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Manifestation of Social Class in the Workplace - Essay Example

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Manifestations of Social Class in the Workplace June 18, 2012 Manifestations of Social Class in the Workplace Ehrenreichs (2008) “Serving in Florida” is her personal narrative of her experience of how she struggled in participating in the work force, which gives an account of her attempts to secure a job with the intention of covering her expenses…
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Manifestation of Social Class in the Workplace

Download file to see previous pages... “Serving in Florida” is the story of how social class is manifested, structured and stratified in the workplace. Because of this stratification and structure it paves the way for the higher social class to take advantage of people who are in the lower social class (Sanders, 1990). In Ehrenreichs (2008) dialogue, she underlines the harsh working conditions a laborer deals with on a daily basis in order for him or her to survive, which brings a glaring contradiction in consideration of the promise of the social-paradigm, capitalism. In the start of her story, career opportunities appear abundant. This is indicated by work advertisements, which ensure that the company will have an employment pool that compensates for high attrition and employment costs. Her failure to secure employment supports the argument that the idea of abundant opportunities is only an illusion. In a broader perspective, this is a manifestation of how the very principles of capitalism such as profit-maximization and cost-reduction can be argued to result in the frail economic conditions of the lower wage-earning sector. While one may argue that social class is inevitable, because competition itself occurs within the social classes; some of them earning more than others; some of them become managers while some subordinates. While this cycle is true and not necessarily wrong, what deserves attention in Ehrenreichs (2008) story is the extremity of the level of poverty and difficulty that the lower social class has to endure, even in the event that they have worked hard. This puts the working class in a very disadvantaged position, which manifests in a simple fact: the salary or wage that a regular employee is earning, even including the so called benefits that are attached with employment such as health care and other insurances, is not sufficient to provide for a fairly well level of lifestyle, and to that ‘American dream’, more so. The amount of work a blue-collar employee is required to do, as made evident in the story is still not enough to pay for his or her basic needs, more so the things he or she desires to have to establish a good quality of life, such as land and housing property of his or her own. “God helps those who help themselves” is the spirit of work ethic that capitalism operates around (Weber, 2002), and while this has definitely contributed to the overall value that western societies assign to employment, it seems to have been already lost in Ehrenreichs (2008) account. Ultimately, the status of the narrator, being a low wageworker in the hospitality business, is an unfortunate irony, because while her work requires her to be accommodating to the needs of her company’s clients, she is not able to do the same for her own sake, a circumstance that does not indeed sit well with the promise of capitalism, given its operating principle: the profit motive, the perfect competition, the free enterprise and the deregulated market- all are in theory supposed to work such that there will be a sustainable life not only for those what will succeed in the establishment of businesses, such as those that the characters in the story are employed under, but also the labor sector itself must be included in that growth. In this story, it ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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