Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Literature of the Workplace, pt. II

Ask and you shall receive.

An excerpt from the Salon article:

"In 'The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work,' Alain de Botton tackles the modern problem of labor in his characteristically untamed, thoughtful style, revealing the ways work can bring us meaning or strip our lives of it, depending on our circumstances. De Botton explores 10 different professions, from biscuit manufacturing to entrepreneurship to painting to rocket science, examining each with a magnifying lens in order to better fathom it. Interspersed with the text are 200 original black-and-white photographs -- a janitor vacuuming the floor at an aerospace convention, electrical pylons in a weedy field, women in hairnets sorting biscuits -- that complement the book's moody tone."

Which brings me to my own work: I received an eleventh hour reprieve from layoff when a coworker moved to California earlier this month. I am now a "publications specialist," which means I generate and update training materials for my department's staff development courses. Which means I do a lot of formatting and proofreading in Word 2007, which is not terribly different from the lion's share of my former academic work. It's a half-time position, which means my life can be stripped of meaning and I have time to spend outdoors should I choose to. Which I don't, mostly. Mostly I spend my non-work time watching reruns of House and hating myself for it. There are so many ways to strip our lives of meaning. Work is just one of them.

1 comment:

Kelly Kathleen Ferguson said...

Recommended reading: Gogol's The Overcoat.