Close cookie details

This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav
The Job
Cover of The Job
The Job
Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change
Borrow Borrow
Critically acclaimed journalist Ellen Ruppel Shell uncovers the true cost—political, economic, social, and personal—of America's mounting anxiety over jobs, and what we can do to regain control over our working lives.
Since 1973, our productivity has grown almost six times faster than our wages. Most of us rank so far below the top earners in the country that the "winners" might as well inhabit another planet. But work is about much more than earning a living. Work gives us our identity, and a sense of purpose and place in this world. And yet, work as we know it is under siege.
Through exhaustive reporting and keen analysis, The Job reveals the startling truths and unveils the pervasive myths that have colored our thinking on one of the most urgent issues of our day: how to build good work in a globalized and digitalized world where middle class jobs seem to be slipping away. Traveling from deep in Appalachia to the heart of the Midwestern rust belt, from a struggling custom clothing maker in Massachusetts to a thriving co-working center in Minnesota, she marshals evidence from a wide range of disciplines to show how our educational system, our politics, and our very sense of self have been held captive to and distorted by outdated notions of what it means to get and keep a good job. We read stories of sausage makers, firefighters, zookeepers, hospital cleaners; we hear from economists, computer scientists, psychologists, and historians. The book's four sections take us from the challenges we face in scoring a good job today to work's infinite possibilities in the future. Work, in all its richness, complexity, rewards and pain, is essential for people to flourish. Ellen Ruppel Shell paints a compelling portrait of where we stand today, and points to a promising and hopeful way forward.
Critically acclaimed journalist Ellen Ruppel Shell uncovers the true cost—political, economic, social, and personal—of America's mounting anxiety over jobs, and what we can do to regain control over our working lives.
Since 1973, our productivity has grown almost six times faster than our wages. Most of us rank so far below the top earners in the country that the "winners" might as well inhabit another planet. But work is about much more than earning a living. Work gives us our identity, and a sense of purpose and place in this world. And yet, work as we know it is under siege.
Through exhaustive reporting and keen analysis, The Job reveals the startling truths and unveils the pervasive myths that have colored our thinking on one of the most urgent issues of our day: how to build good work in a globalized and digitalized world where middle class jobs seem to be slipping away. Traveling from deep in Appalachia to the heart of the Midwestern rust belt, from a struggling custom clothing maker in Massachusetts to a thriving co-working center in Minnesota, she marshals evidence from a wide range of disciplines to show how our educational system, our politics, and our very sense of self have been held captive to and distorted by outdated notions of what it means to get and keep a good job. We read stories of sausage makers, firefighters, zookeepers, hospital cleaners; we hear from economists, computer scientists, psychologists, and historians. The book's four sections take us from the challenges we face in scoring a good job today to work's infinite possibilities in the future. Work, in all its richness, complexity, rewards and pain, is essential for people to flourish. Ellen Ruppel Shell paints a compelling portrait of where we stand today, and points to a promising and hopeful way forward.
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    Suffering Less

    How many years of fatigue and punishment it takes to learn the simple truth that work, that disagreeable thing, is the only way of not suffering in life, or at all events, of suffering less.

    —Charles Baudelaire

    If the American dream came packaged in human form, Abe Gorelick would be a perfect match. Crisp, youthful, and tirelessly upbeat, his hair has just the right touch of gray, his smile just the right blend of humility and charm. He lives in a fine house on a cul-de-sac in a million-dollar neighborhood known for its good schools. He drives his three kids to soccer practice in a forest-green Jaguar the likes of which his own father—a retired high school Spanish teacher—could barely imagine. He sits on two philanthropic boards and holds a leadership role at his synagogue. He plays league softball and basketball and can't help feeling proud of his three-point shot.

    One glance at Gorelick's résumé makes clear that this seeming prosperity was well earned: titles like "senior vice president," "general manager," and "principal consultant" all funnel into an Ivy League degree capped with an MBA from the University of Chicago. A veteran strategist, Gorelick had partnered with major financial institutions, airlines, pharmaceutical companies, global retailers, and start-ups large and small. Digitally savvy and forward thinking, he was by all appearances a winner—a member of the top 4 or 5 percent flying high in the knowledge economy.

    But that was then, just short of his fifty-seventh birthday. Just shy of his fifty-eighth, Gorelick was still proud of his three-point shot. But the rest of his life had come unhinged from his résumé. When we first met in person, he was driving a cab, manning a cash register at Whole Foods, and peddling neckties at Lord and Taylor. The take-home pay for these part-time gigs paled compared to his previous earnings, most recently as principal for global strategy and innovation at an international marketing firm. Gorelick was unceremoniously "downsized" from that job for reasons that elude him, but he tried not to dwell on that. He was clinging to what he called the "bright side." He enjoyed bantering with customers at the supermarket. He was pleased when an elderly woman brought him a treat after he helped her get in and out of his cab—it felt great to make a difference in people's lives and to be appreciated. Still, he wanted his career back. He knew the obstacles—his age, for one, worked against him. He wasn't naive. But he didn't believe that age was the essential problem. He believed the problem was him. And he had plans to fix that. He had enlisted a job counselor, had joined a support group, and, with his wife, was spending long hours rehashing the past in an attempt to make right whatever was holding him back, as well as preserve their marriage in the face of these new headwinds and challenges. The marriage, he said, teetered on the edge of his fragile ego, and his ego depended on his professional success.

