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9 surprisingly heartwarming moments you may have missed in last night's 'Game of Thrones.'

Welcome to “A Song of Nice and Fire” Upworthy’s weekly series recapping one of the most brutal shows on TV. Since brutality is not really in our wheelhouse, Eric March has taken it upon himself to dig deep, twist and turn, and squint really hard to see if he can find the light of kindness in all the darkness. He may not always succeed, but by gosh if he won’t try his best.

Here’s what he found on this week’s "Game of Thrones."


FIREBALL!

[rebelmouse-image 19528388 dam="1" original_size="500x227" caption="GIF by "Game of Thrones"/HBO." expand=1]GIF by "Game of Thrones"/HBO.

For an episode high on characters non-consensually set ablaze, "The Spoils of War" featured a lot of man's-kindness-toward-his-fellow-man. I didn't even have to squint that hard.

Let's dive right in!

1. The Stark siblings reunite!

[rebelmouse-image 19528389 dam="1" original_size="700x466" caption=""You guys are weird." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO." expand=1]"You guys are weird." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

After six and a half seasons, thousands of miles traveled, several months of assassin training, two nightmare marriages, and one attempt to kind of become a tree, the remaining three children of Ned and Catelyn Stark finally get the band back together — and it's glorious.

Sure, it's also a little awkward. Bran behaves like the world's most insufferable college freshman home for Thanksgiving who has thoughts about the categorical imperative, while Sansa increasingly suspects that Arya's kill list might include a certain red-headed sister whose name rhymes with Pantsa Park. Arya, meanwhile, is too busy fighting knights three times her size to a draw to really bother with any palace intrigue, stirring up some of her sister's long-buried childhood resentment. But for the most part, everyone hugs and has a nice, easygoing break from the generational trauma they've been subjected to.

And just like at most family reunions...

2. Everyone gives everyone a dagger!

Like a fruitcake on Christmas morning, Westeros' most infamous stabbing implement — the knife that almost ended Bran way back in season one — spends a majority of last night's episode being re-gifted. Littlefinger gives it to Bran, who gives it to Arya, who gives it to Brienne, who gives it back to Arya. Sure, they all have different motives, not all of them 100% pure, but hey, it's the thought that counts!

Judging by Arya's rapid mastery of the weapon, I can easily imagine it making its way into a certain perpetually-on-the-edge-of-cynical-laughter face before too long.

Careful who you pawn that fruitcake off on...

3. A Lannister pays her debt.

What do you know? Cersei actually delivers on her promise to make good on her loan from the Iron Bank.

[rebelmouse-image 19528390 dam="1" original_size="700x466" caption=""Profits. Dividends. ROI." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO." expand=1]"Profits. Dividends. ROI." Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

That's A+ financial responsibility, even if it involved poisoning an old woman to death to make it happen.

Gotta balance those books!  

4. Bran thanks Meera for dragging him thousands of miles through the snow.

Yes, he does so in the most ungrateful, detached way possible and leaves out a few minor details and incidental dead friends, but if we set the bar as low as we possibly can, he does say thank you. Turns out you can be all-knowing and all-seeing and still recall the essential Emily Post.

Anyway, Meera's off the show now probably, so score one for character economy!

5. Jon gives Daenerys a free art history lesson in the dragonglass mine.

Time was, a guided tour of the catacombs beneath Dragonstone would set you back 175 euros and a cooler full of overpriced baguettes, but here's Jon, giving it to Daenerys free of charge!

[rebelmouse-image 19528391 dam="1" original_size="700x467" caption=""I think I'm gonna take a pool day, but you two go ahead!" Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO." expand=1]"I think I'm gonna take a pool day, but you two go ahead!" Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Of course, there's no such thing as a free lunch. It turns out that in addition to enough dragonglass to slay an army of white walkers, the mine contains some seriously spiral-y etchings that conveniently help Jon sell the story he failed to adequately transmute to his potential ally-in-walking-dead-killing a few days (Weeks? Months? Centuries? What is the timeline on this show?) prior. Panicked, throne-room descriptions of ice zombies delivered by a man wearing an IKEA shag rug on his back? Eh. The same story scratched onto a cave wall? That's the sort of thing that gets a dragon queen on board.

