Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

"Patching" My Life: Sociological Lessons for a Joyful Work

Academic journal article Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

"Patching" My Life: Sociological Lessons for a Joyful Work

Article excerpt

There are so many different types of work in this world. Some people may define work by their job or their career, most people only consider work to be paid work where they receive a wage for their labor, the time that they spend and the tasks they accomplish within their job. Some people love their work; they find joy in going to their job everyday. For others, however, they consider their work simply a job.

There is no denying that there are many different kinds of work that people do every day. In their Fast Forward, the authors Torry Dickinson and Robert Schaeffer state "when most people think of work, they imagine men with paid jobs. But this is the narrowest possible conception of work. What is left out of this picture is the fact that different kinds of people work, not just men, and they do different kinds of work. Actually, women do most of the world's work, and it is unpaid" (Dickinson& Schaeffer, 23).

Work can be done outside or inside the house throughout the daily tasks that members of a household complete. These tasks are vital to the household; if they were not done then their household may not run smoothly. This work is known as subsistence work. It is a type of work that is necessary to allow the household to survive. Work is divided up by society as a whole. Each person does some sort of work to help society produce. About this division of labor Harry Braverman writes, "each individual of the human species cannot alone produce in accordance with the standards unknown to any animal, but the species as a whole finds it possible to do this, in part through the social division of labor" (Braverman, 72).

There are even every day activities that we do that might not be realized are actually work. A mother soothing her child when he or she is crying is actually work; it is emotional work. Every person in this world does some type of work at one point in their lives, and they say that once a person starts working, they never stop.

More and more Americans are working harder and harder to survive. They are working longer hours to try and keep their jobs. In her article "The (Even More) Overworked American" Juliet Schor finds data proving that "the average American worker added an additional 199 hours to his or her annual schedule--or nearly five additional weeks of work per year (assuming a forty hour week)" (Schor, 7). People are spending less time with their families and more time at their jobs. They are losing out on leisure time and relaxation. Harry Braverman defines the work cycle very well. He says "the transformation of working humanity into a labor force as a factor of production and instrument of capital, is an incessant and unending process" (Braverman, 139). Some people feel like they are on a track, where they just keep on going and keep on working until one day they can reach retirement. They hope that at retirement they'll eventually be able to slow down.

Growing up I lived with my mother and sister although the composition of our household was constantly changing. When I was seven years old my parents separated and we moved in with my elderly grandmother. Living in this house there was a sense of patchworking, everyone contributed to the household in some way. Nazli Kibria refers to the term patchworking in her article, "Household Structure and Family Ideologies: The Case of Vietnamese Refugees." She says that "patchworking [is] ... the bringing together and sharing of diverse resources" (Kibria, 60). My mother was the only person who worked outside of the home. She brought in the main source of income with her paycheck from her job. Her role was definitely that of the breadwinner. My sister and I helped around the house by doing chores like laundry, washing dishes, light cooking, ironing, cleaning, and grocery shopping. In "Children's Share in Household Tasks," authors Frances K. Goldscheider and Linda J. Waite report that "children who live in a mother-only family play a key role in the household economy: they share more overall and they share in every single task" (Goldscheider & Waite, 814). …

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