Drunk or Just “Employed?”

Last week my Wednesday morning Eagles group was privileged to have Rabbi Daniel Lapin sit in as our guest.  Dave Ramsey had invited him to speak to his entire company that morning and our little group of thinkers was honored to dialogue with him for a couple of hours in advance.

As a Hebrew scholar, Rabbi Lapin shares some very insights about that language.  Here’s one of his many interesting examples: 

“When Noah planted a vineyard, drank of its wine and became drunk, the Hebrew word used in Genesis 9:21 to describe his inebriated condition is SHiCHuR.  But when someone hires someone as an hourly employee, as in Exodus 22:14, the person is a SaCHiR.  In Hebrew the words look exactly the same.

= SHiCHuR = Drunk

= SaCHiR = Hired Employee

What could drunkenness possibly have to do with being a hired worker?  Ancient Jewish wisdom’s response to that question is that neither a drunk nor an hourly laborer is able to act according to his own wishes and choices.  It is easy for us to see that a drunk has no ability to control his actions. What about a hired worker? After all, almost all of us need to work and what’s more, we are actually obligated to do so, since the day that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden, to work it.  But the word SaCHiR is specifically reserved for an hourly or day laborer. That type of hired employee yields much control to his employer.  Generally, a SacCHiR earns less and has fewer benefits than a longer term employee. He is usually at the bottom of the totem pole with little job security and often lives paycheck to paycheck. So, while for different reasons than the drunk, the SaCHiR also has limited options and control over his life.” 

This contrasts with someone who works for a pre-negotiated salary or commission or has their own business.  That person has some freedom in managing his/her time more independently.

I know this may sound a little harsh for the many of you who are employees.  This is not meant to belittle that status – but to just help you see it in perspective.  I have been encouraging everyone to be aware of the changing work models that I describe in No More Mondays.  We are rapidly moving toward the time when only 50% of the American workforce will be employees.  You may be a free-lancer, a consultant, a contingency worker, an independent contractor, an entrepreneur, an electronic immigrant, a temp, or a number of other growing terms.  All are reasonable terms for the creative, non-traditional work models that are allowing 465,000 new business startups each month in the United States alone.

This helps explain why people are lining up to get into the 212ºConnection.

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8 Responses to “Drunk or Just “Employed?””

  1. Dave A Says:

    Dan… I embrace so much of what you say, so much of what you write. I just listened your “Cure for the common cubicle” last night. I’ve concluded that my biggest problem is not a lack of good quality advice from folks like you and others that I read. No, it is my own fear of failure which leads to not being able to “see the forest for the trees” which then leads to procrastination and giving up. I’ve repeated this cycle too many times throughout my life.

    I so want to change this for I so want to leave my own rut of being a “SaCHiR.” I am fellow follower of Jesus. I love Him and I know I am loved by Him. So I think I should know better… that I should be more positive and successful. And this too can be such a stumbling block for me.

    All that said… I know the answer is to simply take “the next step,” walk out in faith and not by sight, and trust Him to guide me. I know all the “right” bible verses. I just need to begin to live this reality… in His reality.

    I share this here thinking that there may be others who have felt this entrapment and may discover the freedom in stepping out in faith. I am just scratching the surface of this understanding. I wish I could write to you with a success story but hopefully I will somewhere down the journey.

    Thanks much and peace to you and yours.


  2. Les Hudson Says:


    I have recently been introduced to you through my wife and Dave Ramsey. I have already gained a great deal of respect for you as I am reading your 48 days book to preview it for my wife and assist her in her pursuit of another business or job. I whole heartedly agree with what you are doing with your 212` program and will join just for the positive information. I am an owner of an independent insurance ageny and I have been helping the self employed and small business person for 16 years. I know that when people are starting their own business that the whole insurance thing is a very big issue, those are the people I help every day. I of course thought;1) How I can I get involved with you in some way to help people and of course inhance my business 2) I am grieved when folks like you and Dave Ramsey recommend NASE as a source for people to go to for their health insurance needs. NASE is just a front with the sole purpose of selling a very bad health insurance policy through Mega Health and Life or Mid-West National Life. This operation has been investigated in 39 states recently for their business practices, they are in my opinion a terrible source of advice and coverage for people who are not fully informed or have little or no experience buying their own health insurance. When you send people to NASE they are like sheep being led to slaughter, I can’t tell you number of times I have helped people get rid of this inferior product or the horror stories I have heard about this group. The damage I have seen NASE/Mega Life do to people and their families invokes some very strong emotions in me, what in the world have they done or what deal have they made with you to deserve your indorsement??

    If you care to respond or contact me I would welcome further dialogue and would love to explore the possibility of offering my services. I do this on a regular basis for people in my church, the motive is not just a sale because more often than not it is just my free advice and sometimes a grateful client.

