Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview
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(unpublished doctoral dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 1956). Many old-timers, however, both in schoolteaching and in the mills, continue to resist retirement, their grumpy habituation to work being the only structure their lives have. Cf. Eugene A. Friedmann and Robert J. Havighurst, The Meaning of Work and Retirement, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954.
5.
Cf. E. L. Ullman, "Amenities as a Factor in Regional Growth," Geographic Review, Vol. 44, 1954, p. 119. Among less mobile or redecoratable indus- tries there is some resurgence today of management-sponsored recreation programs, which received a big boost during the "progressive management" movement of the 1920's. Indeed, what was worth a couple of chapters three decades ago (e.g., Lee K. Frankel and Alexander Fleisher, The Human Factor in Industry, New York: Macmillan, 1920, Chaps. 9 and 10) has now become a speciality for submanagers (e.g., Jackson M. Anderson, Industrial Recreation, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955) and one in which unions are beginning to stake out their own claims.
6.
Fred H. Blum, Toward a Democratic Work Process, New York: Harper, 1953, p. 97.

5. WORK AND RETIREMENT ·

E. A. Friedmann and R. J. Havighurst


The Older Worker and the Meaning of Work

The . . . five functions [of work]--income, regulating of life-activity, identification, association, and meaningful life-experience--are . . . found in any situation defined by society as a "job."1 . . . [Obviously work] does not have the same meaning for all individuals. We can gather this impression merely by listening to people talk about their jobs--the insurance salesman telling about his troubles and excitement in "cracking" a tough customer, the executive describing the responsibilities and worries of his job, the assembly-line worker complaining about the monotony of his job yet bragging that he is the best worker in the plant. Meanings vary as jobs vary and as people vary. Yet there are some common threads which run through the diversity.

The significance of the job, as interpreted by the worker himself, can be regarded as varying in two fundamental ways. First, it differs according to the particular recognition the person has made of the part which the job has played in his life. Certainly, we can expect that in our culture practically all workers recognize their job as a way of earning a living. However, we may also discover that many individuals have come to recognize other functions of the job as well. For example, some may view it in terms of the prestige (or lack of prestige) it gives them in the community; for others it may be the chief source of contact they have with the outside world, or it may be regarded as the locus of association with friends and fellow workers. The recognitions made of the functions of

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