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August 8, 2011

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Do you know this man? I’m willing to bet  you do. I’ll explain in a moment.

Bottling Line

I know that many, perhaps most, of the readers of this blog are women, but this post is a bit different in that I’m speaking to the men. These are dark times for our entire country, but most of all for those of you who have been hit by unemployment. I know how that feels and count myself fortunate to be working when so many good men are not.

You worked hard, brought home your pay, built a life, and now that everything is threatened I wish that I could tell you that I’m about to reveal the secret to getting back to work. I’m afraid I’m completely unqualified for that task, but there are a few things I do know that are worth saying:

Remember who you are. You are the latest addition to an ancient line of winners.  Every man in your line stretching back to a time before history, was a winner. If that weren’t so you wouldn’t be here.  They survived, prospered, and prepared the world for you. You are not less than they were. You’re a winner. Don’t let anyone, especially you, say otherwise.

Look around. I see the greatest nation in the history of God’s earth; mighty, strong, and good. It wasn’t Divine Providence that made America so, it was the strong backs and iron will of her men–men like you. In only 100 years from 1800 to 1900, this nation turned a continent from wilderness to a world power and the envy of the globe.  We haven’t changed and we haven’t run out of men.

It’s a mancession. Men have lost 192 jobs for every 100 jobs that women have lost in this recession. The sorts of jobs men gravitate towards have been the hardest hit. That means it will be a man-sized recovery when it comes; and it will come. You’ll be ready.

So, who is the cocky young guy in the photo? I admit it’s unlikely you know him; but I’m fairly certain you know someone just like him. In 1974 he lost his job when the the only company for which he had ever worked shut down. He was 55 years old. He had 4 of seven children still living at home. Unemployment was high. The economy in his home town was consistently awful. And yet, somehow, he survived. I don’t know how he managed, who he had to ask for work, what moments of despair he may have felt, or how his pride suffered. It didn’t matter. His family was fed and in the end he stepped over the finish line of his life as a winner. I know this because that man was my father. Perfect? No. Tough as nails? You bet. There’s plenty more just like him and there’s plenty of work needed to set this country aright.

You’re just the man for the job.


Linking to:

Encouraging Words Wednesday

19 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2011 10:05 pm

    Wow! What a great post Thomas. I hadn’t thought much about how this tough economy has affected men in particular, though I have given much thought to how it has affected families. I’m certain that, although the majority of readers are women, they will certainly forward this post on to many men for whom it will be a source of encouragement. What a nice tribute to your father too!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    August 8, 2011 10:08 pm

    He is The Forgotten Man, as the title of the book goes. I pray that we’re raising our son to mimic his work ethic. It cannot be faked, like so many other things can. It’s the only thing that can redeem our nation, save God. I pray he wills it so.

  3. Jennifer permalink
    August 8, 2011 10:11 pm

    Deb, that was AMAZING. Seriously! I’m actually going to send this link to my brother; he will really appreciate it. Very well written and so true.

    Upcoming post about our new addition…you’ll have to check in a day or two. 🙂

  4. August 8, 2011 10:22 pm

    Wow…just WOW! What a wonderful post. So encouraging.

  5. August 8, 2011 11:07 pm

    Did you read my mind? Can’t tell you how much this post means to me personally. My husband has been unemployed for almost a year. But there is a job at the end of this month, and can I tell you? we are thankful. for all of it. the past year has brought fear and the unknown and yet it has also offered peace and love and laughter – all mixed up together – it has brought us closer and stronger as a family. thank you for this beautiful tribute to men. I feel like you wrote if for us. xoxo michele

    p.s. Hope you enjoy Every Day By The Sun as much as I did.

  6. August 8, 2011 11:14 pm

    Brilliant! Spot on. Needs to go to someone who will post this for the world to see.

    I adore you brain and how well you put things down for all of us to learn from.

    Hug GF


  7. August 9, 2011 6:37 am

    Amazing, heartfelt post…
    What a tribute to your dad and so many others….
    Lisa xo
    Bilancai Designs

  8. laurie permalink
    August 9, 2011 6:50 am

    Thank you for this post (I am a woman). I will be linking to fb to share with the men I know or at least the women can share with the men they know. Unemployment has hit me, sadly, and it is the most worrysome time in my life! Two and a half college degrees later I sit hours a day worrying, searching, talking, networking, posting, researching, penny-pinching looking for work in a one of the most demanding and highly charged fields out there! My light at the end of the tunnel? …relocating to another state! Even at that I am leaving with nothing lined up and a pocket full of hope. I am not a man. I do not “support” my family fully but contributed to the working function of it and cannot imagine those families out there who’s man has lost his job. I pray for all you who deserve a decent job earning due pay to support and love your family as you intended to while taking nothing for granted. Bless you all and God willing you will be given your fair share of the marketplace!

