About the Author
Daniel S. Levine is an award winning business journalist and creator and editor of Disgruntled,
"The Business Magazine For People Who Work For A Living". Mr. Levine's work has appeared in The New York Times, The San Francisco Examiner, Adweek, PC World, The San Francisco Business Times, World Trade, Wired News
and The Oakland Tribune.
He has a masters in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley and an A.B. in English from Vassar College.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
(from the opening of chapter I -- Why Work Sucks)
Bobby Northington had nothing to lose but his chains. A $5.50-an-hour production worker at Hambleton-Hill Publishing in Nashville, Tenn., Northington had been on the job three days. Early in the afternoon of July 12, 1995, he rose from his seat, walked about ten feet to a colleague to give her a piece of chewing gum and immediately returned to his workstation. His supervisor then approached him with a chain and padlocked him to his desk. Amused, she laughed and said that she should now finally be able to get some production out of him. He was kept that way for 40 minutes, a fitting image of life on the job today.
Northington worked the rest of the day, then resigned and filed suit against his company and supervisor for false imprisonment, outrageous conduct and for creating an extreme and abusive work environment. Some people just don't have a sense of humor. In response to the allegations, Hambleton-Hill Publishing denied any wrongdoing. The company said it immediately checked into the charges and found conflicting reports. Though the case is still pending, the company said as a matter of policy it does not approve the activity alleged in the suit -- at least not without the supervisor completing all of the requisite forms in triplicate.
Welcome to the wonderful world of work. From the moment God threw Adam's sorry ass out of Eden and told him to go work for a living, we have toiled to get our bread from the sweat of our brows. For many of us, the hot sun may have been replaced by the harsh glow of fluorescent bulbs, the green fields by gray cubicles and the physical strain by that unique brand of torment that could only come from working for someone stupider than ourselves, but it's work just the same.
If the existentialists are right -- that action defines being -- then we are what we do and what we do is work. It defines us and consumes us. When we are not at work, we are driving to it or escaping from it, doing it at home or preparing for it. If our struggle for the legal tender has put us a bit on edge these days so that we go home and yell at the kids or kick the dog now and then, that's too bad. But it's part of making a living and they probably deserve it anyway.