An 89-year-old’s plea for a job shows the dignity of work
An 89-year-old’s plea for a job shows the dignity of work
Jul 13, 2024 6:23 PM

Joe Bartley

An 89-year-old Englishman has taken out an ad seeking a part-time job, so that he can experience the dignity and independence of work – and get off of public assistance.

Joe Bartley, a World War II veteran, caught the UK’s attention after he placed the following advertisement in his hometown newspaper, the Herald Express:

Senior citizen 89 seeks employment in Paignton area. 20hrs+ per week. Still able to clean, light gardening, DIY and anything. I have references. Old soldier, airborne forces. Save me from dying of boredom!

Bartley served in the armed forces before going into the private sector. He briefly retired at the age of 70, but within months he took another job, which he relinquished at the age of 83.

Two years ago his wife, Cassie, died, and without family he found himself alienated and bored watching the “guff” on television. He’d rather have a job, “meeting people, making friends” while being productive. “I want a purpose to go out and the pride of having a job to go to five or six days a week,” he said.

He also wants to stop relying on the government to pay his rent. If he could work, “I would feel more like Joe,” Mr. Bartley said. “Now I don’t feel like Joe, because I’ve got to depend on the council for rent and everything else.”

“I am on housing benefit but I would much rather work and pay my own way, which I have done my whole life. I am old fashioned like that,” he said.

His words are proof that Britain’s greatest generation still has lessons to teach the world.

As Mr. Bartley knows, working provides physical and psychological benefits. A 2009 study “found that employed retirees report levels of health, well-being, and life satisfaction on par with those who have not yet retired — despite age differences.” A nation such as the UK, facing the challenges of a government-run healthcare system, has every incentive to improve the health of its elderly. Sadly, in the United States, Social Security discourages work, especially among its youngest (and presumably healthiest) retirees.

His generation’s increasingly inert progeny should note the emptiness of anonymous, atomized entertainment. One study found that “social isolation is a major risk factor for mortality from widely varying causes.” Truly, “it is not good for man to be alone.” On the other hand, numerous researchers have discovered that people’s sense of well-being correlates with their points of social connection – especially relationships that carry responsibilities to others. Co-workers and employers can provide such relationships.

Irrespective of the transient emotional aspects of any given workplace, labor itself ennobles the laborer. That is one fundamental point that Pope Francis understands. “We get dignity from work,” he said this year. “Work is fundamental to the dignity of the person. Work … fills us with dignity, makes us similar to God Who has worked and still works.”

If work – even well past retirement age – brings life and well-being, then idleness and government dependence produce the opposite effects. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote in Caritas in Veritate that being “dependent on public or private assistance for a prolonged period undermines the freedom and creativity of the person and his … social relationships, causing great psychological and spiritual suffering.” Psychological studies found that leaving welfare had a positive mental and emotional impact on the newly employed.

Although he certainly earned his retirement, this octagenarian’s story shows the longing for independence and self-sufficiency knows no age limit – and sees no honest work as unseemly. “Even though I am 89, I can still work,” he said. “I can work a hoover; I can clean tables, some gardening – anything really.”

Mr. Bartley clearly recognizes how his labor adds value to others and sees that the road to relieving his sorrow lies in serving others.

He said he wants to work 20 to 25 hours a week, not merely perform odd jobs. As of this writing, he is said to be fielding several offers.

“I like a laugh – and I like a happy ending,” he said.

Here’s hoping he gets one.

The principles that defined the West will be the subject of the Acton Institute’s “Crisis of Liberty in the West” Conference at the Bloomsbury Hotel in London on Thursday, December 1. The conference is free but its sponsors – the Acton Institute; the Institute of Economic Affairs; and St. Mary’s University, Twickenham – require all attendees to register in advance. You can register here or watch a Livestream the day of the conference.

