Merry Christmas, I’m Off to Work Today! But I Ain’t No Hero

Merry Christmas, I’m Off to Work Today! But I Ain’t No Hero

(On the Deromanticization of Service-Oriented Jobs)

Kelangan mo bang pumasok sa trabaho kahit na Pasko? Wag kang mag-alala—hindi ka nag-iisa. At isa pa, ginusto mo ang trabahong ’yan, kaya wag mong isiping isa kang bayani dahil nagtatrabaho ka at naglilingkod sa iba imbes na nagpapakasaya ka kasama ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay. Tutal e ikaw rin naman at ang iyong pamilya ang unang nakikinabang sa sweldong kinikita mo sa iyong trabaho.

While many people are enjoying their time off work during holidays such as Christmas day or the entire Christmas week, there are also many who need to go to their respective jobs. There are basically two reasons for this—for some, out of responsibility, and for others, out of necessity. There should be neither surprising nor embarrassing about this; and there is nothing heroic about it either. After all, any kind of job is basically self-serving—be it a soldier, a physician, a nurse, a police officer, a writer, a food server, a news reporter, a weather forecaster, a teacher, a security guard, a miner, an astronaut, or an overseas worker. It is the individual’s choice based on his educational background, skills, interests, or necessity or on whatever is in demand or available.

Doctors and nurses save lives—yes. Teachers educate students—yes. Soldiers, police officers, and security guards protect communities and properties—yes. Maintenance workers clean establishments and the environment—yes. But, all these workers are compensated accordingly. And all go to work primarily to earn money to pay for their cost of living and to support or help their respective families. Therefore, whatever job a person has—even if it is in the health-care field, religious-related, services-oriented, or government-funded—he is working basically to satisfy his interests and to meet his personal needs. True heroism doesn’t really exist. Hailing particular workers as heroes is for the most part only an attempt to stroke the back of the diligent worker so he works harder. There is really nothing heroic in any kind of jobs.

Out of Responsibility and the Nature of the Job

We usually hear quips or jokes from others that say some have to work on holidays because they needed extra money. While this might be true for some people, it does not apply to everyone. Some people go to work even on holidays because of responsibility; work schedules are often definite or rigid. For example, those like me who work at hospitals, where people-oriented services are continuous, have definite work schedules; so, if some special occasions fall on workdays and we couldn’t file for a vacation for whatever reason or we don’t have coworkers who could exchange shifts with us, we have no choice but to work on those days.

Out of Choice or Necessity

For others, going to work on holidays is a choice. Even if they are supposed to be off, but because they wanted to earn additional money on top of their usual salaries, they choose to pick up extra shifts. And there’s nothing wrong about this either. After all, perhaps everyone needs extra money, and one will work for this even if it meant missing an occasion, which he could catch up for with his loved ones anyway on another day. In the end, it’s usually a matter of time management—having the sense of decision on working extra on holidays (when pays are higher and incentives are available) versus taking extra hours off on ordinary days.

Sa Madaling Salita

Kung kinakailangan mong pumasok sa trabaho kahit na Pasko e wag mong isiping kawawa ka naman dahil hindi ka nag-iisa. Bumawi ka na lang sa araw na wala kang pasok. Tutal ang bawat okasyon naman e maaaring ipagdiwang sa araw na wala kang pasok o sa pagkakataong puwede kang lumiban sa iyong trabaho. At sa isang banda, kung kinakailangan o gusto mong pumasok kahit Pasko dahil dagdag na kikitain rin ito—e walang masama r’yan. Sino ba naman ang hindi gusto ng dagdag na panggastos?

At wag mo ring isipin na porke pumasok ka sa trabaho imbes na kapiling mo ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay e bayani ka na. Alalahanin mo—kaya ka naman talaga nagtatrabaho e para kumita ng pera; ang pagbibigay-serbisyo ay bahagi lang ng iyong trabaho. Ika nga, trabaho lang; walang personalan.

Or, in Simple Words

The next time it’s a holiday and you’re not working because you’re off, don’t think that everyone is spending his time at home or anywhere else and enjoying the holidays the way you do. Remember that services and activities are continuous 24 hours a day at people-oriented workplaces like hospitals, restaurants, and police stations. And workers go to work either because they are scheduled to do so or because they picked up extra shifts for additional earnings. No worker is a hero; after all, everyone is compensated for a job done.