What We Do All Day

Share this post

What do you do all day and what does it mean to you? Many of us move from job to job, project to project, customer to customer, or widget to widget without giving it much thought. How does what we do all day reflect meaning in our life? Is what we do all day important? And to whom?

In his groundbreaking 1974 book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do, oral historian Studs Terkel first asked people across America those questions, and the answers ranged from surprising to inspiring to shocking to funny.

Terkel’s book became a best seller (and even inspired a Broadway musical) while forever changing its readers’ views on their work and the work of others. Some of Terkel’s original interviews were recently recovered from his Chicago home and are included in an audio series called Working: Then and Now produced by Radio Diaries and Project&.    

The Working in America multimedia project is also documenting the stories of workers in all kinds of occupations across the country by asking them to submit answers to the questions “What is one thing about your work that most people don’t know?” and “What makes you most proud of the work that you do?”

In the introduction to Working, Terkel writes: “[This book] is about a search, too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying. Perhaps immortality, too, is part of the quest. To be remembered was the wish, spoken and unspoken, of the heroes and heroines of this book.”  

Pia Hinckle is a journalist and the publisher of The FruitGuys Magazine.

Want more WorkLife articles? We've got you covered.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter


Recent WorkLife articles:

How food in the office impacts productivity
February 23, 2017
Do the old rules about not talking politics at work still hold?
February 21, 2017
Six easy ways to make your workplace healthier
January 11, 2017
Ten ways to get your office into the holiday spirit
November 16, 2016
How to survive an open-office floor plan
October 26, 2016
Exploring the meaning of work in America
September 28, 2016
Office etiquette for the election season
September 21, 2016
Will the king of the road finally lose its throne?
August 24, 2016
Dress for success—even in the heat
July 27, 2016
Don’t let business travel steal your health
July 25, 2016

More recent articles:

A good self-care regimen can help you feel better faster
February 22, 2017
Climb the stairway to wellness with a workplace stair challenge
February 22, 2017
A primer in praise of the potato
February 13, 2017
The FruitGuys donated 2 million servings of fresh produce in 2016
January 24, 2017
Why music boosts your exercise sessions
January 24, 2017
Blood oranges and kumquats star in a heart-healthy Valentine’s Day dinner
January 19, 2017
Five workouts to try in 2017
December 13, 2016
Craft cocktail–inspired mocktails for your holiday parties
December 12, 2016
Resolve to turn the good things you already do into habits
December 12, 2016

About Us

Our monthly online magazine features articles about fitness, health, food, and work, as well as recipes featuring farm-fresh fruit!