Studs Terkel died today. He was 96. He was significant to employee engagement for the book Working he wrote over 30 years ago. The full title of the book was, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.
You could consider the book one of the earliest books on employee engagement and employee disengagement.
When it appeared, “Working” was a revelation, a window on the thoughts of Americans who were rarely heard from: hospital aides, skycaps, gravediggers. Many of the interviews follow a similar, surprising trajectory, beginning with mundane workplace details but quickly moving on to existential thoughts. Even for the lowliest laborers, Mr. Terkel found, work was a search, sometimes successful, sometimes not, “for daily meaning as well as daily bread
Here is a quotation from Terkel:
But once you become active in something, something happens to you. You get excited and suddenly you realize you count. ~ Studs Terkel