HOW TO TELL WHEN YOU'RE TIRED: A Brief Examination of Work by Reg Theriault

HOW TO TELL WHEN YOU'RE TIRED: A Brief Examination of Work

Email this review


Professional longshoreman and itinerant fruit picker Theriault punches in with a perspective that has been out of fashion lately: that of the worker who, he demonstrates, is entitled to some respect. When Theriault talks about work, he does not mean selling stuff or pushing papers or talking on the phone. He means hard physical labor. The trucker and assembly-line worker, the toiling rank and file are his people. He vividly describes life as a fruit tramp and as a dock hand. In 30 years on the waterfront Theriault has unloaded skins and coffee and dealt with gang bosses and walking bosses, lazy youths and wise elders, pain and injury. And he has a proper disdain for the guys with the clipboards. The rotten jobs of the world are surveyed from the viewpoint of the worker, a viewpoint he finds scanted throughout history. Perforce, his perspective is somewhat to the left of the current center. That is appropriate. The author knows exploitation when it is practiced by those ""controlling the means of production,"" to use one of his favorite phrases. He recognizes the political aspects of work, but unlike Marx, he has done hard labor and knows that Marxism is no answer. Theriault--well read, observant, and wry of wit--ultimately pleads simply for understanding of the men and women with the wrenches and the hoes. ""It takes two to raise a roofbeam,"" he reminds us. And in a time of general downsizing, it's not a bad reminder, for who will buy all the products when those on the production line are out of work? less Peter Drucker--like than Studs Terkelish, this is a generally enlightening report about the dignity of hard work from the largely unexplored land of the blue collar. No heavy lifting required.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0393315576
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Norton