Monday, June 11, 2012

Read all about it

It got to the point at which my buddy Frank didn't want to ride shotgun on a pizza run with me because of my habit of asking people about their jobs.  There's so much I need to know about the process of throwing a doughball up in the air, dousing it with sauce and cheese and sliding it into the oven.  It just fascinates me, to hear about how things work from place to place. And to hear a skilled worker speak in almost loving terms of his/her job is so fulfilling!  It's pride in action, when you hear a pizza maker or paramedic or plumber talk about work experiences.

The late great Studs Terkel wrote a book of oral histories entitled Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.  I love the book because it enables one to get a glimpse into the lives of cops, truck drivers, car salespeople, farm workers, professors, photographers, barbers, ballplayers and baby nurses. People used to use the term "slice of life" to describe a vignette that allows others to peek past the veneer and read about how it feels to feel overpaid, like an actor says, or how it feels to work on commission and realize that you're not going to take much money home if you don't sell cars - there's no such thing as getting paid for nothing there.

It's just a fascinating book and I'd recommend it to anyone.  You can probably find it your local library, but before you go home, why not ask the librarian about how it feels to work there? 

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