Introducing: 60 Minutes All Access Learn More +
Unlimited, ad-free viewing of 60 Minutes archives, Overtime and extras

Andy Loves His Job

Andy Rooney Ponders Work

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

It's a fiction, unsupported by fact that we work to eat. Most of us work because work gives us more satisfaction than anything else we do. Eating is good, sleeping is good and playing is good but work is best. My work is writing and I'm happiest when I'm doing that.

There have been statistics I've read recently that indicate that more than ten million Americans are out of work. Well, I'm, suspicious of that figure. The fact is there's a lot more work that needs to be done than there are people who want to do it. If someone doesn't have a job, it probably isn't because there are no jobs that need doing. It's more likely to be because the jobs available aren't the kind of work a lot of unemployed people want to do.

I had several jobs years ago that were hard work and all I looked forward to was lunch and the five o'clock whistle so I could stop working and go home but I didn't hate work. Sometimes hard work felt better than sitting here, writing feels.

I worked in a paper mill for several summers when I was in college and to give you some idea of how long ago that was, at the end of a week's work, I stood in line to collect my pay and went home with $18.00, which was 45 cents an hour. I make more than twice as much as that now but whatever it is, I probably don't enjoy it anymore. I never see the money I make the way I used to see that $18 in cash either.

The highest minimum wage is in the state of Washington - $8.07 an hour. The lowest is in Kansas where some companies pay as little as $2.65 an hour.

The minimum wage here in New York State is $7.15 an hour but I paid 35 cents for an apple this morning.

Writing is pretty special work - or I like to think it is anyway. The trouble with writing is you're always working. I hate myself for it but I'll be at a party and I'll hear someone express an interesting idea and I'll think to myself "Gee I could use that."

You have to have an ego if you're a writer too - it's egotistical to think that anyone else cares what you think and put down on paper. I have an ego but it's under control. I usually know when what I write isn't any good.

I try to avoid that but I'm not always successful.

Written by Andy Rooney