I'M SO much better at reading about work than actually working.
29 February 2012
A while back I read and enjoyed the oral history collection Gig: Americans Talk about Their Jobs, edited by John Bowe, Marisa Bowe, and Sabin Streeter. Just lately, I don't know why, I felt like reading it again. So I did.
I liked it the first time, and I liked it again. I'm a fan of oral histories in general; reading them is like attending a party where you don't know anyone but all the other attendees are very happy to talk to you, and they all have interesting stories. (This is almost completely unlike parties in my reality, except for the part where I don't know anyone.)
In this collection, published in 2000, individuals with all sorts of jobs (they're listed very helpfully on the back cover, and range from a UPS driver to a crime scene cleaner; a video game designer to a professional hockey player; a porn star to a funeral home director) speak frankly about what they do. Each story is only about 5 to 10 pages long, so it's an easy book to read in little snippets. And it might appeal to any fiction readers you might know--Mr. CR read quite a bit of it too, and even enjoyed talking some of it over, although he was a bit shocked and dismayed by some of the stories about drugs and groupies told by the heavy metal roadie.*
Readers who enjoy work memoirs might get a kick out of this one. I think I originally found it because I'm a big fan of John Bowe--loved his investigative book Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy, and also enjoyed his later oral history titled Us: Americans Talk about Love.
*They were a bit shocking, but for some reason I was not as surprised, I don't think, as Mr. CR. Perhaps I have been jaded by reading more shocking nonfiction (true crime comes to mind) than he has.