Terkel interviewed people of all walks of life (though mostly the working kind) about what they do and how they feel about it. The result is a massive collection of failed dreams, despair, hope, and pride. Each of us wants to work and work hard, but so much of modern American life thwarts that simple need.
My father’s in watch repair. That’s always interested me, working with my hands, and independent. I don’t think I’d mind going back and learning something, taking a piece of furniture and refinishing it. The type of thing where you know what you’re doing and you can create and you can fix something to make it function. At the switchboard you don’t do much of anything.
I think the whole idea of receptionists is going to change. We’re going to have to find machines which can do that sort of thing. You’re wasting an awful lot of human power.Terkel, Working, page 30
Of course, we did replace switchboard operators with machines, but we continue to waste human power in myriad other ways.
I’m always struck by those who claim “creatives” are a different kind of people; as if some of us need creative jobs, while others do not. A bigger pile of bullshit I’m not sure I’ve seen. Being creative is a basic human need.