In sociological research on work, most employees say they like their jobs. They feel this way even when the job is demanding, boring, and stressful. Friendships with co-workers, time off, and various extrinsic benefits are mentioned in these regards. Some people literally love the work they do and invest in it to the point of defining their identities in terms of paid employment. Gideon Kunda (1992) found such a pattern among computer industry workers in the 1980s where high status professionals identified with High Technologies Corporation (“Tech”) to the point of sleeping over, placing identifying bumper stickers on their cars-“I’m a Techie”—and foregoing marriage and family obligations in favor of work. Arlie Hochschild (1997) found a similar pattern in the 1990s among some professional women who derived more satisfaction from the certainties and rewards of work than from the stresses and uncertainties of
home life.1 In such cases, work becomes a basis for intrinsic meaning and the line between work and nonwork becomes blurred. Even jobs that offer modest status and material rewards frequently serve as a basis for a worker’s identity. “I am a cop” implies that the speaker identifies with the job whereas “I do police work” suggests more distance between speaker and job. In my interviews, I found a fusion between self/personal and job identities among many rape workers, although it was mostly RCC workers who said that work with rape victims was deeply meaningful.