The Dignity of Work

At the risk of breaking up the national dialogue on how to reform health care to best benefit employers and health insurance executives, I thought I’d share with you a thought that comes from my evening’s meal.

My wife and I were discussing the fact that the service at our restaurant of choice for the evening was so good. We talked about our love of food and how much more vibrant it’s become since becoming adoring fans of the Food Network and Bravo shows. We considered how the food shows on those networks have increased the profile of the chef and the line cook alike – that we have an entirely new and different appreciation for the job they do – and we both thought how great it would be if only they started showing programming aimed at the front of the house as well. Professional service does not just happen, and we agreed that it would be great if people got to see just how much work went into it.

And I was reminded of a conversation we had with a couple of guys at our table on a cruise ship. They noted that there were next to no Americans working on the boat and said, “that’s because Americans don’t take jobs like that seriously. We don’t really respect service jobs.”

And they were right, of course. It occurred to me that providing health care for people in jobs such as these would go a long way towards redressing this lack of respect. Providing health care options for cooks and waiters, gas station attendents and cafeteria workers alike might go a long way towards making those jobs a viable option for more people.

I don’t know. Maybe just something to think about. Tip your waitress.