‘Hard working people’ doesn’t work for me…


The Hairy Housewife:

As of late I’ve been feeling a little disparate and very much like a burden on the tax payer, in spite of knowing perfectly well that I can’t change things and that it isn’t my fault. This is a very timely reminder for me that – actually – I earn every penny of my disability payments simply by trying to live as normal a life as possible. Recovering from serious epilepsy-related injuries takes time and a good deal of effort on the part of my body’s system and this often leaves me too weak to get out of bed, if I haven’t broken something and am just unable to get out of bed anyway. I am no wimp, thank you very much, so if I say that I am incapacitated for any reason then it means that I am incapacitated!

And I work hard, every day, just at getting better and trying to shuffle about as normally and as safely as I can.

Originally posted on Paul Bernal's Blog:

There are few expressions that annoy me more than ‘hard working people’ – and few that we hear more in the current political climate. There are so many things wrong with it that it’s hard to know where to start…

What is ‘work’?

That the first question for me. What is ‘work’? What does it mean to work ‘hard’? Is paid work the only work that counts – because that’s the way that it often sounds. Certainly the implication is that housework, caring for kids, caring for relatives, for older people, for people who are sick or disabled, doesn’t ‘count’ – and yet for anyone who’s ever done much of that (and I doubt that many of the people who roll out the trite expression ‘hardworking people’ have ever experienced much of this) it’s every bit as ‘hard’ as any kind of paid work, every bit as stressful, every bit…

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About The Hairy Housewife

Media volunteer for Epilepsy Action (UK) and advocate for both epilepsy and autism awareness. Seamstress, cross-stitcher, sci-fi lover, ukulele player and Chelmsford's own Pickling Pagan who wants to inherit a TARDIS when she grows up. In the process of writing an as yet unnamed book, with anecdotes and information about being epileptic and autistic - and seeing the funny side! Also an entertainment journalist for What Culture, where I write about Doctor Who.
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4 Responses to ‘Hard working people’ doesn’t work for me…

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Just keep smiling and all will eventually be well. xxxxxxxx

  2. argylesock says:

    You’re right. I come up against this internalised message too, and it hurts. It’s the Protestant Work Ethic – there’s probably a Catholic equivalent but I grew up Protestant. Another version is the American Dream. Work hard and you can get to the top.

    Just now in our country the Work Ethic is being used to attack disabled people like us. Of course you earn every penny of your crip benefits, in fact, I think you earn them many times over.

  3. Not forgetting that as you have worked in the past and you have paid NI and taxes, you’re actually getting what support you deserve and need. Xx

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