Jon wins her over enough that Dany offers her killing prowess — in exchange for your standard pledge of undying loyalty and submission ("Bend the knee"). Unfortunately, there are some plan-hitches even Dany is unaware of.

Thankfully...

6. Tyrion delivers the good news first!

[rebelmouse-image 19528392 dam="1" original_size="700x467" caption=""Also, loooove the sash." Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO." expand=1]"Also, loooove the sash." Photo by Macall B. Polay/HBO.

Good communicators know how to sandwich bad news in between the good, and that's exactly what Westeros' smartest, most prolific talker does by leading with the glorious capture of Casterly Rock before filling in the small matter of the trapped Unsullied, ransacked resources, and dead allies.

The delivery is so tactful that Daenerys remains cool enough to probe Jon for advice — and seems to take it when he reminds her why people are into her in the first place.

People, that is, like him. He seems into her.

Also, she is his aunt.

Weirdly, we all 'ship it.

7. Jamie casually persuades Randyll Tarly not to whip a bunch of his soldiers.

Look, it really sucks when your exhausted army is moving at a snail's pace, and flogging the slow-moving dudes does seem like the kind of thing that would speed things up, but props to Jamie for urging his co-commander to at least give the guys a stern talking-to before going all "Fifty Shades of Grey" on them.

Later, Jamie, the most morally medium Lannister, continues to get right with his gods by attempting to talk Tarly's son Dickon out of his shell shock. His efforts are nearly undone by Bronn, who not only laughs at the dude's admittedly hilarious name but proceeds to mock his pampered upbringing with a well-/poorly timed poop quip.

But the sellsword rapidly redeems himself because not seven seconds later...

8. Dany goes for a dragon ride!

What good is painstakingly raising three dragons from birth if you're going to sit around and not ride them? To the delight of viewers and horselords alike, aspiring Queen Daenerys finally scratches the itch for the first time since landing in Westeros.

Her first destination? Straight at a bunch of unsuspecting Lannister soldiers (cf. the above "FIREBALL!").

Mercifully, in the ensuing (epically one-sided) carnage...

9. Bronn ditches his sack of gold to save Jamie's life...

[rebelmouse-image 19528393 dam="1" original_size="700x467" caption=""Um ... hm!" Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO." expand=1]"Um ... hm!" Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO.

...when they and several hundred of their closest foot soldiers find themselves under combined assault from the Dothraki, who apparently brought a teleportation machine over from the steppe (again, I have to ask — how quickly is time moving on this show?) and the aforementioned 50-foot fire monster from the maw of hell. In an act of utter and utterly surprising selflessness, when forced to choose between his spilled gold and the lives of his comrades, Bronn elects to leave the cash money behind and make a beeline for the scorpion in a vain attempt to spear Daenerys' one-woman scaly air force out of the sky.

Indeed, for a supposedly honor-less killing machine, not only does Bronn sniff out the oncoming horde in the first place and trade his pay for the chance to save a couple dozen Ed Sheerans, he (or some guy who really looks like him) also risks involuntary immolation to push Jamie into the most conveniently adjacent river of all time, sparing him an untimely death-by-Drogon.

Give that man his castle, already.

P.S. — While it's not exactly "nice," credit to director Matt Shakman for providing lots of long, lingering shots of Lannister soldiers screaming and staggering around on fire, reminding us that war really, really sucks if you're the little guy — even if you fight for the baddies.

Random Acts of Niceness

  • Jon, who hasn't seen Theon since all that, you know, stuff went down, demonstrates heroic restraint and refrains from smashing the ironborn lordling's face in. Funny how so many of the nicest moments on this show involve one character not killing another character they emphatically should kill! Take it where you can get it, I guess.
  • Littlefinger promises to protect all of Catelyn Stark's children, which seems sweet until you remember it's a vow that conveniently leaves out a certain sibling/cousin/bastard who just happens to be out of town giving museum tours at the moment.
  • Thanks to Stannis, Davos is now an insufferable grammar pedant who knows the difference between "less" and "fewer." Stannis appreciates the congrats.

Whew! Lots to cover on the kindness beat. Join me next week when, hopefully, Jamie finally learns Dickon's name (assuming the golden-armed general hasn't drowned), Sam finally gets to read the long academic tome of his dreams, and Tormund and his wildling brigade report nothing of note going on at Eastwatch-by-the-Sea — false alarm!

