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Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America's Best Workers Are Unhappier Than Ever Hardcover – June 24, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

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Labor writer Kusnet focuses on four Seattle-area companies—Microsoft, Boeing, Kaiser Aluminum, and Northwest Hospital—as microcosms of growing national discontent among workers, both white- and blue-collar. He begins with information about the protests at the 2000 World Trade Organization Conference in Seattle, a lightning rod for those fearing diminished pay and benefits and job loss due to outsourcing and other global-economy realities. Weiner narrates in tones that convey shared pain and empathy for employees, and listeners feel the workers’ frustrations. Managers are pressured by “bean counters” who stipulate bottom-line increases. The trade-off is compromising our most significant competitive edge: quality. Weiner’s voice deepens to resonate with sincerity and grief at the loss of worker satisfaction, dignity, autonomy, and self-esteem in workplaces shortsightedly focusing on short-term numbers rather than jobs well done. --Whitney Scott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Why are so many of America's most educated, skilled, and committed workers angrier than ever?

In Love the Work, Hate the Job, author David Kusnet follows workers through four conflicts in the trailblazing city of Seattle. At Boeing, aircraft engineers and technicians conducted the longest and largest strike by professionals in private industry in U.S. history, but their picket signs said they were "On Strike for Boeing." At Microsoft, thousands of workers holding short-term positions founded their own Web site to protest being "perma-temps." Still, they were almost as upset about their problems testing software as they were about their own precarious prospects. At a local hospital, workers complained that patient care was getting short shrift and organized with the nation's fastest-growing union. And at Kaiser Aluminum, during a labor-manage-ment conflict that dragged on for two years, workers allied themselves with environmentalists to fight cutthroat corporate tactics.

Like their counterparts across the country, these workers cared about much more than money. Americans increasingly like the work they do but not the conditions under which they do it. In fact, a growing number of employees believe they care more about the quality of their products and services than the executives they work for. That's why the workplace conflicts of the future will focus on model employees who were forced to become malcontents because they "care enough to get mad."

Coming in the aftermath of the mass protests at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999, these conflicts point out the paradox of globalization. U.S. companies can compete most successfully by improving quality instead of just cutting costs. But penny-pinching practices can prevent their best workers from doing their best work, fueling workplace conflicts and depriving businesses of their single greatest advantage.

With powerful storytelling, revealing detail, and compelling analysis, Love the Work, Hate the Job offers provocative insights into today's workplaces, tomorrow's headlines, and Americans' too-often thwarted aspirations to do their jobs better.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471742058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471742050
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,881,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kusnet was chief speechwriter for President Bill Clinton from 1992 through 1994.

He is the author of "Love the Work, Hate the Job: Why America's Best Workers Are More Unhappy than Ever" (Wiley, 2008) and "Speaking American: How the Democrats Can Win in the Nineties" (Thunder's Mouth, 1992). He collaborated with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney on "America Needs a Raise" (Houghton-Mifflin, 1995) and the General Contractors Association of New York on "To Build New York" (McGraw-Hill, 2008).

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By H. D. Espinosa on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Love the Work, Hate the Job" is a book that basically discusses how the relationship between employers and employees has dramatically changed over the years. It all began in the early days with a master-slave approach, then turned into making the work environment as pleasant as possible with the implementation of "human management", and finally due to global competition and other related evil, stepped backwards by companies starting to treat employees as disposable resources, or "costs to be cut instead of assets to be invested in", as the book mentions.

It is claimed that companies are today more focused on costs reductions instead of making quality products, putting their trust built over years into serious risk. Innovative and creative projects that is often brought by the most competent professionals inside the companies are often blocked by "bean counters" who have no vision of the technology evolution and think that expensive investments are just useless for the short run, completely ignoring the benefits for the long run. If one informed reader thinks about what is said in this book, he/she will certainly have to agree with it. Just look around and see that even though we live in a high-tech environment with possibilities that no one has ever predicted before, it is often easy to buy brand new - but defective - products supported by an awful customer service. One might even say - and not without reason - that there's nothing like the old products. They might not be as fancy as today's ones, but used to work like a Swiss watch.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to this book. Many of my career clients can relate to the title. They like what they're doing but get frustrated by the company or the boss.

Readers will be surprised if they choose this book based on title and jacket The book'is really about frusrations among whole classes of workers who used to be considered professional. Author Kusnet seems to think unions represent the prime resource to help.

Kusnet begins with a summary of the 1999 Seattle labor riots. suggests this riot "foreshadows" future labor struggles. But nearly ten years later, not much has changed. For example, the model of hiring a core of permanent workers and a large force of temps (who receive no benefits) seems increasingly popular.

I don't envy part-timers. Kusnet describes their frustration: no meaningful evaluations, no relationship to their employers who can seem cruelly indifferent.

But let's get real: these arrangements offer solid economic benefits to the hiring company. Companies aren't nice to employees out of kindness. They're nice when they want to get and keep hard-to-find employees.

A second category of unhappy workers: nurses and other professionals who can't do their job the way they want. Nurses are too busy to provide proper care, let alone comfort their patients. Doctors are caught up in mountains of paperwork.

Kusnet suggests the answer comes from unions. His book is featured on the website of "Wash Tech," the Washington Alliance of Technological Workers.

But why should workers expect unions to help? Working in a union shop is like having 2 bosses: your company and your union.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Plenum on December 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
... unless they're looking to unionize. Interesting stories of professional and quasi-professional workers banding together. A little light on statistics (what do you want from a political speechwriter?). This is a narrow view of what some workers can do in the post-industrial world.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor LeCain on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "must-read" for workers and employers, told by a master storyteller. The author offers insights into work life in modern America through interesting stories of people and the companies for which they work. You will see behind-the-scenes what's really going on in Microsoft, Boeing, and other top corporations. So gracefully written, this book is a joy to read. Give yourself and treat and get it today.
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