Working by Studs Terkel

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jacob
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Post by jacob »

http://www.amazon.com/Working-People-Ta ... 565843428/
This is 9 books in one, where lots of people are interviewed or rather get to talk about their work.
I found it interesting to see what other people think about work. Many talk about how [blue collar labor] is physically wearing them down. Other's [working in office environments] talk about how their work is not really significant: "It's just pieces of paper". The financially independent woman is bored. There one(!) (out of several dozens) interviewed who absolutely loves his work.
The last book is about people who work in the calling. Writers, nurses, policemen, firefighters. Those are the ones whose sentiments I agree the most with. Most others seem to exchange time and energy for money. That's it. Some are proud of their ability and doing a good job. Some don't care. The "calling" people exchange "spirit" as well in the sense that work is an expression of who they are. If their job is not compatible with them, they suffer.
PS: The interviews setting is Chicago around the 1970s. Lots of references to hippies and racial tensions. From the older interviewees there's the usual stuff about how people showed more respect 40 years ago---a permanent human condition.


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jennypenny
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Post by jennypenny »

>>The last book is about people who work in the calling. Writers, nurses, policemen, firefighters.
What do you mean by a calling? Do you mean to serve? (then why writers?) Or do you mean people who know what they want to do?
Did any of those interviewed try different occupations?


jacob
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Post by jacob »

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calling
... people who feel internally compelled to do whatever it is they do.
Yes, many worked in several different occupations. It's [mostly] in the form of essays answering the question: "Talk about your work."


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jennypenny
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Post by jennypenny »

I can't believe you linked to M-W, that's my homepage :P
In DH's circle, a calling is usually stated as a calling or call to serve, which is why I was confused when you included writers. I would assume it refered to an occupation that's perceived as selfless (minister, military, healthcare, etc).


secretwealth
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Post by secretwealth »

I wonder if it qualifies as a calling if your calling changes in your life. I feel like my calling has changed once and is going to change again.


jacob
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Post by jacob »

@jennypenny - Serving is only one of many callings. As far as I know, it's a fairly US-centric one too---I'm actually slightly surprised you call serving a calling.
The generic/secular definition is "really undercompensated compared to how much effort people put into it"---they're not working for the money or the status. Traditionally, it's nursing or teaching. "It's a calling" is a popular explanation for why people choose work that difficult and poorly paid when they could probably do much better elsewhere given their talents.


Qazwer
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Re: Working by Studs Terkel

Post by Qazwer »

http://people.stern.nyu.edu/nw248/files/2162a.pdf

I think there are two issues of value to work and to freedom that are at core to a lot of the journals. There is a difference between a job, career or calling which defines relationship to work.
I do not fully understand how conceptualizations of freedom play on the other side of that. But the first step is understanding how work is thought of.

ducknald_don
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Re: Working by Studs Terkel

Post by ducknald_don »

Elizabeth Gilbert has a video on this which is spot on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g7ARarFNnw

She uses the term vocation rather than calling although it's clear they are both talking about the same subject.

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Re: Working by Studs Terkel

Post by Western Red Cedar »

@dd - Thanks for sharing that video! I've read a couple of Gilbert's books and have Big Magic waiting on the bookshelf. I encouraged DW to watch it and it led to a multi hour conversation that was really good for us.

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