“My low-skilled workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those who work at Dunkin’ Donuts — They don’t have the academic skills to sit in a corner office.” — New York City Mayor Eric Adams, 1/4/22
I’ve learned a lot about this great city and its resilient people in my first week as mayor. Though the world and this country remain in crisis as the pandemic drags on, I strongly believe in the will of all New Yorkers to rise to the occasion and keep our city afloat.
Now more than ever, we need low-skilled, easily replaceable employees to return to work immediately. If they fail to do so, our city, economy, and society will swiftly crumble. These workers do not possess the academic skills to sit behind a desk. We need them to make the coffee and shine the shoes of the important, educated workers who sit behind desks and send typo-ridden emails for eight hours a day.
This is the only way the New York City economy stands a chance.
For example, if an accountant and a barista switched places, society would collapse. The accountant would become so overwhelmed by the high volume of orders that he would confuse the regular milk with the oat milk, thus putting real milk in a highly lactose-intolerant crane operator’s latte.
A few hours later, the crane operator, sixty-two feet in the air, feels a sudden rumble in his stomach that alerts him to the danger below. Unfortunately for the city, the toilet also lays far below. It’s too late. The crane careers into a pole that is attached to a wire that is attached to a switch that controls the city’s main power grid. The crane operator walks away without a scratch. The entire city plunges into darkness.
The barista would be totally fine as an accountant. They majored in accounting at NYU.
If a street cleaner and an investment banker switched places for a day, complete chaos would ensue. First, the investment banker has never held a broom before. She thinks a dustpan is a new shoe from Balenciaga. Which it is, but that’s not the point here. Think Eighth Avenue is already kind of dirty? We’re just getting started.
As the investment banker turned street cleaner fails to do her job, a man is walking down the street, trips on a discarded New York Times, and badly sprains his ankle. The man? Tom Holland. With Spider-Man out of commission, all of Hollywood is out of a job. Never mind that the streets of New York are still filthy.
The street cleaner turned investment banker just yells “stocks” over and over until his voice is hoarse. He gets promoted the next day, quits, and then retires to a mansion in Scarsdale.
If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a fish to do data entry, you soon realize that a fish really cannot sit in a corner office and you may have taken this metaphor too far.
This is precisely why uneducated workers with no practical skills must put their health at risk for the greater good of our city. They cannot sit in a corner office. They need this. And we need them, even though we aren’t offering them any other protection or benefits aside from devaluing their integral importance to the daily functioning of our society.
Don’t be selfish and put your health above that of the city that’s doing nothing to help you.