Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Value of Work

Portuguese immigrants have always been known for their work ethic. Employers noted this at the turn of the century when many of them preferred Portuguese workers. Today Portuguese immigrants, who often work in the fishing, construction, and manufacturing industries are still noted for being good and loyal workers.

Often first generation Portuguese will secure jobs at the referral of one of their relatives. They are grateful for steady employment and the ability to provide for a family coming from a country that offers little opportunity.

Even though many new immigrants have little formal education they fair quite well economically here. This is for a variety of reasons. Their humbleness allows them to take low prestige jobs and make a go of it. They are not ashamed of working hard for long hours in exchange for a modest days pay. Also, new Portuguese immigrants will often pool the resources of all workers in a family. This includes even small contributions made by the younger teen workers.

On top of this group effort is a strong desire to save money. These values are reflective of the country where they came from, one in which there is little public assistance during hard times. They are not anxious to spend their hard earned money frivolously but rather save it for the future. Many Portuguese, including one family I know, have bought their first homes with cash rather that obtaining a mortgage.

The hard work and self-reliant attitude of the many Portuguese in Fall River have contributed greatly to the area.

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