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Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Work | 0 comments

Working, Pt. 1: Sharon Atkins, Receptionist

Working, Pt. 1: Sharon Atkins, Receptionist

  For the next several posts, I’m going to highlight individual stories of people talking about their work. The interviews are from Studs Terkel’s masterful book Working, a compendium of first-hand accounts of people at work: steel workers, cab drivers, farmers, policemen. As I’ve read their stories, I’ve been moved to hushed silence. The cry for dignity, the frustration, the crafting of meaning through work – this is one of the most human books I’ve ever read. What I will do in each post is introduce the individual and his/her work, and then share a lengthy direct quotation from the interviewee. From there, I will offer some brief theological reflections on their experience. Sharon Atkins, 24, works as a receptionist for a large company in the Midwest. As an English major, she originally looked for copy writing jobs, but employers wanted a journalism major instead. So she took a job answering phones. “I changed my opinion of receptionists because now I’m one. It wasn’t the dumb broad at the...

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