Sociology of Work
Essay title: Sociology of Work
A human being must have occupation if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.
Dorothy L. Sayers (1893 – 1957)
A career is many different things to different people, but what I’ve learned for this course is that a career is a number of related work statuses that a person fills over time.
A career can mean professional occupation, also, which is an expert knowledge of one’s work and having more control over your work environment as well as exclusive jurisdiction over primary tasks that are yours alone. One must have an education and expertise within the field of professionalism. There is usually a certain amount of respect that follows one in a profession over, say, a laborer position or contingent workers.
One will often stay in their chosen professional occupation a lifetime, as there is upwardly mobile opportunities and usually good pay with benefits and job stability.
The Los Angeles police can be called professionals in some ways, yet unqualifying in other aspects of the job.
A police officer is trained, exclusively, for a certain type of work, unlike any other profession, exactly. It is concentrated and requires expert knowledge in the field. There is definitely room for advancement within the field, from senior officer to detective to chief.
The police however, are not highly paid and put their lives on the line without much social gratification. Police are awed by children and feared by others, as they seem to be their own entity, not socializing with civilians very often. The nature of the work tends to exclude those not privy to it’s every day duties, triumphs and disasters.
This leads to high divorce rates and often a lack of diverse friendships and this can lead to feelings of aloneness and despair, also leaving a high suicide rate in its wake.
The career of a police officer can be contradictory in its protean yet stable position. One rarely finds a cop who, after 20 years on the beat, becomes a lawyer, dentist or journalist! However, the job itself is fluctuating and interchangeable daily, due to the very nature of dealing with people all day, as enemy or as hero, or sometimes both.
It may take a lifelong commitment to qualify as a professional occupation, due to the amount of time one must put in to the job to receive the rewards.
“Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.”
~Margaret Fuller Woman in the Nineteenth Century, 1845
Gender in the workplace has changed many times over the millennium, dependent on the culture. This has always been a focus point for sociologists as it is such an interesting point of focus concerning careers, jobs, expectations and duties of the opposing sexes.
“Rosy cheeked and bright eyed, she would know how to darn a stocking and mend her own dresscommand a regiment of pots and kettles and be a lady when required.” This statement is that of what we used to think an ideal, working woman was. (Mackie, 55) This is an interesting view on how women have been socially constructed with regard to their place in the work force. This naturally means that men have been constructed toward a different position in the workplace? Although women have progressed, as far as occupational status is concerned, patriarchy still persists in our modern society.
A woman in the armed services, for example, is often labeled as a “butch”. Men are also expected to behave in a manly or masculine way by society. Men who occupy a non-traditional type of job, for example a nurse, might be called a “sissy”. When men or women deviate from the social, expected norm, they are often labeled and perceived in a negative way by society.
Career women are often viewed in a negative way by society because there is still an expectation that women, who are wives and mothers, should be at home looking after their children and preparing a nice home and meals for husbands and families. Women who choose to work often work harder than their male counterparts because they are working in a male-dominated field and have to constantly prove that they are capable and deserving of that role.
A frightening example of this is shown in Nemerowicz’s book, Children’s Perception of Gender and Work Roles. Nemerowicz asked fourth grade children to draw a man at work and a woman at work. Eighty-six percent of the pictures showed men in jobs associated with power and labor of some kind (Mackie, 62). Men were drawn as construction workers, policemen,