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"The Corrosion Of Character" - R. Sennett

Essay by   •  May 7, 2011  •  800 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,341 Views

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What is the writer saying?

The general essence of the article is that the old ways of work and the work ethic of the older generations have broken apart. In place of stable routine and predictable career paths, employees are now expected to be fluid in their jobs, and open to change on very short notice. Workers of today's generation can no longer expect long term work, or the trust and loyalty that were given to the employees of the older generation. In some ways, the writer argues that this change between the generations is positive, as they can make for a more dynamic economy. However, they are also the cause of the article's title, "The Corrosion of Character". The work ethics of the employees are no longer valued. They are taken as face value, and there is no trust and loyalty. These changes are destructive to the worker's sense of sustained purpose, integrity of self and the trust they hold in others within the workplace.

What are some of the main themes he is addressing?

The main themes addressed in this article are the generational changes within the workforce, the advancements in the economy that are affecting the workplaces and the changes in the work ethic of employees.

What is his basis for saying this?

Sennett once interviewed a man named Enrico, a janitor, whilst writing a book. Twenty five years later, a chance encounter with Enrico's son, Rico at an airport led him to write 'The Corrosion of Character'. Rico had been able to make a good life for himself as a wealthy professional. Sennett talks about the generational changes within the workforce because of the importance of acknowledging the severe impacts it has had on the lives of some people. Whilst many have been able to adapt to the changes that the evolving economy has placed upon organisations, it is important to address what it is doing to people and their sense of identity within the workplace.

What is he using as evidence?

Sennett's comparisons between the lives of the father and the son illustrate the huge generational changes within the workplace. Jobs in Rico's time are no longer long term, making job security a thing of the past. While he earns a great deal more money than his father did, he faces an unpredictable future, as he doesn't know where his employment will take him, or for how long it will last. Enrico's work was mundane and boring; however he knew exactly where he would be and how much he would be earning when he retired. Sennett's article examines the effect of these new work places on the people who populate them and on society in general.

What theoretical framework is he writing from?

The theoretical framework which Sennett bases his article on is not completely clear cut. Whilst it is evident that he is writing from a capitalistic perspective, it is



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