Bourlee Lam and Adrienne Green, the Atlantic
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Nov 30, 2016 | Every month the Labor Department issues its jobs report, providing a snapshot of the American economy—how many people are employed, how many are looking for work, whether wages are improving or declining. Behind all those numbers are people. What motivates them to go to their jobs every day? What are their hopes for themselves and their families? How does their work affect how they see themselves?
Over the course of several months, we spoke with more than 100 American workers of diverse backgrounds, occupations, and regions about what their work. The project was loosely-based on the 1974 Studs Terkel book Working, in which he describes work as, “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.”
Bourlee Lam is an associate editor at the Atlantic. She was previously the editor of Freakonomics.com.
Adrienne Green, is an assistant editor at the Atlantic .
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The Spiritual Crisis of the Modern Economy, Victor Tan Chen, the Atlantic
Matteo Colombo / Getty
The modern economy privileges the well-educated and highly-skilled, while giving them an excuse to denigrate the people at the bottom (both white and nonwhite) as lazy, untalented, uneducated, and unsophisticated.
Related: The Meaning Americans Find in Their Jobs