It’s TunesDay and time to pause from our work day to celebrate a bit of music. Since it’s a business blog, work will be our subject today and the Rolling Stones will be our instructors. There was a lovely moment during the concert following the 9/11 disaster during which Mick and Keith came out to play a song from Beggar’s Banquet. It spoke loudly to the audience of police and firefighters as well as to any of us who have ever gone to work:
The “salt of the earth” line comes from the Bible, of course, but it’s the “salt” imagery which prompted the thought today. Salt has always been incredibly valuable throughout human history. Once people could begin to preserve food, they could begin to explore and travel long distances without worrying about having enough to eat or to go hunting or foraging. Certain cultures used it as currency and although Roman soldiers were not paid in salt (they were given money with which to buy salt), it’s the genesis of the expression “worth his salt.” People fought wars over it and many cities were built on mining, producing, and trading salt. Impressive for something so common and inexpensive now. Which leads to my thought.
In a time when technology has made productivity incredibly high, I think many of us tend to devalue work and workers. Specifically, some managers believe that the people who provide that hard work are interchangeable pieces, common and inexpensive like salt. However, it’s those hard-working people that keep businesses going. To carry the salt analogy a bit further, when a dish lacks salt, the flavor isn’t fully developed and the dish lacks brightness. When we devalue the labor force, our businesses turn out the same way.
Mick and Keith put it very well:
Raise your glass to the hard-working people
Let’s drink to the uncounted heads
Let’s think of the wavering millions
Who need leading but get gamblers instead
Given the economic crisis and part of the reason it happened, that’s quite well put, especially 40 years before the crisis occurred! Regardless if you’re the chef or the cook, the boss or the intern, I’m raising a glass to the hard work you do today. Who’s with me?