The French Way

James H. Cagle
704 Jones St. Ray City, Ga. 31645

(229) 269-2993

Peter J. McGuire in 1882 proposed the celebration of a “Labor Day.”   By 1894, it had been adopted by 31 states, and Congress made it a national holiday that same year.
Contrary to what many people think, work isn’t bad for you, it’s the hand-outs that destroy ones incentive to work that’s bad.
God gave Adam work before the fall, so work is not a result of sin and its curse.  There are two things God made with His hands.  He made Adam and He planted a garden (Gen. 2:8).  And putting Adam to work tilling and dressing the Garden of Eden (Gen.2:15) was very good, like everything else God did.  God gave Adam plenty to eat in the garden but He was not going to let him be a free-loader.  God gave Adam a task and responsibility because such things are necessary for our development.
I read a column written by Dale McFeatters titled, “France, a relaxed approach to work.”  Dale wrote the response of Maurice Taylor, the U.S. Head of Titan International Inc., when he was approached by Arnaud Montebourg, the French minister of industry, to take over a Goodyear Plant in France that had begun shutting down.  Maurice Taylor’s response was “How stupid do you think we are?  The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours.  They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.”  The response that the French union made to Taylor’s comment was “That’s the French way.”
My first thought when I read this, was that the French way is also quickly becoming the American way.  One of the biggest problems that the business person in America faces is finding good hard-working employees, who are loyal and will give a day’s work for a day’s pay.  It’s very hard to find employees who have the slightest inkling of what “work ethics” and “work culture” are.  So let me tell you.
“Work ethics” are the standards set at a place of employment that are followed by the employees, such as punctuality, taking breaks only at break times, taking care of company business when on company time, job safety, and each employee striving to do their part to meet or exceed the company’s goals; it’s a spirit of professionalism.  When these and other standards are in place and adhered to a work environment is created that’s called a “work culture” that’s conducive for a company’s success.  Every business without doubt, has a “work culture” good or bad, that’s created by the employees “work ethics.”   Work ethics are first taught at home by giving young people responsibilities and then seeing that they are carried out in the way described.
And showing up for work does not mean showing up at ones place of employment and then seeing how much money they can make doing nothing.  The employer wants to see what the employee can do personally by their industriousness to help their vision of success become a reality.  That will be hard to do if one hand is used to hold up ones pants and the other hand is used for holding up a cell phone.  Those who think being cool is more important than being employed aren’t ready for work.
I just recently retired. Not because of bad health or any personal issues. My main reason for retiring was the bad work ethic young people bring to the work place. I got tired of working with people who didn’t want to work.
“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.” – Whately

The Watchman Who Was Sleeping

Murderous waves come crashing loudly,
Roaring up the steep cliff wall,
Driving down to meet the coral,
Amidst what sounds like siren calls.
Circling ‘round to gain momentum,
With monstrous force, to bruise and rip
On the bones of former victims,
This man struggling within its grip.
The sea foams with hideous laughter,
As if possessed with demonic joy;
Beating, battering, unrelenting,
This soul like a worthless toy.
He calls out for one to save him,
But mocking winds drown his cry;
On the rocks, his ship is keeling,
On his mind a mystery lies.
Where’s the lighthouse he remembers,
That once shone upon this shore,
Guiding him beyond this peril,
To safe harbor and the moor?
Hope is lost as death looms nearer
To make his bed in a watery grave;
Merciless waves seize their captive
As the ocean takes her prey.
But ere he’s pulled beneath the tempest,
Moonlight bathes the rocky bluff,
And what he saw struck him with horror,
As his trusting heart is cuffed.
For there he saw the lighthouse towering
As before, on stormy nights;
But now, in Stygian darkness,
Gazes pitiless on his plight.
While the sea lifts high its victim
To crush his life in rocky fjord,
He screams words at his betrayer
That only God in heaven records.
“Curse and curse the worthless lighthouse,
Strong, but dark, amidst the storm,
And the keeper sleeping in it,
By whose neglect, to Hell I’m borne.”
Last, the ocean takes the plaintiff
And holds him ‘til his struggles cease,
Then hands him through eternity’s door,
From where there is no release.
The sailor is another witness,
Passing on through endless night,
That the watchman who was sleeping
Is guilty of soul-damning slight.
       James H. Cagle ©

One Comment on “The French Way”

  1. You hit the nail on the target, man. We have a small business in Snellville, GA and it is hard to find young people who are willing to “get dirty” and “work hard.” We pay a good, hourly wage for starters, and provide good basic training. I wouldn’t be surprised if these “lazy, laid back so-called employees” end up with chronic health issues early in life because he/she is not willing to put his/her hand to the plow and get to work. Another problem is the chronic drug issue–parents/loved ones think they are helping their child by enabling him/her and continue to bail the person out of jail, etc. without allowing that person to face the consequences of his/her actions and “wake up” from the downward spiral he/she has fallen into. If a company doesn’t have a good workforce, the company will/can go down. Yes, good employees are an asset and a good employer recognizes, appreciates and rewards that employee for his/her contribution(s).

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