WISCAP’s staff pick of February is All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and Demeaning of Routine Work by Barbara Garson.
Stacking Ping-Pong paddles in piles of fifty. Entering 15,000 keystrokes an hour into a computer. Performing one weld on one seam on 101 cars an hour, eight hours a day. In factories and offices around this country, work is systematically reduced to the most routine and repetitious tasks. How do workers keep working without losing their minds? To find out, Barbara Garson traveled around the country for two years, spying out the mind-games and minute-to-minute devices workers use to restore meaning to jobs drained of meaning in the name of profit. She found resentment, she found humiliation, she even found sabotage; but above all, she found that people passionately want to work. “The crime of modern industry,” she concludes, “is not forcing us to work, but denying us real work.”
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