Against the Grain

The Meaning and Demeaning of Work

We spend much of our lives at work and, especially in this country, our identities are often closely tied to our jobs. And yet work, along with being exploitative and demeaning, is often meaningless as well. Journalist and playwright Barbara Garson set out fifty years ago to understand how Americans viewed and tried to shape their work, and the result was a classic book, subsequently revised, called All the Livelong Day. She discusses work then and now, during the so-called Great Resignation.


Barbara Garson, All the Livelong Day: The Meaning and De-Meaning of Routine Work Penguin, 1994


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