A great book, written in 1968, and full of stories from people talking about their work.
We talk ‘shop’, yet we rarely say what we intimately feel about work. We spend the greater part of our lives working, yet rarely find time to think about what our jobs mean to us.
This is from Dennis Johnson.
My working day starts with that time honoured ritual known as clocking in. In a job such as mine this is one of the more constructive acts of the day. For the uninitiated: a lever is pressed and, in blue ink, a time is recorded on one’s card. It’s so mechanical that one expects the time to be always the same. But it isn’t. Just have the effrontery to be late: then you will find that your time has been stamped in RED ink. The management may condone bad timekeeping, but that blasted clock seems to shed blood in anguish.
It’s really interesting reading peoples stories from more than 40 years ago. Dennis worked in a cigarette factory, but I can’t help feeling his talents were absolutely wasted, for many reasons, but, he has such a way with words:
Time, rather than content, is the measurement of factory life. Time is what the factory worker sells: not labour, not skill, but time, dreary time. Desolate factory time that passes by so slowly compared with the fleeting seconds of the weekend. Monday morning starts with a sigh, and the rest of the working week is spent longing for Friday night. Everybody seems to be wishing his life away. And away it goes - sold to the man in the bowler hat.
It really is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Expect more thoughts on this as I read more.