Studs Terkel’s book about work in America is simply titled “Working.”
But the subtitle of the 1974 classic is more revealing: "People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do."
Our work is as important to us as it was to our ancestors. You may find occupational threads in your own family histories – lawyers begetting lawyers, farmers producing farmers – or you may find crazy quilt non-patterns, reflective of changing times, upward mobility or, perhaps, streaks of rebellion. Regardless of your own personal history, our jobs help define us.
With Labor Day 2008 on the horizon, I’ve been thinking about the jobs I’ve held in my lifetime and what I’ve learned from each. Over the next several days, I’ll write a bit about my work history and the life lessons taken from each job. I’ll start with my days as a newspaper carrier and proceed through my jobs at a bowling alley, with the railroad, for the Omaha public schools, as an Air Force officer and through my lengthy career as newspaper reporter and editor before my current position as a personal historian.
As you sort through your own working years, what jobs have given you the most satisfaction? What have you learned from each stop on your career path? While I hope you’ll include that information in your own personal history, it would be great if you shared it here, too, with your comments.
Flickr photo courtesy of mjkmjk.