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The relationship between the individual and work and family has changed dramatically over the years. Jobs and families both demand enormous commitments of time and energy, especially during peak years of family formation and career growth. Today, jobs usually consume a third of a person's day. Americans put more hours in at work to support their families, creating more stress at home, which results in a work/family conflict, pushing parents into actually seeking more time spent at work to escape these pressures and tensions in the home. Juggling work and family life, particularly undesirable domestic chores, childcare and the increasing uncertainties and pressures of home life, are a few reasons for this battle for time spent between work and family. More effort and time is also put into work to achieve greater autonomy and job satisfaction in the workplace. This upward mobility work ethic is the heart of the American Dream. This work/ family conflict and the need for job satisfaction/autonomy in America is consequently fueled by this fast and furious pace of attaining the American Dream. These are some of the issues that are clearly depicted in the books Rivethead by Ben Hamper and The Time Bind by Arlie Russell Hochschild. Less time spent at home and more time spent at work creates a vicious cycle that is eating away at our home lives. These tendencies have become trends of an entire generation that may be placing more value on work-related achievements than on the necessary nurturing experiences of family life.
The issues of family/work conflict and autonomy/job satisfaction are important issues in the sociology of work today because of the continuous social and economic changes that occur in our society and effect the welfare of American workers and their families.
The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home & Home becomes Work by Arile Russell Hochschild investigates the work/family conflict. Hochschild spent three summers doing field research at a company identified only as a Fortune 500 firm that Hochschild renames Amerco, which had also been credited on several different surveys as being one of America's 10 most "family-friendly" corporations. Hochschild research consists of interviewing all employees in the company from the top executives to factory workers by observed working parents and their children throughout their hectic days. She followed six families through a whole day and much of a night, and sat on the edge of Amerco's parking lot to see when people started work and when they left. This study raises disturbing questions about the impact of time on contemporary lives. The excessive demands of work create stresses at home because there is insufficient time to do everything. This is especially hard on women who bear the brunt of housekeeping chores, and on children, whose emotional needs require time with parents. Except for some older men, the people Hochschild interviews are aware of and concerned about the implications of this 'time bind'. What is surprising, consequently, is their failure to take on reduced workloads, flex time, and other components of the company's effort to help employees balance the demands of work and home. While supporting the existence of these policies, only a few employees take advantage of them. Fears about job security and career advancements are present, of course, but many employees were uninterested in such options because they perceived work, not home, as the less stressful and more emotionally fulfilling environment.
With the employees family's on the brink of disaster and parents feeling perpetually out of control of their children's lives and their own, the office or factory floor ends up providing a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment, camaraderie and overall job satisfaction to these workers. Unfortunately, after uncovering this surprising reversal of standard expectations, Hochschild buries it by simply assuming it is a passion. By escaping from the home by going to work reflects a dynamic with costs, but it also suggests a need to reconsider common conceptions of what constitutes a satisfying life.
Hochschild's solution is a "time movement," and orga
Quotes talked about in this paper
Names mentioned in this research paper
Ben Hamper, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Jobs, Hocschild, Joanie,
Locations included in this term paper
America, Flint, Michigan,
Health Conditions referenced in this report
Companies mentioned in this report
General Motors, Amerco,
Keywords included in this report
job satisfaction, Hamper, Time Bind, factory workers, Rivethead, more time, Ben Hamper, family life, Arlie Russell Hochschild, worker, a vicious cycle, job security, American Dream, 35 hour work week, work conditions, work ethic, flex time, time constraints, workplace, family relationships, dysfunctional family, General Motors, family values, alcohol and drug consumption, fellow workers, experience, achievements, society, social life, fast and furious, all american, hard working, career ladder, working conditions, American society, mood swings, escape me, extra curricular, grassroots movement, company, all day, role model, assembly line, long term, dark humor, chores, field research, global economy, global market, accomplishment,