In 1972, Studs Terkel, a Chicago radio talk show host, published a book entitled Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. For more than 400 pages, Americans talked about the work they did and, more informatively, how they felt about their work and working. In his introduction Terkel wrote:
This book, being about work, is by its very nature, about violence -- to the spirit as well as to the body. It is about ulcers as well as accidents, about shouting matches as well as fistfights, about nervous breakdowns as well as kicking the dog around. It is above all (or beneath all), about daily humiliations. To survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us. . . .
It is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying. Perhaps immortality, too, is part of the quest. To be remembered was the wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book. (pp. xi-xii)
This overriding sense of work-related violence, of something more than just everyday discontent, is aptly captured in a quote Terkel attributes to William Faulkner: "You can't eat for eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours a day -- all you