Essay Sample: What is Mike Rose Critiquing in the Mind at Work?

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Sewanee University of the South
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Many are the times that people have failed to understand the essence of work as a daily activity which is presumed a source of living. Across the globe, people are engaged at various levels whether at a school level, working level, or retirement level. Those at school are also either at primary level, secondary level, or at the post-secondary level. Ultimately, those at working level have ventured into various economic activities by utilizing the available business opportunities as either carpenters, teachers, marketers, engineers, doctors, plumbers, hair stylists among other professions. There are some professions that require the application of physical energy while others entail utilization of professional skills with less effort. The augmenting change of the world into a global village by technological advancements has made the working experience easier and faster in the twenty-first century than it was in the previous years. However, despite the initiation, if the new equipment and facilities into the global economy, there still exists some derailment that makes the livelihood of a man difficult and not as smooth as he had thought. Mike Rose points out a series of scenarios comparing the skills and the working experience existing in the modern world in comparison with the traditional practices with regards to education and working. The aim of this paper is to explain what Mike Rose is critiquing in The Mind at Work and why.

Rose recognizes the fact that there has to be an incorporation of both the old and the new generation systems of education. As he starts, Mike Rose compares the old generation education with the new generation education from which it is observed that the old generation system of education was more bent on the provision of technical and vocational skills while the new generation education is based on equipping learners with learned skills. Most young people freshly graduating from various high schools and post-secondary institutions have been observed to lack the necessary skills required in doing various technical jobs available in the market. Consequently, people from the old education system lack the relevant skills required in making use of the newly-established equipment meant to make work easier and faster. Incorporation of these two systems of generation is foreseen to bring about a huge positive impact on the development of the global market and the economy.

Eradication of differences in social classes is another important idea highlighted by Rose in The Mind at Work. Many people have a habit of judging others based on the jobs that they are doing which is a factor that leads to the derailment of an economy. In order for an economy to realize a substantial growth, then it has to ensure that all the social classes grow at per; and that none is left behind. Politics also impact the way in which various social classes in an economy relate with each other. Fostering peace and participative engagement of all social classes without bias is a basic step towards the realization of a better economy. Nobody at whatever capacity has to despise someone for the job that they do; for these small jobs, be it plumbing, carpentry, or masonry, are dynamic to the existence of man such that suppose people with specialized skills in these jobs did not exist, then the society would not have been complete since there would be no one to fix the sinks when they stop working, no one to repair and make furniture among other basic necessity works. The attitude towards people when they perform their work has a significant impact on their output.

Not everyone has been privileged in acquiring learned skills; it is important to consider the fact that other people can make a living for themselves out of their desires and goals. Parents have had a habit of forcing their children through school institutions not regarding the childrens interests. In many cases, children have ended up dropping out of school at institutions of higher learning particularly during post-secondary education because they are feeling that the pressure is too much for them to handle at these institutions. Parents, therefore, have to respect the desires of their children lest they want to lose them to what they cannot retract them from. Allowing people to work based on their desires, goals, and imaginations makes them feel more prioritized to make something better for themselves and for those who let them do as per what they desired.

Not everyone is born or starts working as a boss, therefore, humbling oneself is a key factor for a person who wants to realize a good future for themselves. A good example is Billy, Roses plumber; as he tells Rose, Im getting to the place where I can turn down a job (Rose, 2005). From this statement, it is clear that there was a time where Billy could not allow any job to pass him by, but now after the perseverance, he can take care of his own family, fix the repairs in his house that call for his skills without fussing. It is important to recognize the fact that there must always be someone ahead of us to lead us in the direction that we want to take.

Integration of the old and new economy is a huge step towards the realization of a better refreshed and strong economy. Rose argues that the old economy is mostly based on the technicality while the modern economy is characterized by knowledge work, high technology, and symbolic analysis. New economy workers have paid much attention in improving their innovation skills, creativity, efficiency and effectiveness in the market. Ultimately, old economy workers despite having skills in technical working, unless they are retrained and up-skilled, then it will be hard for the global economy to be stable. Old and new economy workers have to be brought together and exchange their ideas in the market having in mind that the two groups have their strongholds and weak-points.

The employers and job creators must not take advantage of their employees and job seekers. Taking advantage and savaging people who are looking for employment discourages them from active participation in enhancing the economic growth of the country; this later forces people to engage in vices that put peoples lives at risk. Social crimes are always the next option for people who are in dire need of money but they cannot find anything to do with their lives after being denied chances that they deserved. There should be no bias when providing job opportunities, people should receive equal chances in a free and fair manner. Any form of biasness in a company or an organization is a high lead factor to the derailment of that company or organization. Disparities at a firm on the basis of salaries whereby others earn an income more or less than others is a slow recession. Rose indicates an example, At General Motors, incoming employees met a two-tier pay system, earning one half of what older workers were making (Rose, 2005). In such a case, the incoming workers might be more willing to work, they put in their best efforts at work but with the low wages, they can decide to do shoddy work and leave the older workers who are receiving high income to do all the companys work.

The motivation of workers while working at their respective workstations fosters their output hence improving the production rate of a company. Managers ought to organize for employees motivation on a monthly or weekly basis as this challenges them to put in more effort while working as they know they will be awarded at the end. Promotions are also another way of motivating workers as it creates an urge to lead the company towards greater heights in the market and industry.

In conclusion, for the realization of a stable global economy, there need to be equal opportunities for the existing parties and incorporation of all the necessary requirements ranging from technological factors to other social, political, and economic factors. Companies have to utilize the dynamism of the old and new generation for better output to the consumers. The government also has a key role to play in ensuring that a countrys national economy is sustained to meet the standards of the global economy. Social interactions among people which allow for the exchange of ideas are lead steps in creating favorable working environments.


Rose, M. (2005). The mind at work: Valuing the intelligence of the American worker. Penguin.


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