Communication between individuals who are very different from each other may yield positive results of these people’s understanding of cultures and occupations. Thus, it may be helpful for one to inquire about others’ professional values to understand why some people’s worldviews vary. The interviewee for this assignment is Anthony, a 22-year-old man who works at a sawmill as a laborer. He is eight years younger than me, and his occupation is entirely different from mine as well. The young man is an American, and his parents came from Italy to the United States before he was born. Thus, he has an Italian heritage, and some of his relatives live in both Italy and the U.S. As the man has a close relationship with his family, they influence his understanding of the American and Italian culture. The following reflection will address the man’s occupation and his view of personal and professional values.
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According to Anthony, his job often produces some adverse reactions from people. His parents, for example, are unhappy that he has chosen to work instead of going to a university and pursuing a career that would require less physical labor. He says that they mainly worry about his health and the lack of time for studying. It is possible that one’s level of education influences his/her status in society. According to Agu, Umeokonkwo, Nnabu, and Odusanya (2016), a major part of sawmill workers is young men who have completed only a secondary school. Anthony meets all these criteria – he is a man in his twenties, and he started working after high school. This decision may have put him in a box of the “working” or “lower class” – a socioeconomic factor that is often considered to have a different ideology and values as opposed to the middle or upper class (Manstead, 2018). Anthony noted that some people inquire why he has chosen this job when he could have had a “better education.”
However, his occupation as a sawmill worker also affects people’s and his own view of his personal characteristics. For example, Anthony noted that he did not find it strange that women were an absolute minority at his place of work. He stated that women were less likely to work there not because they were not considered for the position but because they either did not apply at all or were unable to endure the physical challenges of the work. He also commented that heavy and strenuous duties were challenging for older people. That is why, in his opinion, the majority of employees were young men. There was no definite connection between the man’s occupation and race. However, it can be assumed that Anthony did not think about this factor because of his American citizenship and European ancestry. The young man stated that he did not have any problems finding a job and securing his position. It is possible that his physical condition, age, and gender played a role in this process.
According to Anthony, sawmills choose workers who are self-motivated and robust because this occupation implies many physical and environmental challenges. It is also vital to note that the man’s workplace highly values safety. Thus, all employees must follow specific regulations, and one’s lack of attention to standards is usually condemned as irresponsible and dangerous to other persons. As Akorede et al. (2018) note, safety is a real concern for many sawmills because some workers are not given proper instructions by their supervisors and employers. Therefore, such a focus on safety, while not unique for this particular organization, may not be present in the majority of similar companies. Furthermore, people’s communication, openness, and a positive outlook are encouraged by the community of workers. Their physical labor and tiring work call for a lighter attitude and camaraderie, according to Anthony. The man also values financial independence from his family and the ability to see the results of his daily work.
Interestingly, I have found that Anthony and I share some similar values about work and personal life. For example, the man’s desire to build strong relationships with his coworkers corresponds with my views of interactions at one’s workplace. The necessity to have a positive attitude instead of focusing on negative comments from other people is also familiar to my experiences. Furthermore, as the man completely agrees with his organization’s safety requirements, he shows that his health and the well-being of his peers are important to him as well. I believe that my adherence to safe practices and concern for others are similar to that behavior. It seems that most values upheld by Anthony resemble my own. However, I believe that education is a valuable part of everyone’s work, and Anthony’s view of all training that does not relate to his current occupation does not give him many perspectives for future improvements.
This interview shows that people from various cultures and occupations may understand each other better if they compare and analyze their experiences. For example, the interviewee and I share some values concerning work, although our age and profession are different. The focus on one’s work culture may also reveal some general concepts that can become a foundation for prejudices and negative views of certain jobs. For example, the negative judgment of people who do not possess a higher education may be debated by presenting the positive attitudes of people who have strong ethical values despite not having a college education.
Agu, A. P., Umeokonkwo, C. D., Nnabu, R. C., & Odusanya, O. O. (2016). Health problems among sawmill workers in Abakaliki and workplace risk assessment. Journal of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, 28(2), 1-10.
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Akorede, S. N., Alebiosu, E. O., Jamiu, Q. O., Nofiu, O. D., Ahmed, S. G., Ayuba, C. S., & Mustapha, A. A. (2018). Influence of safework practices on occupational health hazards prevention among sawmill workers in Ilorin South Local Government Area, Ilorin. KIU Journal of Humanities, 2(2B), 13-20.
Manstead, A. S. (2018). The psychology of social class: How socioeconomic status impacts thought, feelings, and behaviour. British Journal of Social Psychology, 57(2), 267-291.