The Relationship Between Work, Intelligence, and Social Class

For a period of time while I was in high school, I worked as clerk at a major retail chain.  Because it was a large company, everything was organized by many scripts and protocols.  It was a disorienting environment; my manager would sometimes stand over my shoulder, and if I did something off-script (no matter how inconsequential it seemed) she would reprimand me.  We were sometimes given an excessive amount of work to do within a single shift.  It was a much different experience than working at a Mom and Pop store, which I have also done.  Even though my coworkers at the major retail chain were all people capable of more intellectually challenging labor, many of them were unable to afford college—and therefore access to better job opportunities.  Working-class people are not necessarily less intelligent, but intelligence alone is not enough to get better work.


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