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Friday, July 01, 2005 

I wanna bomb the pyramids

Auto workers don’t have a burning passion to make cars.

You can tell this by observing them at work, which is what I’ve been doing for the last month and a half. I watch them because I’m there and I’m an observer by nature, a sociologist by education and a journalist by training. My observations haven’t been systematic or scientific, but they are telling.

Here’s what you see. You see people counting the minutes until their next break, the hours until the shift ends and the days until their next vacation. You see people quietly rejoicing when the line stops or breaks down. You see people walking away from the line when the shift end buzzer sounds, even if their opposite from the next shift isn’t there yet. You see people on the job listening to MP3 players, talking on cell phones, zoning out or talking about things totally unrelated to work.

You see this and it’s obvious that people don’t work on the line in a car factory because they want to make cars. They do it because they want to make money.

Most of them started there young, just to make a few bucks and then go off and do what it was they really wanted to do in life. But the money was so good they were seduced into staying. There are many people on the line with university degrees who couldn’t find a job in their field that would pay them as much.

I hate to say it, but for many, the line is the death of potential. People trade their dreams for a pay cheque big enough to buy things they think they need for their families and themselves. In return, they help another corporation build another pyramid.