Monday, March 26, 2012

The Philosopher Kings

Documentary - 2009
(available on streaming Netflix as well as Hulu)

In search of wisdom found in unlikely places, The Philosopher Kings takes us on a journey through the halls of the most prestigious colleges and universities in America to learn from the staff members who see it all and have been through it all: the custodians. This thought-provoking, feature-length documentary interweaves the untold stories of triumph and tragedy from the members of society who are often disregarded and ignored, and seeks out the kind of wisdom that gets you through the day and the lessons one learns from surviving hard times, lost loves, and shattered dreams.
From the producers of the multiple-award winning Flight from Death,The Philosopher Kings gives us the opportunity to learn from eight incredible individuals whom we would never have otherwise taken a moment out of our day to acknowledge.
“A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.” ~ Chinese Proverb

I watched this documentary last night and fell in love with it. It is a really deep look into the untold stories that keep our Universities clean. The people behind the scenes that many people frown upon their occupation or think that that are somehow below them in the class system because they have chosen this occupation as a career. While I sat watching there were many times I was on the verge of tears. At the same time, I almost envied some of them. The woman that works at the University of Florida - When her segment came on in the butterfly sanctuary I turned to my husband and said I would LOVE her job. It seemed so serene and stress free. It had me questioning why we do some things we do.  

There is a girl at my job - who does most of the cleaning (obviously there are more than just her - but I think they all have different areas or different responsibilities of what to clean and what to do). I have often remarked to co-workers how I would trade my job for hers in a heart beat. They all normally look at me like I am crazy and some have given me this almost disgusted look. Like why on earth would you do that. Whenever I see her I look at her and smile and she always looks down at the ground and keeps walking. The other day  -the day of the "incident at work" She was actually in the bathroom when I was and I started talking to her while we washed our hands. She actually first looked around to make sure I was talking to her and gave me a very surprised look, like "whoa- this girl is talking to me?" I carried on a full conversation as we walked down the hall together, she was so nice and sadly I think it may have been the first time (besides her direct co-workers) that anyone has actually spoken to her without wanting something cleaned or handled. She really did seem shocked that I would think about talking to her. Why? Why is that shocking?

Why have we placed people that are in these occupations as less able or even sometimes eluding that they may be less intelligent? I think they are more intelligent! How many of us would love to be on our own through out the day, having specific tasks to handle - then going home without taking our work and stress with us? This movie just really stayed with me. Maybe because I see it everyday (and I'm sure many of you, if you work in the corporate world do as well) That the cubical employees look down upon the cleaning employees as inferior. You see it at one point in the movie. One of the guys goes into a room and grabs a trash bin, empties it and the whole time the woman doesn't even turn to acknowledge him. I saw that and actually got angry. Seriously, she couldn't even say "Hello, how are you?!" Nope - not even a turn and smile. Nothing. 

I wasn't raised to treat anyone as above or below me. We are all equal and whether you or a doctor with a fancy car or a street person asking for a handout, you will get treated the same by me. 

Obviously by my rant above - I think you know I'm going to say
"Watch this now!"