The Monday Morning Copilot: Laboring Far, Far Away
Today is Labor Day in the United States and it seems like the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the less exciting and glamorous aspects of the Star Wars galaxy, the laborers who keep the galaxy spinning. Below are eight individuals and groups that do the jobs that the Princesses and Senators can’t or won’t do.
Technically EV is part of management and not labor, as she is a supervisor droid; EV makes my list because of the way she relishes her work of. Think about how monotonous the constant sorting and torturing of droids must be. Given the rate Jabba goes through droids, I doubt EV gets many days off. So when you return to your job tomorrow and feel bored to tears, just remember EV and attack your work with the same irrational exuberance.
Jawas provide a wonderful service on Tatooine. They drive around picking up the GFFA equivalent of the blue recycling buckets. So look down on them if you must, but never forget that they pick up litter and abandoned property and preserve the sterile beauty of the Great Dune Sea.
Even I will admit that Ugnaughts aren’t the most appealing labor force, but without them Cloud City would come crashing down. From working the incinerator to the carbon freeze chamber, they do the hazardous work with nary a complaint.
Exemplified by the mighty Chewbacca, the Wookiees are a proud and talented population. In many ways they are the ideal workforce–they possess the physical size, strength, and dexterity to handle almost any physical task. At the same time they possess talent for intricate technical work. Their talents are one of the reasons that they were enslaved by the Empire and also why if you have a Wookiee on you crew you are in pretty good shape. Just remember with the Wookiees: in labor negotiations you better let the Wookiee win.
You want to get off your small planet, but you don’t have the grades to get into the Academy to be an officer or a pilot? You believe that service to the galaxy is a noble thing and an honest way to earn a living? You sign up to be a Stormtrooper, you work hard, you go through boot camp and training. You get assigned to your new duty post and find out that the armor doesn’t stop a spitball, the benefits suck, and slaughtering Jawas wasn’t exactly the noble work you had in mind. Sure you are stuck in the job, but at least you can put in for a transfer to the Death Star–no civilians to slaughter there.
Sure you might work for a slug on a backrocket planet, but you get to do what you do best (bash skulls and take a few swigs at the bar). Life is pretty good and they let you sharpen your axe as much as you want (that is, until a real troublemaker in black shows up). It was a rough day at the office.
Jedi AgriCorps (Legends)
Working in agriculture can be brutal and backbreaking and the pay isn’t great, but it is an essential job in any economy bring food from the farm to the table. For a would-be Jedi who washed out of the Temple, picking Meiloorun fruit sure isn’t the same as saving the galaxy with a lightsaber in hand.
Perhaps no worker in the Star Wars galaxy is a better metaphor for the changing economics and the resulting job losses and retraining for new jobs as the BLX Labor Droid. BLX-5 in particular (Bollux to his friends) was just another labor droid until he was forgotten, missed the memory wipes, and began to learn more and develop a personality. Bollux’s skills began to shine and he rose through the ranks; along the way he went through various upgrades and acquired information that allowed him to continue to advance, proving all that a laborer needs to advance in the galaxy is the chance and a little help from his friends.
So as you enjoy the high drama and adventures of Star Wars, take a minute and think about the folks that really bind the galaxy together.