Monday, October 18, 2010

Would You Prefer the Alternative?




This morning.....as I was struggling to get kids dressed and out the door along with myself and doing those last minute things I needed to do which I should have done yesterday but didn't.....I heard a little voice in my head  mutter something unpleasant about having to get up and go to work on Monday (and yes....I hear little voices in my head from time to time....don't judge me!) At any rate...it immediately put me in an unhappy mind set as I headed off to start another week.

As I was driving though the little voice continued to whine an complain about having to get up, having to get dressed and having to go to work. Finally.....another voice appeared....obviously agitated by the first ones incessant negative droning and said...."would you prefer the alternative?" Now I am not sure if the second voice meant the alternative to being able to wake up......or the alternative to having a job....but whatever it meant...it got me to thinking. What did I really have to be negative about? I actually did wake up today and I actually have clean clothes to put on and a job to go to. So what was I really complaining about?

It seems to me....that too often many of us complain about the minor stuff, the stuff we should many times actually be grateful for. Why? Maybe habit. Maybe because we seem to live in a negative world at times....or more than likely....we are simply spoiled, a bit selfish, and we all feel a bit entitled from time to time. If the world doesn't go our way....we complain. It's as simple as that! We are all guilty of it....myself included, but do we ever stop and think where our complaining, negativity and unhappiness with things that we should often be grateful for might lead us?

Yes....I am going somewhere with this.....just be patient. In recent weeks....one of the big aircraft plants in Wichita has had rumors flying about them packing up their plane parts and moving out of state. In fact...the state of LA has been tempting the plane maker with tax breaks and land incentives. The city of Wichita and the state of KS not to be outdone.....countered LA's offer with one of their own. The company agreed to stay in Wichita with the stipulation that the newest labor contract passed and with the understanding that about 1/3 of the current employees would likely be seeing lay offs. Whew....sigh of relief as  2/3 of the workers get to keep their jobs and the Wichita economy doesn't completely tank. Or so we thought!

Last week the new contract was put on the table. Now common sense told everyone that this contract was not going to be great.....but it would keep people working and keep the economy going. It had a 10% pay cut and increased insurance premiums among other less than exciting features....but a majority of the workers would get to keep their jobs. It was a game of give and take. Obviously a game that 55% of the union workers didn't want to play.

When the vote came in......over half voted to turn down the contract. I have to say.....I was astounded. Now I know that no one wants to take a pay cut and that paying more for insurance is no treat either, but as the little voice in my head asked "would you prefer the alternative?" In this case the alternative could have disastrous results.....not just for 1/3 of the current employees....but disastrous for the other 2/3's also, not to mention Wichita and the surrounding communities and the economy in general. These workers were grumbling over a pay cut and an insurance increase.....like I was grumbling over Monday. Perhaps instead of looking at what they could lose by the new contract.....maybe they should have looked at what they could keep. Their jobs to start with! 

While I understand completely not wanting to lose out financially.....in this case.....those who voted "no" to the contract may very well have done more than lose a few dollars an hour per paycheck.....they may also end up losing their jobs, their cars, their homes, and their financial futures. Another thought too is that many whose jobs could potentially be lost by the vote are hourly employees with only a high school eduction. Thrown back into the work force jobs paying as much as they would have made with the contract wage cut will be few and far between. These folks will either have to further their education or settle for jobs paying much less than they are used to.

I realize that to  many there was a principle involved, but your principles don't feed you or keep a roof over your head. This could also cause a trickle down effect....causing small machine shops to lose business, lay off employees or even close altogether. The economy will also suffer with loss of dollars, house foreclosure and repossessions. What was starting to look and feel  like an economic comeback could now be the beginning of another recession. Perhaps they will find out the hard way....that rather than grumbling.....maybe they just should have been grateful. But then again....what do I know?

After traveling through this maze of thought....and finally quieting the conversation in my head.....I realized that waking up on a Monday is not such a bad thing. Heck.....in fact waking up any day is a wonderful thing. Having a roof over my head, a car to drive, food on the table and clothes on my back....are also pretty awesome things....and finally.....having a job in an economy where jobs just may get a whole lot more scarce....well that is just nothing to whine about at all. So maybe next time the voice in my head tells me to whine.....I will remember that other voice and ask myself..."would you prefer the alternative?"

4 comments:

LisaAnne said...

I just love reading your thoughts. And I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the reality check.

downsfamily4 said...

Ditto to LisaAnne. Spot-on.

Becca Rowden said...

Love it!!

Donna B said...

Right on...we all need to contemplate the alternative...