    Les Hudson

  3. Ted Lerich Says:

    Your comments were accurate in the comparison of the drunk and the hourly employee. I labored for years for others. Many times I discussed with a friend how we were working to line someone else’s pocket. I always knew I was not happy working for someone but I did not see a way I could step out on my own. that was 14 years ago. In 2007 I read “48 Days…”. It shook me to the core when I realized how unhappy I was in my current job as a technology project manager making $95K a year. I had spent 21 years getting there as well and had gone from constant accolades in the early years to “Needs Improvement” on my latest review. I began working in 1983 as a PBX installer in 2 years I went from a starting wage of $7.64/hr to $12.75/hr. After that I went to work for a Bank as their first voice IT person. Everything was great until 1998 when the IT dept was outsourced to AT&T Solutions and I was placed in a project manager position. When the bank realized 4 years later what a mistake outsourcing their IT dept was they decided to start over. Of the 20 employees outsourced in my region only 5 of us were rehired as project managers. I counted myself lucky since I now had a wife and 2 children. Oddly when we were out-sourced I got a $21k retention bonus and then a $20k/yr raise, when I was in-sourced I received another $20K/raise. You would think I would fat dumb and happy about now but no. In the newly reformed IT dept project managers had responsibility without authority and after a few years 2002-2005 it ground me into dust. I hated getting out of bed and going to work but I had a family to support. Then in 2007 48 Day to the Work You Love entered the scene. About half way through the book two things happened 1. I realized I was so unhappy with my current job that I was probably going to get fired or laid-off. and 2 my mind suddenly went crazy with idea after idea for self employment. It seemed like every day I was writing down and outlining some idea for a business. One of the ideas from 48 Days… was maybe I was just looking at my job from the wrong perspective and there was a way to find meaning in project management again. I gave it a whirl and my next review was up to “meets expectations” from “needs improvement” but alas I was still thinking more about self employment and but the old nagging feeling that I needed to stay where I was, with a good job and benefits because I have a family to support. Well eventually the decision was made for me when I was laid-off in Nov 2007. I received a generous 34 week severance package and sweet freedom!!!! The event was a double blessing. Not only was I free to pursue a career that was worth getting up for in the morning I was also free to help out around the house since my wife had fusion back surgery in Oct 2007. That was about six months ago and the wife is finally getting back to a somewhat normal routine. I have been working with a long time friend on developing a web site that will sell advertising space to small town businesses in Texas. Many small town downtowns have become dependent on tourism to survive. What we have done is take our web site which featured images of all 254 county courthouses in Texas, which we compiled in 1998, and developed a new web site with low cost advertising space for the many cafes, antique stores and artisans. We in turn promote our web site through print ads, contests, networking with historical associations, planning our own events as well as other attention getting endeavors like getting a Texas flag to be flown over each courthouse in the state and then auctioning it off and donating the funds to historic building preservation. Pre lay-off I was barely able to crawl out of bed and be in my home office by 8am everyday, now I wake up by 6:30 am with no alarm feeling refreshed and ready to go. The old web site at TexasCourthouses.com will be re-launched in mi July. The new site being developed is currently TexasCourthouses.info. After that I hit the road to sell space to everyone from Houston to El Paso and Brownsville to Dalhart (BTW Brownsville to Dalhart is half way to Canada, Texas is a big place) Doing what I love taking pictures and meeting new people and oh yes making money. Thank you for freeing my mind to see beyond the pseudo-safety of working for a large company like I once did. I was only safe as long as I made pile of cash for “the Man” LOL

    I reference to you GPS analogy. We all have access to the best GPS to success in life. The GPS (a.k.a. God Powered System) I refer to is the Holy Spirit. Available to everyone yet used by few. Some chose not to pick up this free unit when they browse the store and choose to purchase some other brand X unit that requires all sorts of programming, special settings, add on features and subscription fees and in the end never gets them where they really wanted to go. Some people heard about the awesome GPS, thought it sounded good but never went by the store to get the free unit. Others got the GPS, and at first are all excited! They used it to go everywhere. But for one reason or another they stop using the device and wondered off course. I am happy to say that even though I have at times thought “It is only a short trip from here to there, surely I can get there on my own” after several trips through the “bad part of town” or hopelessly lost in a forest I now keep my GPS on 24/7 (really it was always on 24/7 I just chose not to look at the screen) and I always get where I want to go.

