Labor Day sees difference among generations

By Tony Parra

The focus all year is on work, but this Monday will give United States and Roosevelt County residents an opportunity to relax instead of punching the clock at their jobs or attending classes. Residents focused in on work ethic and the meaning of Labor Day.
Many of today’s workers believe work ethic has changed and this will affect the workers of tomorrow. Portales Ace Hardware will be closed on Monday, but some workers will still have to work in the store on Labor Day.
“We’re trying to catch up,” Don Sena, Portales Ace Hardware co-owner, said. “We have to clean up and do some things that are hard to do during the work hours.”
Sena said Labor Day is a nice day for people to be able to enjoy, if they get the day off. Sena said it’s also good for the Ace employees who get the day off and for school teachers to have a break from the every-day routine.
“I’ve worked on Labor Days before,” Sena said, “so I’m used to it.”
It’s something Fry Urioste, manager of Auto Zone in Portales, is also used to. Urioste said he started working when he was in the sixth grade at a truck stop outside of San Jon, which is 77 miles north of Portales. Urioste was responsible for cleaning the kitchen, putting items away, preparing salads and making french fries.
“One day the person who was supposed to be doing it didn’t show up so they asked me if I could do it,” Urioste said. “They liked the job I did and asked if I could keep doing it.”
Urioste said he will be working on Labor Day and Auto Zone will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Regular business hours on Monday are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Urioste said the experience of having a job was invaluable to him and wishes today’s youth could have the same experience.
“It helped me a lot and I realized the value of a dollar,” Urioste said. “They’re (youth) handed everything (nowadays). When I bought my first car, I had to work for the money to pay for it. They don’t realize the value of a dollar.”
Sena said the problem has deeper effects on the teen’s development.
“It’s a lot different now than it was for me when I was a teenager,” Sena said. “It creates a void in their development. They need the experience before they get out into the world.”
Sena also said another major change which has affected today’s youth is technology and computers. He said it has eliminated the need for manual labor jobs and some youth believe this is a big reason why yesterday’s generation does not believe today’s generation works as hard.
“The times are not the same,” Eastern New Mexico University freshman Cole Parrish said. “I don’t think we (all) have to work manual labor jobs. It’s easier to make a living. There are people who make twice as much sitting behind a desk than those working manual labor jobs. I don’t want to work in construction all of my life.”
The development of work ethics for teenagers can be taught through the parents, but for ENMU freshman Manuel Sisneros, first-hand knowledge is the best teacher.
“The best way to learn is to experience it first-hand,” Sisneros said. “There are going to be times when you have no money and you’re going to have to do what you got to do to get money. I know my mom is always telling me to work, because she started working when she was young.”
Sisneros said for now he has chosen to attend ENMU and focus on classes. Sisneros and Parrish will not have to worry about classes on Monday at ENMU. However, others will be busy with work duties.
Sena and Urioste expressed the same sentiment about that prospect: “Sometimes if you have to work, you have to.”