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CAREER MOVES

by Gerry McCarthy

Several months ago I attended a social gathering at a friend’s home. After the obligatory questions about our livelihoods were addressed, the conversation turned to our children.

     The burning issue for one couple centered on their children’s plans for university. To my surprise, one parent expressed a deep reluctance to offer any advice to their children. The reason was clear: they were afraid to steer them into something which might not be lucrative.

     Nowhere in the discussion was the issue of meaningful work, or the common good raised. Instead, the terrifying fear of people making under six figures a year hovered in the air like a black cloud.

     I thought of this discussion recently when I noticed an item in the Catholic New Times about Cesar Chavez. The report explained that the founder of the United Farm Workers never earned more than $5,000 a year. But when Chavez died in 1993, “His funeral was the largest of any labour leader in U.S. history. People came in caravans from Florida to California
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