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Image shared by Madalyn Parker

Madalyn shared with her colleagues about her own mental health.






Madalyn Parker wanted to take a couple days off work. She didn't have the flu, nor did she have plans to be on a beach somewhere, sipping mojitos under a palm tree.

Parker, a web developer from Michigan, wanted a few days away from work to focus on her mental health.


Parker lives with depression. And, she says, staying on top of her mental health is absolutely crucial.

"The bottom line is that mental health is health," she says over email. "My depression stops me from being productive at my job the same way a broken hand would slow me down since I wouldn't be able to type very well."

work emails, depression, office emails, community

Madalyn Parker was honest with her colleagues about her situation.

Photo courtesy Madalyn Parker.

She sent an email to her colleagues, telling them the honest reason why she was taking the time off.

"Hopefully," she wrote to them, "I'll be back next week refreshed and back to 100%."

Soon after the message was sent, the CEO of Parker's company wrote back:

"Hey Madalyn,

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health — I can't believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all, and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work."

Moved by her CEO's response, Parker posted the email exchange to Twitter.

The tweet, published on June 30, 2017, has since gone viral, amassing 45,000 likes and 16,000 retweets.

"It's nice to see some warm, fuzzy feelings pass around the internet for once," Parker says of the response to her tweet. "I've been absolutely blown away by the magnitude though. I didn't expect so much attention!"

Even more impressive than the tweet's reach, however, were the heartfelt responses it got.

"Thanks for giving me hope that I can find a job as I am," wrote one person, who opened up about living with panic attacks. "That is bloody incredible," chimed in another. "What a fantastic CEO you have."

Some users, however, questioned why there needs to be a difference between vacation time and sick days; after all, one asked, aren't vacations intended to improve our mental well-being?

That ignores an important distinction, Parker said — both in how we perceive sick days and vacation days and in how that time away from work is actually being spent.

"I took an entire month off to do partial hospitalization last summer and that was sick leave," she wrote back. "I still felt like I could use vacation time because I didn't use it and it's a separate concept."

Many users were astounded that a CEO would be that understanding of an employee's mental health needs.

They were even more surprised that the CEO thanked her for sharing her personal experience with caring for her mental health.

After all, there's still a great amount of stigma associated with mental illness in the workplace, which keeps many of us from speaking up to our colleagues when we need help or need a break to focus on ourselves. We fear being seen as "weak" or less committed to our work. We might even fear losing our job.

Ben Congleton, the CEO of Parker's company, Olark, even joined the conversation himself.

In a blog post on Medium, Congleton wrote about the need for more business leaders to prioritize paid sick leave, fight to curb the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace, and see their employees as people first.

"It's 2017. We are in a knowledge economy. Our jobs require us to execute at peak mental performance," Congleton wrote. "When an athlete is injured, they sit on the bench and recover. Let's get rid of the idea that somehow the brain is different."


This article originally appeared on 07.11.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Education

Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history

"The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak." - Ted Koppel

Library of Congress

When we think about the era of American slavery, many of us tend to think of it as the far distant past. While slavery doesn't exist as a formal institution today, there are people living who knew formerly enslaved black Americans first-hand. In the wide arc of history, the legal enslavement of people on U.S. soil is a recent occurrence—so recent, in fact, that we have voice recordings of interviews with people who lived it.


Many of us have read written accounts of enslavement, from Frederick Douglass's autobiography to some of the 2,300 first-person accounts housed in the Library of Congress. But how many of us have heard the actual voices of people who were enslaved telling their own stories?

ABC News' Nightline with Ted Koppel aired a segment in 1999 in which we can hear the first-person accounts of people who had been enslaved taken from interviews conducted in the 1930s and 40s (also housed in the Library of Congress). They include the voice of a man named Fountain Hughes, who was born into slavery in 1848 and whose grandfather had "belonged to" Thomas Jefferson.

As Koppel says in the segment, "The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak."

Indeed, hearing formerly enslaved people share their experiences of being bought and sold like cattle, sleeping on bare pallets, and witnessing whippings for insubordination is a heartbreaking reminder of how close we are to this ugly chapter of our history. The segment is well worth ten minutes to watch:

This article originally appeared on 03.09.20

Teresa Kaye Newman thinks that Boomer parents were right about a few things.


