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September 5 2018

‘Cosby Show’ Star has a Message About Work Everyone Should Hear

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

“Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens has been working a retail job to support his family and was happy to do it. However, he was shamed over the weekend for his regular gig, but instead of crumbling under the limelight, he reminds us that there is always dignity in work.

A shopper at Trader Joe’s posted to social media a photo of the former actor working as a cashier. She thought Owens was a failure and may have been poking fun or feeling sorry for him. Instead of keeping her thoughts to herself (like other shoppers), she blasted the pictures for the world to see and comment.

Owens once played the son-in-law to Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby) for over five seasons of the top-rated sitcom. A Yale graduate with over 30 years of acting, directing and teaching experience, Owens now wanted a flexible job to make ends meet while still pursuing his passion.

Although his anonymity was shattered by a social-media-hungry person, this episode has breathed new life into Owens’ career.

Even more, Owens has three powerful things to say about work that we can all take to heart:

1. “I hope what doesn’t pass is... the rethinking of what it means to work. The honor of the working person and the dignity of work.”

2. “There's no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper, but actually it’s not better.”

3. “Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”

Other actors including “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Patricia Heaton and athlete-turned-actor Terry Crews have weighed with the less than glamorous jobs they’ve had between acting gigs. They too underscore that work is honorable.

Owens turned what felt like a devastating moment into a national PSA noting, “‘Hey, what's wrong with working at Trader Joe's, or any job like that?"

The big lesson: There is dignity in work.

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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