Feb 16, 2011

A job is a job

Repo Men, the 2010 movie with Jude Law and Forrest Whittaker, gives a chilling meaning to the common phrase "a job is a job." Their job is to track down organ recipients behind on the payments and repossess said organs. It's a Taser job, quick but far from painless, and Law's character Remy is the best repo man there is until he unwittingly gets a new heart (and a massive debt) of his own.

Along with the literal heart comes something strange to him, an inability to do at all what he had been doing unflinchingly before. It's a compassionate "heart" he finds, and Whittaker's character grows impatient with Remy's complete loss of the attitude that repo men need, that a job is a job.

I can't remember the exact quote but at one point Remy corrects his partner by saying something to the effect that a job is not just a job, that what you do is what you are. Although the movie has been panned as awful, I got a lot out of this particular pearl of wisdom. I came away determined to remind myself that even though what I do is defined not by my Joe-job but rather what I choose to do when I can, what my Joe-job has me do does in fact matter.

By the way, Joe-job is a wonderful phrase I picked up either from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure or from Wayne's World, I forget which movie. Clearly I am not just into touchy-feely sensitive flicks, but I usually find stuff to think about in even the flimsiest fodder.

Would I execute people for a living? Would I be a prison guard? Would I deny coverage to people with health insurance? I won't condemn those who do these things, but I can choose not to do those things myself. Should I keep doing what I do now for my Joe-job, or should I pursue a job with more social relevance? Should I be willing to work for less, not that I'm making all that much now, to make a change in that direction?

To be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Good writing, Ted, and some thoughts to consider... this from a first-time reader of your blog, Brian Kelly in Oklahoma. Your blog shows a keen mental organization of some complex topics; such organization is a rare skill, indeed. I too keep shelves of books (mine both read and un-read); each book is like a memory of a friendship past. Thanks for aiming me to your website.