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Fiction and the Work Environment

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Submitted By litlechris98
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Fiction and the Work Environment Paper

When reading a short story, poem, or even novel the author often attempts to provide the audience with some type of personal connection to a variety of components to the reading. An author may select very personable, hardworking, and unselfish characters to allow the audience to connect in some way with the main or subordinate characters; or the author may elect to provide a common type of setting to provide the readers an additional way to connect to the literature. Mona Simpson’s short story entitled “Coins” (Scheckner & Boyes 2008) is a story which provides many opportunities for the reader to make some type of personal connection by providing a story of an untraditional family setting. Simpson’s story provided a few important lessons that people need to keep in mind as they go about their daily lives. The short story sheds light to what should be important in a person’s life; what should be a priority, the lessons taught to children through hard work and love. After reading Simpson’s “Coins” I was face to face with the lessons that the story presented, forcing me to take a look at my priorities and family, thus allowing me a moment to reflect on what I truly cherish in my life, which is the love for my family and the importance of teaching my children the qualities of hard work in order to appreciate all that we have. The story of Lola, the housekeeper/nanny, was one that I was easy to make personal connections to and provided me with an analysis of how easy it is truly is to lose sight on the priorities in my life. Much like the parents in the story, I have, at times, allowed the outside world negatively impact my place in my child’s life. I have too often placed work as a priority over my family, keeping long and unusual hours, and depending on others to pick up my slack and duties with my child. My particular situation is not one that a nanny is taking on this role; rather my wife has stepped up and has taken on the extra duties to teach our child the importance of working around the house and respecting people of all backgrounds all the while displaying an unconditional love. Teaching children important character building skills like appreciating what can come from hard work and patience is one of the many tasks that the main character Lola from the short story “Coins” provides to her employers children on a daily basis. Lola clearly enjoys her work, some areas more than others, as she easily connects herself to the children to which she is “raising”. She refers to the children of her employer as her own children and enjoys sharing and showing them love. Furthermore, the audience can easily draw that she has an admiration or deep respect for her employer. This is evident by not speaking of her employer in any type of gossiping manner, unlike the other housekeepers or nannies. I feel that Lola’s actions – participating and appeasing to the mother in order to do what she feels is her real job, taking care and teaching the children, shows a great amount of personal integrity. Lola takes it upon herself to share what she feels is important character building skills, like learning and appreciating hard work, and understanding that events may not always go as intended, and this ability of hers further demonstrates the personal integrity that she possesses. These same actions and beliefs also reflect the diversity in the story, especially that diversity seen between herself and the mother. The priorities of the two women definitely represent the culture and ways of living to which they each come from. Even though it was surprisingly easy to make a connection to this story about a woman whose responsibilities were to work within a household and take care of children, I do not see many connections to my place of work or working environment. One, if not the only type of connection I was able to draw from this story was in looking at the personal integrity of Lola and her actions. She apparently does what she believes to be the right thing at any point in the story: teaching the children the benefits of hard work and still maintaining her “place” in her employer’s home. This idea of doing the right thing and maintaining her position in her place of work was where I could connect my work environment to the story. My company has many different departments and it is essential that each department understand their purpose and effectively maintain those boundaries and duties as each department is strongly dependent upon one another. It is also of great importance to demonstrate personal integrity and show an understanding of the diversity that is seen in the workplace. As a manager, I have had to learn about a variety of cultural elements that are not familiar to my personal life, but as a manager of many diverse backgrounds it is necessary to be aware of different traditions, holidays, and mannerisms in order to ensure equality and understanding in the workplace. The short story “Coins” describes the importance of an employee, Lola, in the lives of the children of her employer. She has the ability to teach important life skills to the children and through her character, the author effectively provides the audience with many different means of connecting to the story on a personal level. This story allows us all to reflect on what is truly important in our lives and reassess our priorities to maintain the most important elements in life: family and love.

Scheckner, P., & Boyes, M. C. (Eds.). (2008) The way we work. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

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