Sociology of Work

According to Abbott (2013), an occupation is any form of activity that an individual engages in for a consideration. The consideration, in this case, is usually salary or wages. In this respect, people tend to work in different industries. There are those that prefer to work in the services sector, distribution, manufacturing among others. Involvement of people in different areas tends to complement the economy by creating a balance. For instance, when there are people involved with the extraction of raw materials, there ought to be others involved with the manufacturing or processing of these materials. The balance is necessary for ensuring that the economy is driven in the desired direction. The aspect of job opportunities comes as a result of demand and supply. There are sectors where the demand for employees is usually high compared to the supply. This is more prevalent in jobs requiring technical competencies. Other sectors on the other hand, have more labor supply than the demand. Some of these aspects play a critical role in determining the wage rates. Occupations whose labor supply is less compared to the demand tend to offer higher wages to ensure that they prevent their employees from being lured by competitors. When the supply is higher, the wages tend to be low due to the level of competition. All the occupations tend to have different dynamics and expectations on the side of employees. There are people who remain in a certain occupation because they like it while others are forced by circumstances.

To begin with, people tend to engage themselves with various jobs for different reasons. More insight can be gained by reading through the six case studies available for completing this paper. On my case, I was motivated by the aspect of being able to support my lifestyle. That is taking care of various expenses that arise now and then. There exist similarities and differences on what motivates the other students to get involved with employment. Joyce and Liza have similar reasons to mine. Liza views the job as an avenue to sustaining her life; enabling her to purchase shoes, clothes, and jewelry among other things. Joyce on her part wants to ensure that she sustains herself over the summer without being dependent on anyone. Peter, Mark, and Linda have contrasting reasons. Linda wants to shift from her data entry job so that she can pursue a part-time job that will enable her to incorporate her studies in the schedule. Mark on the other hand, first engaged in his line of employment as he figured out what he fancied doing with his life. Now he has been in that same company for nine years. Peter on the other hand, wanted a more stable job compared to what he had before.

This just shows how people have different reasons for being involved with employment opportunities. People that are in the same age groups or levels of life can have contrasting reasons on why they need to be employed. This is not surprising since people have contrasting beliefs and objectives in life. What one views as a significant factor in determining their future is not as important to another individual.

From the information gathered, gender and race do not seem to be major issues with regards to employment.  As a society, we have come a long way into ensuring that equality is enhanced at all times. Various aspects associated with discrimination have been eliminated, as a result. Females are now being involved in occupations that were ones referred to as “men’s jobs” (Rendon, 2008). The aspect of empowerment has played a vital role in this realization. This is because the inferiority complex that used to exist is long gone. A good example is how the number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 companies list is increasing with time. Currently, it stands at 4.8%, which is an improvement compared to how things were a decade ago (Hadad, 2015). It is certain that with time the percentage will be higher. The case studies indicate that the workplaces involved are accommodative for both genders. It is only in one scenario where the manager prefers to employ only White females. That was the case with Joyce, who was working at the Subway restaurant.  It is not certain whether that was the restaurant’s policy or just the manager’s preference. Either way, it is a bad move since it might harm the business in one way or another. Most consumers tend to associate themselves with employees for various reasons. This means that lack of diversity might affect the type of consumers that frequent the restaurant.

The forms of training provided to employees in various workplaces tend to differ in one way or another. In some workplaces, it is mandatory while in others it is not a necessity. This depends on the nature of activities that employees are expected to execute. There are some that require only provision of instructions and everything proceeds normally. However, there are other occupations that require vigorous training due to the technicalities involved (Morrison & Brantner, 2012). The process of training employees is among the activities where companies incur a substantial amount of money.  This is the reason most organizations request for employees with prior working experience in order to reduce the expenses that will be incurred. From the available case studies, it is perceptible that not all occupations strive to carry out training on their employees. In my case, I did receive training while in the early days working at Zoup. The training was meticulous since everything needed to be executed as prescribed. There was a specific way that every employee was required to greet customers, make salads and sandwiches, take orders and use the cash register. It was simply like being “programmed” since there was no room for making any deviation. This is similar to Mark, who had to receive a substantial amount of training due to nature of work he was expected to execute. He did not have any technological background, so the training was mandatory in order to get him acquainted. For him, he had to put in some extra hours of training so that he would be at par with his colleagues who had some background in the area of expertise involved. In contrast Peter, Liza, Joyce, and Linda do not seem to have undergone formal training. For Joyce, most of the activities she had to learn through observation. It worked to her advantage in that she had previously worked at another fast food restaurant for two years. Linda on her part only received two hours of a trial test. This was followed by a list of instructions on what to do incase certain activities arouse for the first few days. It was her first experience working as a nanny so most of the thing she had to learn on her own. She used help from her mother and sister through phone calls. Peter on the other hand, was only required to familiarize himself with issues affecting students. This would be sufficient to answer various questions that they would have. From Liza’s case study, it is not certain whether she received any form of training or not.

The above cases act as evidence that training of employees usually boils down to the organization involved. There are some enterprises where it is necessary, and there are others where employees can work without necessarily receiving formal training.

