Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

Finally got through this classic Studs Terkel collection of interviews with working shlubs from the 1970s. Forty years on and things are wildly different… his book is bursting with conversations with blue collar workers flush with cash and excited to send their kids to college for a better life. I got a bit bored by all the focus on the automotive factory workers but enjoyed scraps of other conversations, like the airline stewardess who picked up a smoking habit after working on planes and who was required to wear false eyelashes and nails. Apparently first class was only $5 more expensive in the 70s. (“If I want to fly first class, I pay the five dollars difference. I like the idea of getting free drinks, free champagne, free wine. In a coach, you don’t.”) I think I stayed away from this book for so long because I read some knock-off book many years ago that was a remake of this idea, interviewing various people about their jobs, and felt that covered the matter.