  4. E. Stanford-Bruce Says:

    On being a SaCHir:
    I’m looked at by potential employers as a “job hopper”, otherwise known to you all as a freelancer or a contractor, only for most of my life I was not aware that what I was doing had a proper name! Year after year I bore the shame of this label, making half-hearted excuses, hiding in plain sight as I changed jobs twice per year with long periods of non-employment between them. To this day, asking me, “and what do YOU do?” makes me sick with anger. What am I supposed to say? I’m 50+! I am a denizen of the darkness. Creatures like me strike fear and disdain into the corporate heart…and all the “career experts'” and all good parents warn folk not to be like me. (When are you going to get a real job?) Just Sunday in the Washington Post, one man was told “it’s better you take a job at McDonald’s and stay a little while” than to continue doing contract work in political campaigns. I have lived like a freelancer since I graduated from college in 1977. Now, it’s rushing to retirement time and there’s nothing to look forward to but the meager social security payments managed from having so many short-term, temporary, and failed employment attempt jobs with no benefits. You got it. I’ll be 70 and I’ll still be working–hopefully, loving it. Here’s my point: educational systems assume you will always “work for somebody” and never think about preparing students to “go it on your own”. The reality of the 21st century world has not hit yet. There is still a lot of old fashioned thinking and a lot of shame in the society as a whole. Thanks for being here at this time and this place as a wee light in a very dark world.

  5. John B Says:


    This rings very true to me and my experience. I won’t go into a lot of detail because there are over 35 years of life career experience much too numerous to elaborate on. But, after acheiving middle management and becoming comfortable then going through a corporate bankruptcy catastrophe, I found a position (salaried) with an engineering consulting firm. I loved the job, it was what I have been trained to do and was quite good at after having experience in the type of work that was involved through the years.
    In the spring, six months into the job, my father became very ill( I live in Mississippi and he in North Carolina). I had to leave and be with him in a hospice for a week until he passed away. I returned home and then had to leave once again to N.C. to spend another week (not long enough) to settle my Dad’s affairs, recover family possessions, etc.
    When I returned, I was informed that, because I had used up all my vacation and leave time, in order to be fair to the other employees, who were paid hourly, that I would become an hourly employee.

    I have been a salaried employee for the last 20 years in my career and don’t know how to do any job that involves keeping track of hours worked in order to “fill out a time sheet”, reconcile time to track hours applied to specific projects, etc., except to require it of subordinates I have had. My experience has led me to know to do whatever is required, whether it be to spend more, or less time than anticipated to get the job done.

    But, at the age of 56, I have resigned myself to take it as it comes.
    This is a difficult adjustment, to say the least, to make. I can only reconcile myself that, hey! I have a job! I’m not unemployed! I actually do like what I’m doing. But don’t get me wrong, if I could be working for my self, I would. If you are working for a Corporation or an LLC., it’s still the same, you are not in charge and will be doing what you are told to do until the end of your career or until you leave this world as we know it.

    I am so pleased to hear of the success stories of other followers of you and I do see and read your e-mails so I am encouraged to know that you, Dave Ramsey, and others are fostering a ministry so needed in this time that I know the work of God is taking place in this world.

    Hope for deliverence for all now and always to everyone….

  6. Cal Simms Says:

    I have to agree with Les Hudson about NASE. They are a terrible, awful health insurance option for anyone self employed. When I was full time self employed for over eight years, and my wife was a stay-at-home Mom to our 4 boys, we were desperate for some kind of health coverage we could afford, so we decided to try the MEGA (NASE) coverage. We knew straight away that the coverages were inferior to what full-time employees get through their company plans, but the rates looked decent for covering truly dire circumstances. Then, the second year, they more than doubled our rate, and this without a single claim the entire first year! I did a little research and found out this is standard operating policy for NASE.

    NASE “baits” you with a pretty decent first-year rate, then escalates your rates at enormous mark-ups after they’ve got you in their confidence. Now this was back in the late 1990’s, so maybe they’ve changed, but Les’ comments sounded awfully familiar. To us, it looked an awful lot like an organized scam, with just enough legal framework to make it a legal operation. Fortunately at the time, we were able to get our children covered on TennCare at the time (they wouldn’t cover my wife and I), so this took some of our concerns away.

    I wasn’t aware that Ramsey or Miller endorsed these bozo’s, so I can’t speak to that, but to anyone considering NASE or MEGA, be very careful about what you’re getting into. I have no interest in selling insurance to anyone, so take that for what it’s worth. The NASE/MEGA ads sound very slick and convincing, but in my experience it was a (really) terrible product. I’d have to wonder as well what was going on if either of these two gentlemen endorsed this product. It would be almost completely counter to the message they send out about backing vendors who take good care of their customers.

  7. Jack Mender Says:

    It seems like business is still getting hit hard. Is anybody seeing an upswing in their respective niches? Health reform seems like a mess. I generate long term care insurance leads and annuity leads for the insurance industry, but volume has been terrible in the last two months. I am afraid the worst is yet to come, but maybe it is just my attitude.

  8. Kennith Amero Says:

    Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out. Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

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