As a result of interacting with several people, it is also apparent that employees have various factors that help decide whether to make their current employments permanent or not. Many people tend to work on a part-time basis due to their current circumstances. While with some people, their first jobs end up defining their career path. A good example in the case studies is Mark. When Mark was being involved with his line of work, he was just doing it as he figured out what to pursue in life. However, now its nine years since that time, and he is still working in the same company. The company has seen several acquisitions, and he has maintained his position despite most of his colleagues losing their jobs during this period. On the other hand, neither Linda, Peter, Liza nor Joyce view their current jobs as something that would define their career.   They are doing it at the moment as a means of getting that extra money to help sustain their lives while in college. The same case applies to me. But this does not necessary mean that they hate their jobs. For instance, Liza feels that by the moment she graduates with two degrees, she will have outgrown her job. She will be overqualified, and will need to search for greener pastures. Linda also enjoys what she is doing currently, but that is not something she pictures herself doing some years down the line. Joyce does not have the ambition of working at Subway her entire life too. However, she is glad she had the opportunity of working with her sister and is also happy for the experience gained.

People also get employed through different avenues. There are people who find the job searching experience to be frustrating while others find it interesting. This depends on avenues that people use. It is easier for people to get employment in organizations where they have favorable contacts with current employees. From the case studies, it is evident that nepotism makes it easier for some people to attain employment. Mark attained employment due to the influence that his father had in the organization. A close look at his qualifications shows that he was not necessarily qualified for that job if academic qualifications were anything to go by. He had no actual background of the activities being executed. That was among the reasons he invested a lot in training in order to get acquainted. Liza also asserts that her niece’s mother played a huge role in her employment. She was a manager and gave her some insights on how to conquer the interviews.  Linda on the other hand, got employed by her cousin with zero experience in the job. It is certain that if it were someone else searching for that job without any prior experience, their probability of succeeding would have been very low. Peter, Joyce and I had a different experience. We had to do the job search and pass the relevant interviews without having people to make it easy for us. These examples are just an indication of the different experiences that people have while searching for employment. One might find it difficult compared to the other regardless of their qualifications. Nepotism is still prevalent in the job market despite the efforts that have been put in the past of ensuring equal access to opportunities.

The satisfaction derived from every job is highly determined by the nature of workplace involved. There are organizations that enhance a culture that tends to boost employees morale. They ensure that their needs have been catered for at all times. However, there are other organizations that are not determined with enhancement of corporate social responsibility. Employees’ needs are not given much consideration. Such organizations’ workplaces have unsatisfied employees, and their morale is usually low (Simister, 2007). But most businesses are learning different ways of keeping their employees happy since this usually translates to happy customers. From the case studies, there are contrasting opinions on the level of satisfaction that employees derive from the workplaces. Initially, I was satisfied with my job since I could interact with colleagues freely. However, as I rose through the ranks things changed. There was a disconnection from the people that I had established a favorable rapport with. At this point, I started feeling bad with regards to my job. With time, the management started being abusive, and it made me hate the job. I had to quit since it did not bring me the desired satisfaction. Joyce is also not satisfied with the job at Subway. She tends to think that the salary is not sufficient, and she is also disgusted by her manager’s unjust practices. In contrast Liza, Linda, Mark and Peter seem to be satisfied with their jobs. However, it does not mean that this is what they dream of doing entirely. Liza is satisfied with the work-place environment since it is laid-back and friendly. The relationship with the supervisors is also favorable. Linda on her part is satisfied with the work due to surprises that she has encountered. She never thought that the experience would be that fascinating. She has even come to develop the notion of being a stay at home mom when she gets children in future. Mark is also satisfied with his job due to the experience that he has gained in the process. He has also had the ability to take care of his family through this job. Current outcomes that have made it possible for him to work from home makes the job even more interesting. Peter is also satisfied with his work and likes the people around him. It is difficult to tell that the workplace involves a top-down management strategy due to the casual interactions involved.

In conclusion, people tend to have varying work experiences. The workplace environment involved shapes the level of satisfaction that employees derive from their work. Reasons for being involved in certain employment opportunities also influence the level of motivation that people have while executing their duties. Gender is no longer a barrier for the nature of income generating activity an individual engages in. The workplaces are sufficiently diverse to incorporate anyone. Training received before commencement of working is determined by the job description. There are certain jobs that will require vigorous training, while there are others where the training is not necessary. The process of attaining employment is also different for everyone. There are people who have to undergo a lot of pressure before they can actualize the prospect of being employed. To others, it just comes easy depending on who they know within the organization they are seeking employment.



Abbott, A. (2013). The sociology of work and occupations. Annual review of sociology, 187-       209.

Hadad, N. (2015). Working women and their rights in the workplace: International human rights and its impact on Libyan law. London: Ashgate Publishing.

Morrison, R. F., & Brantner, T. M. (2012). What enhances or inhibits learning a new job? A          basic career issue. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77(6), 926.

Rendon, L. I. (2008). Validating culturally diverse students: Toward a new model of learning and            student development. Innovative higher education, 19(1), 33-51.

Simister, S. J. (2007). Usage and benefits of project risk analysis and management. International   Journal of Project Management, 12(1), 5-8.

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