Megan Bodenschatz

You Better Work: The Importance and Dignity of Work

When I was in high school I wanted to go on a school trip to France. I need to pay for it, so I got my first job at McDonald’s. After school I would put on a teal polo shirt and black visor emblazoned with a bright yellow “M” and go to work to earn some cash.

I was reminded of this recently, when my mom announced that she’d found a trip to France to go on and she wanted me to go with her. Of course I said yes, but as I looked at my budget I realized that even though I have a full time job, I was really going to need to earn some more money if I wanted to go. As Britney Spears recently advised, “You wanna… party in France, you better work.”[1]

You wanna buy something? You need some money.

So I’ve gotten a part-time job, because this is how the world works. If you want to buy a car, get your nails done, or go to the movies you need to pay for it with money. If you don’t have enough money, you need to get some from somewhere, usually by working.

Recently, some New Yorkers discovered former Disney Channel star Dylan Spouse (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) working at a restaurant. He hasn’t run out of money, he says, he’s just working “to feed my over bountiful video game addiction.” In other words, he loves video games (which are mad expensive), and rather than spend the money he’s probably living off of and saving for retirement, he got a job to pay for them. Because if you want something, you have to work for it.

If you don’t have to work…

If you’re living with your parents you may not have to work to get the things you want. Maybe they buy all your video games. There are still some great reasons to work though. For one thing, spending a few hours freezing your fingers off at the Drive-Thru window makes you appreciate all the hard work your parents do to put a roof over your head.

It also gives you experience in a workplace — like how to get along with others and follow your manager’s orders. You may even get a reference for college, or your next job. And lastly, it’s never too early to start saving money. Trust me.

The Dignity of Work

Work, however, is more than just a means to earn money to buy things. Work is part of God’s plan for us to find fulfillment in our lives and to build up society. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

“Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God and called to prolong the work of creation by subduing the earth, both with and for one another” (2427).

Pope Francis said,

“Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person. Work, to use an image, ‘anoints’ us with dignity, fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts…”[2]

When we work we also become worthy of honor and respect.

So whether you’re working to pay for your mini-golf habit (if only that windmill was a little slower!) or working to save for the future, remember that it not only a means to an end but also part of the greater plan of God.

[1] This is the best piece of advice in that song. The rest, unsurprisingly, is inappropriate; the music video even more so.
[2] Feast of St. Joseph the Worker and World Labor Day, 5/1/13

Categories: Beauty of WorkJobs and MoneyMy Life


Megan Bodenschatz

About the Author

I will read anything that stands still long enough. I also love going to the movies, meeting people from other countries, and spending time with my 16 cousins. I usually win the "Youngest-Person-at-Daily-Mass Award" whenever I go.