Craig's Corner - Dignifying Work

Founding Principal and Managing Director, Craig Robson

Note from Regent Peak: The Wall Street Journal is cited in this report and the cited articles may require a subscription to view.

This spring, our oldest son secured his first paying job at the age of 16. For years he’s done household chores for his allowance, but this was his first real job! We are very proud of our son. We initially thought he was applying for a summer internship with no compensation, but through the interview process he was offered a job four days a week at the scuba dive shop, with pay! He is scuba certified, so this was a natural opportunity for him to work in a setting in which both he and the managers knew each other. It is a good fit for everyone. He still works there two to three days a week, while juggling his school and other activities.

I suspect we can all look back to our first paying job and remember the range of emotions we felt. My first job at 14 was washing dishes at a restaurant on the weekends. I felt excited, nervous, uncertain, and very proud to be making my own money. I’d love to hear about your first job and the feelings you experienced.

Fast forward to today, and I wonder if we, as a society, are forgetting all the benefits associated with working.

We currently have an inflationary theme within the US economy. Most of us know that when demand exceeds supply, we experience inflation. Consumer inflation is around 5%, easily surpassing the Federal Reserve’s goal of 2%.1 As I’ve addressed in a previous Craig’s Corner, the current inflationary environment may be directly correlated to multiple factors. Yet demand for workers is not one of those. According to the US Department of Labor, at the end of July there were 10.9 million unfilled jobs in the United States, easily exceeding the 8.7 million Americans unemployed and seeking jobs.2 Consumers have experienced the adverse consequences of worker shortages first hand with examples including:

  1. Restaurants closures or hours of operations being limited
  2. Supply chain disruptions initially felt in the manufacturing plants are limiting the ability for specific parts to be produced such as semi-conductors which are needed in cars, appliances, computers, etc.
  3. Large container ships lined up at sea waiting to enter their port destinations which contain manufacturing parts, electronics, etc.3

Economists can agree there are various reasons why individuals are not going back to work: COVID Delta variant, extended unemployment benefits, childcare needs, a mismatch between skills needed and skills available, and the list goes on.

I’m starting to wonder if another reason may be that we are not communicating the rewards of working. In my personal view, work should be dignified. Yet, I’m concerned it’s being degraded.

I’m not advocating working 90 hours a week, unless you want to work that many hours. Instead, putting in an honest days’ work should foster feelings of accomplishment, personal growth, intellectual and social stimulation, developing new friendships, and independence. I’m interested to learn your views on this.

I will close this Craig’s Corner with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who articulated my personal views quite well, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

Craig Robson

Founding Principal and Managing Director

[1] William A Galston, "What if Inflation is Here to Stay?" The Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2021,

[2] Eric Morath, "Job Openings Remain Robust, Though In-Person Postings Slipped in August," The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2021,

[3] Paul Page, "Port Logjams Reach Savannah as Container Ships Idle off Georgia Coast," The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2021,