    "For a long time I wanted to be who I am," he confided over chamomile tea in a café outside Boston. "And I think that hurt me. Most companies, you've got to fit into their culture. And I guess I didn't always do that. I was always, you know, me. And I guess that wasn't what they were looking for."

    Gorelick's career successes surpass those of most Americans. With all his savvy and privilege, we might believe, he should have known and planned better. He freely acknowledges that, and agrees that there is no shame in driving a cab or bagging groceries.

    Still, the outline of Gorelick's story may strike a...
About the Author-
  • Ellen Ruppel Shell is a professor of journalist at Boston University, and a correspondent for The Atlantic. She has written for The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, The Guardian, The Smithsonian, Slate, The Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, O and Discover. She is currently a contributor to Scientific American, and to the Washington Post book page. She is the author of Cheap, and the Hungry Gene. She lives in the Boston metropolitan area.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 13, 2018
    Shell (Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture), a Boston University journalism professor, investigates the status of work in 21st-century America in this sweeping study. The basic problem, she observes, is that “the number of living-wage jobs has declined in the 21st century.” In order to elucidate the causes of underemployment, Shell speaks to workers of all stripes and from across the country. Analyzing “digital-age capitalism,” she dispels myths about how technology has changed the job market, observing that the greatest increase in demand has not been for highly paid professions like engineering and medicine but for poorly paid service jobs. For a counterexample to the fragmented, work-obsessed, and individualistic U.S., she travels to Finland, a “modern success story,” she deems, “built on an extraordinary level of social trust.” Throughout, she emphasizes to what degree people derive meaning from work and the problems that arise when their work is fundamentally unsatisfying. According to Shell, Americans as a people must change their way of determining what constitutes a good job and even upend the concept of work as they know it. General readers will appreciate the breadth and scope of Shell’s thoughtful, inquisitive work.

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2018

    Journalist Shell (Cheap; Hungry Gene) examines how rapid economic change has affected not only how jobs are performed, but also the meaning of work. Surveying advice commonly given to those seeking first employment or retraining for new jobs, Shell finds persistent ideas about the meaning of work that are radically at odds with current economic realities. According to the author, these outmoded myths often carry over to the educational and political systems that fail to prepare individuals for the new world of work and accentuate the difference between ambition and reality. Early chapters of the book present grim stories of disillusionment within the workplace. As Shell moves through her discussion of the changing world of work, she also explores distinctive educational, entrepreneurial, and economic models that attempt to disrupt accustomed patterns, such as the educational approach of Berea College. The book concludes with a degree of optimism that contrasts with the apparent hopelessness of early sections. While not breaking new ground, Shell nonetheless will stimulate thinking about new approaches to the inevitability of work. VERDICT A highly readable book that will appeal to general readers trying to understand the rapid changes in the nature of work.--Charles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Title Information+
  • Publisher
    The Crown Publishing Group
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

Status bar:

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Checkouts page to manage your titles.

Close

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Checkouts?

Close

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You've reached the maximum number of titles you can recommend at this time. You can recommend up to 1 titles every 78 day(s).

Close

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

Close

Enhanced Details

Close
Close

Limited availability

Availability can change throughout the month based on the library's budget.

is available for days.

Once playback starts, you have hours to view the title.

Close

Permissions

Close

The OverDrive Read format of this eBook has professional narration that plays while you read in your browser. Learn more here.

Close

Holds

Total holds:


Close

Restricted

Some format options have been disabled. You may see additional download options outside of this network.

Close

MP3 audiobooks are only supported on macOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) through 10.14 (Mojave). Learn more about MP3 audiobook support on Macs.

Close

You've reached your library's checkout limit for digital titles.

To make room for more checkouts, you may be able to return titles from your Checkouts page.

Close

Excessive Checkout Limit Reached.

There have been too many titles checked out and returned by your account within a short period of time.

Try again in several days. If you are still not able to check out titles after 7 days, please contact Support.

Close

You have already checked out this title. To access it, return to your Checkouts page.

Close

This title is not available for your card type. If you think this is an error contact support.

Close

An unexpected error has occurred.

If this problem persists, please contact support.

Close

Close

NOTE: Barnes and Noble® may change this list of devices at any time.

Close
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Job
The Job
Work and Its Future in a Time of Radical Change
Ellen Ruppel Shell
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
Close
Close

There are no copies of this issue left to borrow. Please try to borrow this title again when a new issue is released.

Close
Barnes & Noble Sign In |   Sign In

You will be prompted to sign into your library account on the next page.

If this is your first time selecting “Send to NOOK,” you will then be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

The first time you select “Send to NOOK,” you will be taken to a Barnes & Noble page to sign into (or create) your NOOK account. You should only have to sign into your NOOK account once to link it to your library account. After this one-time step, periodicals will be automatically sent to your NOOK account when you select "Send to NOOK."

You can read periodicals on any NOOK tablet or in the free NOOK reading app for iOS, Android or Windows 8.

Accept to ContinueCancel