The Value of Work


Geoffrey Owens has been in the news recently. For those of you who don’t remember, Geoffrey Owens is an actor who had a recurring role on The Cosby Show throughout the mid-80s and the early 90s. He has also been on several TV shows since then, including Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Secret Life of an American Teenager, and Built to Last. For the last 15 months, he had worked at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey because the job gave him the flexibility to pursue acting and directing gigs.

Last week a fan recognized the actor at Trader Joe’s, took a picture of him working the cash register, and posted it on social media.

What was shocking were the Internet “trolls” who tried to shame him because of his desire to work and support himself while pursuing his dreams. Therein lies the “rub” and what our culture has to say about work. We have arrived at a point in our cultural history that we try to make fun of someone working. We think certain jobs are beneath us, and we are often too proud to take those jobs because of what other people may think of us.

Work is honorable. People who get up every day and go to work are the touchstones of what makes this country great. I hope we are not losing what makes us so different from every other country in the world — the praise and recognition of hard work. I see it every day; men and women showing up and making a difference; no glamour or glory. There is honor in working.

Mark Twain once said “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” Still another quote that always catches my attention is, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Do you want success? Learn the value of hard work and pursuing your dreams. I see it every day of the year. Businessmen and businesswomen out in the marketplace, hustling and working hard. They are showing up and doing the jobs no else wants to do. I’ll bet on them every time because they make things happen and understand the value of hard work.

Owens made a very insightful comment when he was recently interviewed, saying, “A re-evaluation of what it means to work and the idea that some jobs are better than others – that’s actually not true.”   He added: “There is no job that’s better than another job. It may pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it is not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”

I honor and praise every working person who gets on a bike or a bus or who gets in a car and goes to work to support themselves and their family every day. We need more people who understand the honor and value of work. Thank you, Geoffrey Owens, for reminding us what makes this country great.

See you in McAllen!