1020(final) - metcalfwinter10


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Betty Jamison

Amy Metcalf

English 1020

February 23, 2010

The Life of Work

Living in the world today, most people believe work is a mandatory task used to survive.

Have you ever taken a second to emphasize life without work? Is there such a thing as working too much? The number one reason why most people work is because it is a necessity, however for some people it is a way of keeping busy. Work has its advantages as well as its disadvantages that interfere with people’s everyday life. In Joanne B. Ciulla’s The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work, worrying about making a good amount of money to survive, knowing the true meaning of work, and finding the right job all lead people to second guess the real reason why they work.

“What’s so good about work? Throughout history some have praised it, others have cursed it, but few escaped it or had the luxury of deciding whether they should work or not”

(Ciulla, 3). Why does work matter? Without a job/career, how can people support themselves?

People often confuse the difference between “I need a job”, and “I want a job”. “We work because we have to make a living.” That is why people have paid jobs, but it doesn’t explain why they do other kinds of work” (Ciulla, 3). Money is what people focus their attention on when they even begin to look for a job. The first question that is brought forth is, “How much is the starting salary”, or “How much is the pay an hour?”. No one ever stops to think about whether or not they are qualified for the particular job, or if they were going to be treated fairly at the

Jamison 2 workplace. Letting money take control is one of the main reasons as to why many people hate their jobs today. Do people really know the true meaning of work?

Work is broadcasted all over the nation. The Webster’s definition of work is “exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something; labor; toil”. In the society in which we live today, finding a job is not easy nor is it easy to keep one. Many people say that they want to work but as soon as they receive a job, they do not own up to the responsibilities that accompany the title of being employed. Many people watch others who work. What does people who work look like? People who work many hours of the day and night tend to look weary, and need rest.

People who do not work observe this and tend to wonder is all work good?

People sometimes do not realize that their social life is being affected by what they do for a living. The work life and one’s social life tend to conflict with each other. Socializing with family, participating in events with children, or hanging out with friends, are just a few things that is neglected by work. Work is indeed a very important concept of life simply because it is beneficial when it comes to providing for the family to survive. Some people do not have a family so they work for themselves. Because of the fact that they have no family or close relatives, working tends to keep their minds off of being lonely. No matter what the case may be, people do not see an issue with working or do not realize what they might be missing out on.

People do not seem to realize that because they are searching for a career/job that pays a good amount of money, instead of looking at the entire aspect of the job.

The argument that Ciulla brings forth discusses the way that work fits into our everyday life and the morals that it teaches. If we take a look at the work ethic today as compared to when the book was published, much has changed since then. Today, the economy suffers from a huge recession, causing people to need more money and good paying jobs. Money is not the key to

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People who cannot find work usually resort in participating in illegal activity. That is part of Ciulla’s ethos when she brings forth the argument of people working simply because they need something to do to stay out of trouble. Illegal activity can mean many things, for example, if a person cannot find a job they might resort in selling narcotics. It could even go the other way around especially if a person is stressed. A person, who constantly looks for work with no success, could resort in taking narcotics resulting in an illegal act. People do not realize that they can have any job that interests them but they have to be willing to do the required studying and research pertaining to the job that they want.

“In ancient Greece, philosophers believed that a person’s thoughts and ideas were more important than that person’s work” (Ciulla, 37). This is how it is today; working and the ideas that flows in a person’s mind are two different things. A person can get a job and then get it taken away from them, but the things that are put into a person’s mind are forever and can never be taken away. Many people like to be in charge of businesses and give orders instead of taking them.

Ciulla argues the concept of work and freedom which goes back to slavery, when people had no choice whether they wanted to work or not. Also the work that was being done was not completely fair to everyone. In a way, everyone who works a job is not always treated fairly, but people tend to look past that issue because they need the money. Some people even had to work for free without pay, not being able to support their families. Being that in today’s society work is not permitted without pay; many employers do not hire new people unless they really need to.

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This brings up another question that people of our society frequently ask. “What is the purpose of looking for work when no one wants to hire you”?

If a person really wants a job then they will do everything in their power to try and find one. People choose not to look for jobs for an infinite amount of reasons. The number one reason is that they do not have the required education for the job. Sometimes people actually take the time out to try and go back to school and retrieve the proper education, but for some employers it is not enough for them to want to hire them. In the job seekers mind, they become discouraged and feel as if they just need to give up and stop trying.

Working may be good, bad, or comfortable to so people, but it is something that a person will never be able to avoid especially if that person enjoys money. All of these aspects tie into the “Working Life” and the difficulties that it comes with. There is a thin line between work and stress. Ciulla gives techniques of balancing work in one’s life so that the two concepts will never meet. Being that some people are careless at times, stress becomes present and interferes with a person’s work performance. Ciulla shows readers how it is important, but it should never have control over a person’s life. Worrying about making a good amount of money to survive, knowing the true meaning of work, and finding the right job are things that people often think about on a daily basis, however anything that one puts there mind to is accomplishable. Ciulla proclaims that work should not bring stress and pain to you or people around you, but it should be something that gives you a boost through life. Life will always have its ups and downs.

People just need to learn how to deal with their troubles instead of running away from them. If people actually listen to what the author acknowledges in her works, dealing with the working life would be much better. Work is and always will be an issue that people will never be able to get around, but by the principles and techniques that Ciulla brings forth, and the morals and

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Works Cited:

Ciulla, Joanne. The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work . 1st. New

York: Crown Business, 2000. 3-266. Print.

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