Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
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Perhaps Studs Terkel’s best-known book, Working is a compelling, fascinating look at jobs and the people who do them. Consisting of over one hundred interviews conducted with everyone from gravediggers to studio heads, this book provides a timeless snapshot of people’s feelings about their working lives, as well as a relevant and lasting look at how work fits into American life.
Baseball would have been nice. Good yearly sum.” (Laughs.) The gas company’s really been good with the pay. Out of every two weeks I’ll make about $250 clear after taxes—which isn’t bad. For being there a year, that’s real good—and working half a day. Every couple of months they’ll put in a nickel or a dime more. You don’t even have to ask ’em. We’re starting to get young guys in now. The older you get, the more chance you have of being promoted. Over twenty-six we’ll say as being old. We
don’t think about losing. Winning’s the only thing. I would like a colonial house of some sort, possibly one that leans toward a Mediterranean style. I like a lot of bold things in my house. I’d like a nice recreation room in the basement, possibly a pool table. I hope my wife can play pool. Eventually, I’d probably go into my own business. Once I get into something I’ll strive to be the leader in it. I want to be in command. Like the football team. I strived to be a captain. My junior year I
morning. In the evening I go to the kitchen and pick up her tray at four ’ and I do the same thing again. About five thirty I leave here and go home. She stays here from five thirty until eleven at night as floor care, until the night nurse come. You have to be very, very used to her to detect it that she’s having an attack. I go notify that she’s having a convulsion, so the nurse come and give her two grains of sodium amytal in her hips. When she gets the needle it will bring down her blood
I’ve sold mink coats. I have people with beautiful homes. Many of my customers have good incomes. Why do they buy from somebody like me? There’s a variety of reasons. A lot of them got a fart in their brain. They cannot go out shopping. They become confused by these large shopping centers. They’re confused by the multitude, the plethora of things. It just overwhelms them. It’s much easier to buy from somebody like me. If they want a coat, I bring two or three. If they want a ring, I bring one or
poised on their pouting lips, muttered, “Beggars.” They were indignant. A simple quid pro quo—and a dirt cheap one, at that—was all their subjects had in mind. Their spirit for a tiki . . .) The camera, the tape recorder . . . misused, well-used. There are the paparazzi; and there is Walker Evans. The portable tape recorder, too, is for better or for worse. It can be, tiny and well-concealed, a means of blackmail, an instrument of the police state or, as is most often the case, a transmitter