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am 17. Mai 2000
For those of us who truly enjoy our jobs, despite difficulties and challenges, this book is truly enlightening in helping us to understanding the factors that influence our approach to life and its components in general. Whether we work because we must (which indeed is the case for most of us), or because it is stimulating, rewarding or fulfills our inner yearning for depth and meaning is rooted not only in our own psyches, but also in our cultures, traditions, upbringing, etc.
In The Working Life, Joanne Ciulla explores the nature of work, examining the concept the holistic (my word) nature of work from the practical to the philosophical factors that play into our approach to "earning our daily bread."
The author asserts that ours is a society in which we are defined by what we do as much as who we are. We have progressed beyond the traditional Protestant Work Ethic to a point where our jobs often become our primary identity. Whereas some "work to live," more and more of us "live to work" where work is not just a means to an end, but an ultimate end in itself.
Ms. Ciulla, a teacher on leadership, critical thinking and ethics at the University of Richmond, has analyzed the concept of work from the perspective of both management and the managed. Given her diversified work experience, the book is expectedly balanced and even, providing a comprehensive view toward the nuances of the work experience. I particularly enjoyed the wealth of supporting references ranging from philosophers, storytellers, management experts, so-called efficiency experts, modern day management theorists and even cartoon characters to flesh out her concepts, yet she presents these as part of her own creative synthesis.
"The Working Life" is written with and engaging and thoughtful prose, flowing quickly and ending all too soon. It is time well spent and may give the reader additional insight into what makes them "tick" with respect to both the working life and to their whole being.
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am 11. Juli 2000
Ciulla places great importance on personal autonomy. She is suspicious of any connection outside of thepersonal that infringrs on that autonomy. She finds difficulty in the fact that people draw at least some of their identity from the world around them and in particular for this book from their occupation or job. Ciulla constantly stresses the implicit danger of betrayal and exploitation in this trust in others for life meaning. She repeatedly draws comparison between this fidning of identity in one's job with that of slavery in which the slaves identity is submerged to the personal interests of teh master.
Ciulla's book is a strong advocacy of her point of view written with an evident extensive background in the subject. It is well worth reading but one must keep in mind that this book is a brief to support one point of view.
As a side note. Ciulla deplores the needs of some people to find their identity in their relationships with others. She calls these people 'other-directed.' This is just the standard extroversion that is highly prized in current culture. It is nice to read a book in which introversion is praised as an ideal rather than being regarded as an ailment to be treated.
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am 20. April 2000
This is a rare find among books about work. I feel that I cannot recommend it too highly. She looks at work from the perspective of the worker, an individual with the right to consider his/her own interests, not of the manager who tries to convince his subordinates that the company is in right next to God and Country as an institution deserving blind, unselfish loyalty and sacrifice. Ciulla makes assertions that are far too daring for the average management "guru": people are different, managers are not all well-meaning, competent and fair. She reviews the history of attitudes toward work and scathingly points out that many experiments in enlightened management worked very well--right up until the company double-crossed the workers.
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