The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work

The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work

by Joanne B. Ciulla
     
 

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A wide-ranging look at the allure and changing significance of work.With seductions, misunderstandings, and misinformation everywhere, this immensely readable book calls for a new contract--with ourselves.

Drawing from history, mythology, literature, pop culture, and practical experience, Ciulla probes the many meanings of work or its meaninglessness and… See more details below

Overview

A wide-ranging look at the allure and changing significance of work.With seductions, misunderstandings, and misinformation everywhere, this immensely readable book calls for a new contract--with ourselves.

Drawing from history, mythology, literature, pop culture, and practical experience, Ciulla probes the many meanings of work or its meaninglessness and asks:

Why are so many of us letting work take over our lives and trying to live in what little time is left?

What has happened to the old, unspoken contract between worker and employer?

Why are young people not being disloyal when they regularly consider job-changing?

Employers can't promise as much to workers as before. Is that because they promise so much to stockholders?

Why are there mass layoffs and "downsizing" in a time of unequaled corporate prosperity? And why are the most common lies in business about satisfactory employee performance?

The traditional contract between employers and employees is over. This thoughtful and provocative study shows how to replace it by the one we make with ourselves.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ciulla (Univ. of Richmond) has written a stimulating and thought-provoking book that traces the philosophical and cultural conceptions of work and workers over the years while providing a critical survey of management theories and practices. She explores relationships among various kinds of work, the roles of consumption and leisure, and beliefs about what constitutes meaningful work, a meaningful life, and happiness. She points to Scott Adams's Dilbert cartoons as " probably the best and most accurate critique of what many today think about work" and to labor unions as "the most important innovation in the relationship between employer and employee...because they address the imbalance of power between the two parties." Today, the pressures of our consumption-driven, global economy frequently lead to the compromise of individuals' "higher" values when making decisions affecting the overall quality of their lives. This well-written examination of the meanings of work and life challenges that compromise. Highly recommended for academics and the general public.--Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology at Alfred Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A wonderfully readable tour through the history of ideas about work, as human nature or human condition; as curse or blessing; as a calling by God or expression of the inner self."
— Michael W. Munley, Philadelphia Inquirer

"None of my guests on World of Ideas stimulated more response from viewers than Joanne Ciulla."
—Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television, Inc.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307786159
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
03/16/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
437,355
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Elmer Johnson
Professor Ciulla is that rare moral philosopher who is steeped in the humanities and social sciences. Without that immersion, she could not have written this provocative history of the changing workplace. In the closing chapters, she asks us to reflect on our strange culture, in which most of life is organized around work and consumption and in which leisure is reduced to passive amusement. It is an unsettling book.
— (Elmer Johnson, President, Aspen Institute)
Warren Bennis
The Working Life is an important book, a serious and thoughtful book, a book I've been waiting for for a long time. It's about the meaning of where we spend most of our day: at work. Ciulla has written a treatise with profound implications not only about work, but about how we live our lives. Frankly, the book pulls no punches, forces you to examine your own life, and is uncompromisingly creative.
— (Warren Bennis, author of On Becoming a Leader)
Bill Moyers
Her ideas reverberate; she makes you think.
—(Bill Moyers)
James MacGregor Burns
A truly brilliant, innovative, and human analysis that will reshape our thinking about the hours we spend at work, by one of the nation's foremost scholars of ethical leadership. This book is bound to change your view of your own work—and the nation's.
—(James MacGregor Burns)

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