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Work Changes

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mich93
Words 1675
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Running head: WORK CHANGES

Work Changes
Many things change in the course of time. Often even though the outside world changes the workplace stays the same, becoming the last place to take the steps to become part of society.
The short story “In Service” was written by Louisa May Alcott. Miss Alcott grew up in a time when poverty was very common and work was hard to find. She had a lot of jobs in her teens. Miss Alcott also was left to take care of her family. She worked as a seamstress and also was a companion a few times. Her passion was writing but not until 1855 did she have her first work published. (Alcott, 1996)
In the 1800’s work was a lot different, there were still slaves and whites and colors were not used to working with each other. The story “In Service” tells about a white women who even thought she has been schooled, she is still not able to find work. She ends up going to an intelligence office and having them find her work. The intelligence office is probably like going to a temp agency of the 20th century. While Christie is working for her new mistress she runs into lots of problems she has to resolve to tasks she thinks is degrading and she also has to reassess what she really wants in the future. The job in this story is a lot like the jobs of today. So is the way she went about getting it.
After reading the story a few times you start to sympathize with Christie as you follow her thru her journey. She starts out with analyzing what kind of job she would like to try and what she is good at and after making a plan she carries it out. You begin to realize how hard it was for women; even with extra schooling to find a job. If you think about how much money they made in the 1800’s and how hard they worked it was probably a little overwhelming. Even though it was not an issue for Christie to work with a women of color, her mistress express’ how hard it has been to find someone who would fit in well with the cook who was of a darker color.
In the end Christie lets her guard down and ends up losing her job. Just to have to start all over again.
When you look at any type of literally type of writing you look at the times in which it was wrote. Most writing refers to the writer time or a little bit before. They have experienced it on a firsthand experience. They never write about something they have not experiences or something some has told them and they did their own personal research to share a message to the massive. When you look at poetry for instance it comes from the very body and soul of the writer. They are trying to convey a message of hope, understanding, love, pain and also affliction. When you look at different messages they are trying to put you into their world and give you hope or something to compare. They express a message of change.
When you look at “ Share Croppers” by Langston Hughes you see how it was back at a time when he was young and even though he later moved up north he experienced what it was like to be a black southern at the turn of century. He shows in poem how they worked and it was business mostly for African American and whites made all the money and all they was given was land. He expressed in one statement “When the cotton’s picked and the work is done. Boss man takes the money and we get none “(Hughes, 1996). In today’s society we would have all kinds of lawsuits and labor laws enforced. At the time this was wrote those things didn’t exist especially for African Americans. He showed how times back in those days were hard and they couldn’t do anything about it. He even refers to them as “negroes “and has heard. Like it was an everyday routine and nothing would change. Now in today society the business has changed where every race is treated with respect and given the same rights as the white man. Much has changed from laws , to labor laws and to where blacks own cotton fields and are prospering in the ever growing world. Things have changed in the business of share cropping.

Back in 1880’s, Shozo Shimada came to America from Japan penniless. Sought out to work as a laborer“It wasn’t long, however, before he saw the futility in trying to compete with American laborers whose bodies were twice his in muscle and bulk. He knew he would never go far as a laborer, but he did posses another skill that could give him a start toward better things. He knew how to sew” (Uchida, 1996). So “He set aside his shovel, and hung a dressmaker’s sign in his window. He was in business” (Uchida , 1996).
With the process of his business climbing Mr. Shimada opens the first Japanese Dry Good Store. Since then Shimada opened a lot of plants throughout the world. Upon employment Mr. Shimada expected his employees at all times they had to wear “a clean white shirt and a black bow tie” (Uchida, 1996). Shimada became “one of the first Japanese millionaires of America” (Uchida, 1996). He also opened a couple of banks and gave out loans to his closets friends, never asking for collateral. “He operated his banks on faith and trust and gave no thought to such common prudence as maintaining a reserve” (Uchida, 1996). In 1929 both of Shimada banks had failed and business went downhill because of other companies opening other Japanese Dry Good Stores. Returning back to “Japan penniless as the day he set out for America” (Uchida, 1996). In this short story it portrays the business in the past as franchises. Back in the 1900’s they expected their employees to wear white shirts and black bow ties. In the present employments not all employees have to wear white shirts and black bow ties. Employees can wear different color shirts and ties not bow ties. At the end of this story one of Shimada employees still had enough respect to wear the white shirt and black bow tie in his presences even if they were not at work. This employee did this until the day Mr. Shimada's died. “He said, “well, perhaps it is time now that I put away my black bow tie” (Uchida, 1996).
Does literature from different times focus on different aspects of business? If so, so how is change address differently? Are different elements of change addressed? Yes. The time in which the literature “My Lack of Gumption” was written depicts a totally different work style and ethic. Along with different expectations.
“My Lack of Gumption” was based in the 1930;s during the depression. During that time the business world was so much different, than the world of business today.
In the 1930’s, children were expected to be career originated. Due to that period of time children worked lot younger than they do today. During that time the government had not set child labor laws to keep children from working too young. In the 1930’s an eight year old child could stand on a street corner selling magazines in the dark and it was okay. The parents encouraged the children to work and work hard very early on in their lives.
For example, Russell Baker was only eight years old when he began sailing the Saturday Evening Post. He did not like sailing those magazines however his mother encouraged him to sale them and he did sale them for three years.
Today an eight year old cannot work let alone be paid for any work he or she was done for a business. Adults expected so much more from children back ten.
A child standing on a corner sailing magazines alone at the age of eight would not happen today.
Another difference in business verse today; “My Lack of Gumption” also focuses on how girls were only good enough to be a nurse or a school teacher. In the 1930’s there was not a lot of expectation for girls or woman. Today, a girl can grow up to be anything she hopes and dreams to be, as long as she works work for that dream.
When Russell Baked wrote “My Lack of Gumption” he did not compare his childhood to the children of today. He only wrote of what he knew first hand growing up during the depression.
The aspects of business have changed a lot form 1932 until today. As Russell Baker once said “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." Russell Baker knew when he was eleven years old that he wanted to be a writer after scoring an A on a composition for class.


Alcott, Louisa May. (1996)The Art of Work: An Anthology of Workplace Literature. (C.CA Rocco & J. Caughlin. Eds.) Cincinnati, OH: South Western Educational Publishing.

Russell Baker.(2010). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved January 09,2010,from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http/

Uchida, Yoshiko (1996). The Art of Work: An Anthology of Workplace Literature. (C.CA Rocco & J. Caughlin. Eds.) Cincinnati, OH: South Western Educational Publishing.

Baker, Russell. (1996). Art of Work: An Anthology of Workplace Literature. (C.CA Rocco & J. Caughlin. Eds.) Cincinnati, OH: South Western Educational Publishing.

Hughes, Langston. (1996). Art of Work: An Anthology of Workplace Literature. (C.CA Rocco & J. Caughlin. Eds.) Cincinnati, OH: South Western Educational Publishing…...

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