I did." I pointed out that not everybody could do that but even if they could: "Who would paint your house? Who would fix your car?" He just said, "This is too stressful” and hung up on us.

I'm reminded of this when it is reported that we don't have enough construction workers, plumbers and electricians because young people are only being encouraged to go to college. These positions require courage, strength, intelligence and skills. The idea of those in these occupations receiving less respect than a hack making a six-figure salary is beyond my comprehension.

Don't get me wrong. Many important occupations require higher education. Also, I've known educated people who are truly wise. I've also known some who are not so intelligent and others who don't use (or misuse) the intelligence they have.

But we're going to be in a lot more trouble if the shortage of skilled labor continues to increase. But I think we'll survive with less political hacks.

Richard Warren


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