Coronavirus is Bringing Back Respect for the Dignity of Work, by John Grondelski

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By John Grondelski, National Catholic Register, April 14, 2020

What the COVID-19 contagion is showing us is that there are no “junk jobs.”


You can tell when an idea captures public attention, at least for a minute: it gets turned into a picture on the masthead of Google’s search page. For several days, has featured hearts being tossed at people (today, sanitation workers and janitors) in recognition of their essential roles during the COVID-19 contagion.

Facebook, too, has been populated with similar sentiments, from the purely positive (“Thank you to those who serve!”) to the slightly partisan (“So, do you really still think they’re not worth $15/hour?”). I’ll take it. The important point is we’re bridging the work “respect gap.”

Oren Cass coined the concept “respect gap” in his 2019 book, The Once and Future WorkerThe “respect gap” refers to two distinct, but related phenomena: working versus being idle, and the kind of work we do. Cass argues — rightly, in my judgment — that we need to recover respect for both. ….

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