Teresa Kaye Newman, a teacher about to have a son, knows a lot about how to deal with children. So she created a list of 11 things she agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

Newman believes she has credibility on the issue because she has 13 years of experience dealing with “hundreds and hundreds” of other people’s kids and has seen what happens when her so-called “Boomer” parenting principles aren’t implemented.

Of course, Newman is using some broad stereotypes in calling for a return to Boomer parenting ideas when many Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z parents share the same values. But, as someone who deals with children every day, she has the right to point out that today’s kids are entitled and spend too much time staring at screens.


Here are the 11 things that Newman agrees with Boomers on when it comes to raising kids.

11 Things I agree with boomer parents on raising children

@teresakayenewman

11 Things I agree with boomer parents on raising children, as a #teacher and soon to be mom.

1. No iPads

“All I’m going to say is my kid has a whole world to explore and none of that has to do with being stuck in front of a tablet.”

2. No smartphone until high school

“Kids that are younger than that age do not know internet safety to a point where I feel comfortable letting them have free reign of the internet.”

3. Teaching the value of education

“What I’m going to teach them is [education] has nothing to do with how much money you’re making or how successful you’ll be professionally. But you will still value it, nonetheless. You will go with it as far as you possibly can, and then once you’re done with it, you can do whatever you want.”

4. Respect your teachers and treat them well

“This may be biased because I am a teacher, but everyone who has gone through a professional degree program and has put in the time and is there, giving you the quality education, deserves some type of attention and deserves to be treated well.”

5. Be kind to elderly folks

“If they’re on public transportation and they’re sitting down and there’s an old lady standing next to them and there are no other seats available, my child will know to stand up and give that lady his seat.”


6. Yes ma’am

Newman will teach her kid to use the terms sir and ma’am when speaking to adults. “It does not matter your age or status in society, as long as they are respecting their pronouns, that’s how we’re gonna be talking to other people.”

7. Greetings and gratitude

“Simple greetings and simple terms of gratitude are just not being taught like they used to. I think it’s really sad.”

8. Consequences for poor behavior

“If they’re neglecting their schoolwork and not doing what they’re supposed to do, they get their technology taken away. … Simple things like this are pretty common sense and I’m not sure why they’re not being done anymore.”

9. Respect adult conversations and spaces

“They don’t get to interrupt 2 adults speaking to each other. They don’t get to come and butt in at an inappropriate time when 2 people are talking to each other."

10. Clean your mess

“My child is going to put as much work in the house as we are regardless of whether he’s paying rent out of his own pocket or not. That’s because when my son becomes an adult, I want him to be a partner or a spouse or a roommate that someone is proud to have around.”

11. Bedtime

“I don’t care how old my kid is as long as he is living under my roof as a minor; he’s gonna have some sort of bedtime. But this staying up until 3 or 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning or pulling all-nighters like kids are used to … is absolutely not normal. And I’m not going to have a kid that’s staying up that late and then not waking up the next day.”


This article originally appeared on 12.20.23


Grandma shows granddaughter shorthand

Grandparents can be a wealth of history and knowledge. But one TikTok user, Reagan Jones, was blown away by her grandmother's ability to write in shorthand, so she did what a lot of people do in this century—uploaded it to TikTok. Not surprisingly, most people who viewed the video had no idea what shorthand was and some thought the whole thing was made up. The reaction to it certainly makes you question if it's more than a lost art, but a forgotten part of history.



Shorthand is a method of quickly writing that has been around for a centuries. The first recorded history of a form of shorthand being used was in the 4th century B.C.. In the 1800s, two different types of shorthand became popular, Pitman in 1837 and Gregg in 1888. Looking at the shorthand alphabet may make you furrow your eyebrows because a lot of the symbols look ridiculously similar. It's full of lines that are straight, slightly curled or partially looped and some that just look like a squiggle. It's something to behold and resembles a super secret language.

Judging by the comments on the video, other people feel the same way. One commenter, Jamie wrote, "I've heard the term shorthand but I think my brain always took it as abbreviations not this 😳😅"

Another commenter, Samantha said, "Nah this has to be a glitch in the timeline I’ve never heard of this from any of my family member."

