My Job, My Self : Work and Creation of the Modern Individual Review

My Job, My Self : Work and Creation of the Modern Individual
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For most of us work as a means to an end (namely, consumerism) has displaced the notion of work as a pleasure. Etymologically, the words "work", "job", or "labor" denote pain, sorrow, or heavy, burdensome tasks. Thus, in "My Job, My Self" Al Gini wonders: "So why, given our poverty of time and the burdens of work, haven't we traded our prosperity for leisure?" (p. 141). One answer provided by Gini in this thorough expose on everything "job/work", is that most of us no longer work out of a sense of duty, necessity, or utilitarian pleasure; nor hunger or the satisfactions of craftsmanship or pleasures of a job well done. Sadly, we no longer seem capable of knowing what exactly to do with our free-time, and find ourselves more often than naught, bored, wanting, and desiring things only more money can buy. We have become a nation of culture consumers: "Emo, ergo sum"/"I shop, therefore I am", (p. 140).

The main thrust of "My Job, My Self" is not to propose some vague utopian elimination of work altogether, but rather to acknowledge the importance that modern society places on work, and to show how we have come to identify ourselves through our jobs. If our jobs are so vital to who we are, then we really ought to pay more attention to what exactly we're getting out of them. Gini admits that, "Work will never be completely free of disappointment, drudgery, and toil, but all work should, at least, offer the possibility of purpose and hope" (p.224).

"My Job, My Self" is an enlightening journey through a subject many readers read books to escape from in the first place! Yet, our jobs consume so much of our time and lives that only a straight-forward examination of what we do, and why we do it, can be therapeutic - and quite possibly life-changing. "My Job, My Self" is rounded off with insightful chapters on subjects such as race, women in the workplace, time and stress issues related to workaholism, and the importance of ethics and leadership. In general, it contains sound socio-economic discussion related to the nature of work itself, and the worker's relation to it in an increasingly technologically driven economy. Read, reflect, and arm yourself with your new-found revelations, for "without love, work is servitude" (p.224).

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