Welcome to mreligion comments! Please keep conversations courteous and on-topic. To fosterproductive and respectful conversations, you may see comments from our Community Managers.
Sign up to post
Sort by
Show More Comments
Video: Sirico Discusses Multiculturalism on Cavuto
Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico made an appearance on Thursday afternoon on Fox News Channel’s Your World with Neal Cavuto. Recently, Cavuto has been addressing the topic of multiculturalism in recent shows, featuring guests like Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party in Great Britian, and Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom share deep concerns about the impact of multicultural philosophy and policy on our cultural cohesion. Yesterday, Neil Cavuto asked...
How to Turn Corn into Cars
Imagine if a scientist was able to create technology that turns corn into cars. As economist Bryan Caplan explains, we already have such an innovation: foreign trade. Caplan argues that foreign trade is a form of technology that lowers our cost of living and increases our standard of living. In fact, claims Caplan, from a broader perspective trade is even better than most technology since it not only makes us better off, it makes foreigners better off too. ...
Kill The Girls, Traffick The Girls
India’s culture, like many others, prefers boys. Not only do they carry on the family name, they don’t cost the family a dowry. (Dowries are officially outlawed in India, but the practice continues.) There is a cottage industry in India of ultrasound machines: if it’s a boy, celebrate! If it’s a girl….the response is often abortion, and “try again.” Like China, India is now suffering the consequences of gendercide. There are not enough brides for the young men of India....
Where Have All The Children Gone?
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” discusses how the Obama Administration has refused to release information regarding the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children who have entered the U.S. recently. These children are being sent to munities across the country for shelter and education, but Attkisson says that facts about where the children are going, how much its costing, and other pertinent public information is hard e by. Attkisson discusses the situation in the clip...
Should Prisons Be Purgatorial?
“If Christians cannot help prisoners find meaning behind bars,” wonders Stephen H. Webb, “how can they expect the Gospel to find an audience among those never convicted of a crime?” At First Things, Webb argues that revival of Christianity will e when we reform America’s prisons: Prisoners are test cases of how Christians deal with sinners in extremis. I don’t just mean passion for the imprisoned can serve as a corroboration of Christian charity, although that is surely true. I...
Notes on the Question of Inequality
French economist Thomas Piketty This summer’s issue of The City, which includes an article by myself on Orthodoxy and ordered liberty, opens with a symposium of five articles on “The Question of Inequality.” These include two articles on Pope Francis, two on French economist Thomas Piketty’s recent bookCapital in the Twenty-First Century, and one on the Bible. Having recently written a two part article on the subject for the Library of Law & Liberty (here and here), I took copious...
7 Figures: Prevalence of Violence Against Children
The UNICEF report Hidden in Plain Sight, which draws on the pilation of data on violence against children, reveals the disturbing prevalence of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children around the globe. According to the report the effects of violence on children are often lasting and have inter-generational repercussions. Findings reveal that exposed children are more likely to e unemployed, live in poverty, and be violent towards others. The authors of the report note that the data is derived...
Helping No One By Being Socially Aware And Active
If you were told by your doctor to lose weight, you’d likely do what most people do: exercise more and eat healthier food. Jason Scott Jones and John Zmirak have a better plan in mind: Step 1: Start a fitness blog, collecting the best arguments you can find against obesity. Step 2: Comb the Bible, Pope Francis’ Tweets, and the work of your fellow bloggers, for the choicest quotes on the deadly sin of Gluttony. Then post them in ments...
‘Helping Families:’ Let The Government Have Your Kids
Universal daycare. Universal preschool. Regulations on school lunches. Bans on bake sales. Don’t bring ibuprofen to school. The government knows all about keeping your kids safe and educated. (And the underlying note is that you don’t know enough.) In yesterday’s New York Times, law professor Clare Huntington extols the virtues of government child-rearing. While she does acknowledge that families are the “ultimate” preschool, she quickly recovers by adding that our society just makes things too darn hard for parents to...
Video: Todd Huizinga on Russia and Ukraine.
Todd Huizinga, Acton Institute’s director of international outreach, was a guest analyst recently on Newsmakers, a public affairs program produced by WGVU television in Grand Rapids, Mich. Episode description from Aug. 22: “As tensions heighten between Russia and Ukraine, what is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s worldview and what role does Ukraine play in it? How has the shoot down of Malaysia Airline flight 17 killing 298 on board changed the dynamics of the conflict? We explore the internal and external...
Related Classification
Copyright 2023-2024 - www.mreligion.com All Rights Reserved