Has America Ignored the Workplace for Too Long?

In that context, watching Sheila’s meeting spiral out of control feels almost as subversive and revelatory as Turkel’s book. The problem arises when the show tries to explain what specifically went wrong to allow its eruption. No matter how hard they try to stay close to the workers, the series can’t resist regular narration, with President Obama blaming domestic workers, the movies Wall Street, or nifty archival footage of economists. Provide industry-level information. Milton Friedman. The script touches on all sorts of organizational forces, from the workers left behind by the New Deal to the macroeconomics of a declining middle class.

The fact that the show needs to date back to the New Deal era highlights an important issue. So maybe America’s perception of the workplace at home is surprisingly outdated, steeped in denial about how much things have changed. Like Turkel, this series wants to accompany working people and help them understand their hopes, dreams and contradictions. But at the same time, the film also hopes to develop a discussion that includes informing the viewer of the complex changes that have happened over the decades to what happened to the American worker—all of these changes. , which happened to be presented by the politicians in charge of this country, towards the key period of the period under study.

Did politicians participate in all that denial? Although the issue is not addressed, the series touches on the idea that the popular media has long neglected the workplace. Obama said television was once full of representations of working and middle-class people and their jobs, such as Norman Lear shows like “Good Times” and “All in the Family.” claim it is. But since the Reagan era, popular shows have followed high-end professionals or, akin to “Friends” and “Seinfeld,” people living comfortably despite vague or fictitious employment. tended to draw. Jobs in the country are shifting from industry to service, but even that dramatic change (currently represented by nurses, waiters, retail store clerks, and delivery drivers) is making us more consuming. It is hardly reflected in the stories that do. The erosion of job security, increasing irregular schedules, and intrusive workplace surveillance are also not the changes that have characterized President Obama’s own White House years.

“The insensitivity of ‘respectable’ people is not a new phenomenon,” Terkel wrote in his book. He cites the example of Henry Mayhew, whose 19th-century report on London workers “astonished and frightened the readers of the Morning Chronicle”. Writer Barbara Ehrenreich later cataloged how journalists and academics “discovered” poverty in the 1960s after the postwar economic frenzy had cooled. (“We seem to have woken up suddenly”) Critic Dwight MacDonald wrote in a book review for The New Yorker: Contents of a book on the subject “On the fact that the poverty of the masses still persists.” ) It’s easy for viewers to feel the same way about documentaries like “Working”. A belated sudden understanding of the humiliation that looms over even the most isolated people. And there is a growing awareness that the workplace is a place of urgency and high-stakes conflict.

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