@reaganjones176

This is called “short hand” and its a real form of old-style note-taking. She uses this to write herself notes daily. 😂#coolgrandma #funwithgrandma #grandparents #handwriting #shorthand

In a reply to a commenter, Jones revealed, "My grandma was a legal secretary for the railroad :) She won a lot of awards for her work and shorthand in school."

Now, that's just cool. Sure there are still professions like court reporters and such that use shorthand, but it's not as common as it was back when most people's grandparents and great-grandparents were young adults. This was such a neat blast from the past. It's clear that Jones' grandma could probably still take home some awards for her unique skill.


This article originally appeared on 09.13.22

Photo by Danial Igdery on Unsplash

Do we need to redefine what we mean by "low-skill" labor?

A software engineer who used to work at Taco Bell has prompted a debate over “skilled” and “unskilled” or “low-skill” jobs and how much value we place on workers based on those labels. A post on Reddit shows a screenshot that reads:

“Idk man I’ve worked at Taco Bell and as a software engineer and the job that takes way more skill is not the one u would expect lol. Making a quesarito during lunch rush is 10x harder than writing any sort of algorithm. Service jobs are not ‘low skill’ bro lmfao.”

Others who have also worked service jobs weighed in with their thoughts and experiences, with some agreeing with the tweet and some vehemently disagreeing.


Some said "low-skill" doesn't mean easy, just not something that takes long to learn.

“Low skill doesn't mean easy. It just means that it doesn't take long to train.

Low skill jobs are usually hard AF, because a lot of people can do them, often it's physical and the profit margins can be low. So, people get exploited.

High skill jobs can be very easy. If the profit margins are high, the job is mostly mental, and there aren't that many people that can do it then you get treated better. A doctor at the end of their career is generally not stressing themselves out taking patient appointments.”davidellis23

“Yes, they are low skill.

I was trained to be a waiter in 3 days, and there wasn't much difference between myself and waiters with 10 yrs experience.

I studied 4 yrs for a CS degree, have been working and learning for for awhile as a dev, and I still don't know sh*t about sh*t.” -Sonmi451-

“The spirit of what this guy is saying is right, he’s just using the wrong words.

IT jobs are way more skilled than service work. But service jobs are far and away much more difficult than IT jobs to actually do day in and day out. Service work is emotionally draining and soul crushing

IT jobs test knowledge, service jobs test will.”

In some ways, it’s an issue of semantics, and the actual definition of “skill” doesn’t make the discussion much clearer. Merriam-Webster defines "skill" as “the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution of performance,” "dexterity or coordination especially in the execution of learned physical tasks” and “a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability.”

While it’s true that the training involved in jobs like food service is not nearly as long or involved as becoming a computer programmer, calling that work “unskilled” or “low-skill” doesn't really go along with the definitions of the word. It can also seem to devalue the skills necessary to be good at various kinds of jobs. Is multitasking not a skill? Is anticipating needs not a skill? Is handling difficult customers not a skill? Is problem-solving on the fly in a fast-paced environment not a skill?

“Food service in the kitchen especially is ALL about multitasking, efficiency, and pivoting. I got four orders coming up, what can I prep now so it's ready with the rest of the next two customer's food? Ope now there's five. Customer says they had a large fry but cashier didn't ring it up or they didn't order it, gotta put more fries down either way.

Any mistakes or poor choices moment to moment mean everything gets slowed down. It's much less like one task and more like 20 where in most cases you have to do things out of order because stuff takes time to cook but you don't want food to get cold.” Hawkatom

Some suggested using alternate terms that feel more accurate, such as "credentialed" or "specially trained."

"I prefer 'credentialed' or not. Whether or not you need a certificate before your on the job training is an orthogonal concept from how much job specific training or skill is required." Bakkster

"In economics 'skilled labor' means jobs that require training/apprenticeships this it's doctors, plumbers, lawyers, masons et al.

Unskilled labor does NOT mean that the job requires no skill only that you don't need certification or training to claim the title."No-Appearance-9113

Much of the discussion boils down to the fact that we place more value on certain skills than on others and pay accordingly, despite the fact that we rely on the people who do those difficult "unskilled" or "low-skill" jobs all the time (while there are plenty of highly skilled jobs that only benefit a small portion of the population). We need all kinds of workers, of course. We just need to be mindful of not judging some jobs as less challenging, less important or less valuable simply because they are labeled as "low-skill."