Fewer men seemed to be coming into the Ford factory every day for work. The layoffs were becoming more and more of a threat, even to an exemplary employee like Elton Jennings. He took notice of who was missing off of the line each day, and did his best to compensate for their absence. He knew that the harder he worked, the lesser his chances were of loosing his own job.
He felt no great sense of loss for the employees who had been fired. He was indifferent to most of the men on staff. Elton had never really made friends with anyone at work, in particular. He was not unfriendly, not by any means, but he always kept to himself. It was safer for a man to keep to himself; he had decided that long ago. He seldom asked for help or sought direction from fellow employees and he certainly never accepted charity. The kindness of strangers made him feel uncomfortable. He assumed kindness was often time prompted by pity and his pride seldom allowed him to respond graciously as the recipient of such acts.
He was, by nature, an observer an attribute which, paired with his impeccable timing and a flawless work ethic, had spared from the plant lay offs thus far.
He had been reading the papers and studying the stocks quite diligently for the past few months, following the market crash. He understood the massive loss for what it was. He had no investments or stocks and was therefore not blinded by the false hope that many a powerful men were. He knew there was no quick fix or remedy with which to rely upon. The very nature of the beast that was capitalism relied upon the ever waxing and waning of the cultural economy for its success. Calling to mind the words of a hated professor from his earlier years, Elton had sadly come to understand the truth in what he had previously considered flippant cruelty, “Many must fail if a strong few wish to succeed.”
His professor lectured with conviction and yet seemed void of emotion on the principal. Elton often wondered, at the time, if the man had been secretly longing for someone to raise an argument against him. Elton had longed to argue in favor of compassion and the masses, but as a junior, he knew better. There was no point in passionate debates in economics and business. Passion was futile, and often the plaything or court jester of logic and reason. He had gone to school to study logic and reason, not compassion and hope. So he had put them away, compassion and hope, traded them in for tangible and more sensible virtues, ones that heated the house and provided food and shelter for his family.
The scholarly principles, which he had been urged to pursue in order to ensure security, had run a ground. Now, even logic and reason seemed to be on the verge of betraying him. He could feel his bitterness increasing day by day.