WOMEN AT THEIR WORK by Betty Lou English


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Twenty-one women working at jobs usually filled by men take turns discussing their careers as facing photos show them in action. The one-page, first-person profiles sometimes seem tailored to a questionnaire about the ""hardest,"" ""most exciting,"" and ""nicest"" parts of their jobs, and too many of the professionals among them seem interested only in expressing the sentiments expected of them: a judge believes that ""everyone should be treated fairly,"" and, for satisfaction, she cites a letter from a prisoner she had sentenced who is going to college in prison; what the first American woman rabbi likes most about her job is ""helping people""; another woman chose pediatric dentistry because ""I like children and want to help them""; and to the chairman of Michigan's chemistry department, ""seeing my students getting ahead in their studies is the nicest part"" of her work. Lower-status workers have a harder time coming up with altruistic rewards: a letter carrier's ""most exciting"" activity is delivering a big check to someone, and all the telephone installer can find to report is the time a customer's dog had her trapped in the basement. Out of the mainstream, an American Indian artist, a harbor launch operator, and a ""Medical-Spanish Program Director"" (who teaches medical students and other health workers about Puerto Rican culture) are less predictable, hence more interesting; but overall personality and enthusiasm do not come across despite all the positive statements. A utilitarian, if glossy sampling of non-traditional possibilities--at the coffee break level.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1977
Publisher: Dial