  9. August 9, 2011 6:55 am

    Oh Deb — this is a keeper. It speaks to so many of us; my husband was out of work for half of 2010 — no picnic, and the “new” job isn’t as good as the old one . . . and we will probably not be able to retire till we’re 78 . . . but we are so lucky nonetheless.

    But for a guy who had never had to apply for a job after his first one, who was tapped on the shoulder and lured to each new job as it came along and than — to be tossed out with 600 other in a wholesale division clearing-out, was very difficult. The loss of income was the least of it –it was the loss of what was so much a part of his identity that was so awful. I think men are more likely than women to tie their identity and self-esteem up with their livelihood. I wish I’d had this to show him a year ago. Beautiful.

    Thank you — what a lovely way to start the day, on a high note, especially with the doom-and-gloom market news this week. Perfect timing.

    Best … Cass

  10. August 9, 2011 8:54 am

    Very poignant.

  11. August 9, 2011 9:07 am

    Thomas, thank you for that post. Although my husband is not unemployeed he is self employeed. The economy has hit some of his customers very hard and so in turn they can not pay him as quickly as we would like. Sometimes he “forgets” to bill them and other times they barter. My husband works non-stop, 7 days a week. Sometimes I feel like I’m married to George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I know somehow it will all work out in the end…

  12. August 9, 2011 7:54 pm

    I ‘skim’ over lots of blog content but when I come here, I know that I will slow down and enjoy every single word you have written. There is always a great uplifting message and I love that about you and your blog.

    How I would love for you to really come to Alabama and go junking with me!

  13. August 9, 2011 8:58 pm

    As usual another well written and thought out post. You always know the right words to say for any occassion. I think every man in the country could use these words of wisdom. It is hard to be the tough one all the time. It is nice to know that while they are somewhat hard shelled, their family can see their soft gooey inside.

  14. August 9, 2011 11:07 pm

    Excellent post! This is filled with wisdom and encouragement. I will be sharing this…

  15. Liz permalink
    August 11, 2011 8:41 am

    Thanks for this beautifully-written tribute. My dear hub has needed it a few times in the last few years so I’m going to hang onto it & send it to him as a reminder as needed. It’s perfect!
    Thanks again,

  16. August 11, 2011 9:31 am

    Oh Thomas! Where has my dear friend been keeping you? You brought tears to my eyes.
    Hardworking Mr. Decor worked past 11 pm last night and was up at 5 am this morning. All to keep a job we desperately need. He does whatever it takes. This is such a blessing given that the phone line for my interior design business hasn’t rung in close to two years now.

    We are a nation of spoiled people and in many ways I am thankful we are now being taught what it is to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps.

    Perserverence. It’s the key.

  17. August 12, 2011 9:44 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post and linking it to my Encouraging Words Wednesday. It was perfect!!

  18. August 15, 2011 9:03 pm

    You couldn’t be more right! There is job loss for reasons more than you stated. My father was a Printer, and I can’t help but to feel that technology is actually going to be the death of this nation. Kindle, and other “book tablets” are putting printing companies out of business, and shrinking the number of employees at publishing houses. It is terrible, what they are doing to books! It makes me think of Fahrenheit 451, or worse Hitler burning books! Trust me, I have missing bones, ligaments and some muscle in my left wrist, holding up and book to read causes me pain after a few pages, and I know that the kindle can be held in one hand and it is lightweight, BUT I will NEVER switch to it from real books!
    Every time I read a book, I think of my Dad, grew up during the depression, at the age of 16 he went off to Oregon to help build bridges and roads in the “Civilian Conservation Corp”, dropped out of HS in his senior year to work and help his family. (the parents already gone, his mom died when he was 5 and his dad when he was 12) and then onto the navy to fight in WWII. Dad was only 5’3″ and it took 3 trips to the recruitment center and putting lifts in his shoes and standing on tippy toes to get accepted, he was so determined.
    He was an avid reader and encouraged it in all of us. He was a hard worker and good provider sometimes working 2 jobs. my mom, basically the same story but even harder…save for another time.
    My point is we are putting our own citizens out of work, first we get these robots to be on the phone for companies, taking receptionist, and switchboard etc. jobs from people, and now the printers etc.

    Awesome post Deborah!

  19. September 16, 2011 10:02 am

    Finding Deborah brought me to this site. What a blessing to find her husband writing such a wonderful story. My husband and I are retired and we sit on the back porch and look at God’ Blessings. We watch the news and ask what has happened to the people that want and want, but do not want to work. We know what it is to work because we were brought up that way. No hand outs. Was it tough to grow up like that, maybe, but I am so glad that our parents taught us what responsibility was.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Bless your family.

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