The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work

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Title The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work
Publication Type Book
Pub Year 2001
Authors Ciulla, J. B.
Publisher Three Rivers Press
Keywords burnout, fear, flexibility, job loss, kindness, motivation, organization man, retribution
Notes flexibility"The flexible workplace can be a solution to the time problems families face, or it can be the root of their problems. We have gone from moving our homes into the organization to moving the organization into our homes. It again raises the question of whether life should be part of work or work part of life. Where do you go at the end of the day when you work at home?"
retributionOne of Deming's original fourteen essential points for quality managers was 'Drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively for the company.' But what are people afraid of at work? In their study of fear in the workplace, Kathleen D. Ryan and Daniel K. Oestreich1 found that people were usually afraid of retaliation, reprisals, and retribution." (p. 146)
fear, job loss"fear is the oldest way to get people to work. Explicit fear, such as knowing that we will be fired, has limited benefit because it can depress, paralyze, debilitate, or infuriate us... Employees may eventually burn out or self-destruct, but they will put in more work, for a while. Today's company men and women work longer hours and tolerate greater pressure than Whyte's organization man."2 (p. 162)
motivation"Getting cooperation from employees has always been a challenge. That is why many companies invested in learning how to build and lead or 'coach' teams. Here again the romanticism of teams and sports analogies are evident. Consider the reverence for the team leader in the book Leading Self-Directed Work Teams. The author, Kimball Fisher, emphasizes the importance of authenticity. He writes that the key values of a team leader are belief in the importance of work, a belief that work is life, a belief in the 'aggressive' development of team members, and a determination to 'eliminate barriers to team performance.' This description is either inspiring or frightening, depending on whether you are the team leader or a team member. Would you want to work for this person?3
kindness"On a day-to-day basis most jobs don't fill the tall order of making the world better, but particular incidents at work have meaning because you make a valuable contribution or you are able to genuinely help someone in need or you come up with a creative solution to a difficult problem. These meaningful acts are distinctive because people do them with a good will and not for the sake of a paycheck. They are inherently rewarding and often occur unexpectedly. Such moments fill valuable lives. A life abundant with small acts of kindness is not necessarily a happy life, but it does have meaning because it leaves behind something that mattered to others. And is apt to be happier than a life that lacks such moments." (p. 226)