The Soul of Work: Self Help Book on Positive Work Attitude and Motivation in the Workplace
The Soul of Work: Self Help Book on Positive Work Attitude and Motivation in the Workplace
About the Author of 'The Soul of Work' Self Help Book on Finding the Right Work
Order the book 'The Soul of Work'
Self Publishing Your Own Book
Free Email Course on Achieving a Positive Work Attitude
Contemporary Views on Career Counseling for Motivation in the Workplace
Tribute to Henry Reining, Dean USC School of Public Administration
Press Release: Make Work Fun
Contact S. Louise Underdahl, Author of the book 'The Soul of Work'

Self Help Book on Finding the Right Work

About the Author

The Soul of Work is a self help book that focuses on assisting its readers to find the right work.  Louise Underdahl, PhD is the researcher and author of this book. "Transcendent work" is her term to describe motivating work, which results in maximum job satisfaction for the employee.

According to Dr. Underdahl: "Personal experience underscores the value and rewards of work. But, not all work is equal. Only transcendent work lifts the spirit and gives meaning to the vicissitudes and vagaries of life. This is, indeed, the soul of work."

The author was first introduced to the concept of transcendent work by her family. Her father, an aeronautical engineer, never lost his enthusiasm for working at McDonnell Douglas. Her mother took pride in creating a beautiful and orderly home. Her grandparents espoused a simple creed: "To rise each day and do one's work is God's greatest blessing."

She feels fortunate to have found opportunities to utilize the academic training which took decades to complete:

BA (English Literature - UCLA)
MSLS (Library Science - USC)
MPA (Public Administration - USC)
PhD (Public Administration - USC)

Her present position as Risk Analyst in UCLA Health System's Risk Management Department exemplifies transcendent work at its best.

About the Concept

A Working Knowledge of Life
At 97, Arthur Winston has seen much change in L.A. 
But one constant has been his job: 70 years cleaning buses -- with just one day's absence.

Kurt StreeterLos Angeles Times Los Angeles, Calif.: Feb 13, 2004.  pg. A.1

Strong and sharp and bearing down on 100 years of living, Arthur Winston has drawn a bead on what it takes to age well.

"Cut up the credit cards.  They don't do nothing more than bring about worry. Worry will kill you.

"Get off the couch.  Stop in one place too long, you freeze up. Freeze up, you're done for.

"Work as long and hard as you possibly can.  Folks retire, they end up on the front porch watching the street go by. Despair sets in, you're good as gone."

He is probably older than you. If not, he has probably worked longer. If not, he has probably seen and struggled through more of society's changes, most of them experienced from a single vantage point: a sprawling South Los Angeles bus yard.

Known as Deke to some and Mr. Winston to most, he is walking history and living parable. A 97-year-old black man who turned the sting of racism into something sweet. A man who plans on loving every bit of life until his very last breath. A witness to the ways a city has changed, for better and worse.

In 1924, at age 17, Mr. Winston started cleaning trolley cars for the Los Angeles Railway Co., which morphed and merged nearly half a dozen times and is now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

He quit that job for a spell, then went back Jan. 24, 1934.

He has never left. For 70 years and counting, Mr. Winston has worked for the transit agency as a service attendant, applying spit, polish and love to vehicles ranging from the current fleet of buses to the trolley cars that once made the Los Angeles transit system a marvel.

For as long as he has endured, he has been astonishingly consistent.

In 70 years, according to the MTA, Mr. Winston has missed just a single day of work -- the day his wife died in 1988. The records show that he has never been late, never left early. He has never been so sick that a gulp of milk of magnesia couldn't stave off illness and let him drive down Arlington Avenue in the predawn darkness for yet another shift.

The closest to him in seniority at the MTA has 25 fewer years on the job, and weeks of absences. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor says he's never heard of anyone like Mr. Winston. The American Public Transportation Assn. searched and could not find anybody like him in the transit industry.

"Mr. Winston," says Donna Aggazio, a spokeswoman for the association, "appears to be one of kind."

You'd spot him easily if you saw him at the bus yard. There he is, zigzagging in the oily air across acres of asphalt, through scores of buses and dozens of co-workers, most of them five and six decades younger.

His walk is slow, but he can easily speed to a jog if he sees a 15-ton bus coming his way. He is slight, 5 feet 7, with skin the color of a cigar leaf. He hears what he wants to, has a straight back, a firm grip and keen, almond-shaped eyes.

In South L.A., Mr. Winston is something of a celebrity -- the result of being around so long that he seems to know just about everybody (or everybody's great-grandparents). People fuss over him. The barber refuses to take his money. Men in their 60s and 70s stop to tell Mr. Winston they have been emulating him since they were boys.

When he walks into soul food restaurants, where he feasts on oxtail, collard greens and gumbo, heads turn, forks drop and people whisper: "There's that man; they say he's worked 70 years."

At First African Methodist Episcopal Church -- one of several churches he attends, depending on his mood -- the congregation rises and claps when they spot him. From the pulpit: "We have a special guest, the oldest employee at the MTA, 97 and still going! Mr. Winston, raise your hands so everyone can see you!"

At work, it is much the same. "We wouldn't know what to do without him," says his boss, Alex DiNuzzo. "Once he arrives, we sort of know everything is going to be all right today."

Mr. Winston lives with his 26-year-old great-granddaughter and 2- year-old great-great-grandson in a small, well-kept home just south of the Santa Monica Freeway. He wakes at 4:30 each weekday morning, cooks up his Malt-O-Meal, takes time putting on his uniform, then drives his 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass to the yard.

He parks at a spot reserved for him. (Don't let anyone park in Mr. Winston's space, for that person will surely hear about it.) He clocks in. Then he sets about supervising a crew of nine men and women who do the heavy lifting -- carrying tools up ladders, whooshing grime out of buses with powerful hoses, lugging carts of ammonia, soap and mops around the yard.

Sometimes Mr. Winston watches over the workers, just to keep them moving. Sometimes he helps check in buses. Sometimes he finds a dirty bus and starts working on it himself. Almost always, it seems, he is standing and walking.

"It ain't hard," says Mr. Winston, blowing into his hands to keep warm on a recent morning. "Just keep moving. Keep from freezing up."

Mr. Winston says he learned the value of work while growing up in a dusty Oklahoma farm town, before the boll weevil devoured the cotton crops in 1919 and the family took the train to Los Angeles.

It's good enough, his daddy taught him while they plowed the fields together, just to be "a working man."

Working men, Mr. Winston says, are simple and humble people. They use the money they earn wisely. They do not rush. They arrive 15 minutes before every shift. They keep their uniforms crisp. They see to it, even if the boss doesn't ask and the job doesn't call for it, that no bus leaves with grimy rims. And they absolutely do not fuss or mope or complain.

These values, he says, have allowed him to survive.

Though one of his credos is that one should not spend too much time dwelling on the past, Mr. Winston will tell you that, when he started working at the bus and trolley yard, the bosses would fire a black man in a flash. Whites and blacks didn't mix then.

There were separate bathrooms and separate lunch rooms. Mr. Winston started out earning 41 cents an hour and made that much for nearly his first 10 years. His white co-workers got 51 cents and regular raises.

"It was ugly," he says. "But there was nothing we could really do about it. Not a thing."

Mr. Winston wanted to be a driver. Blacks weren't allowed to drive. They weren't even allowed to be mechanics. They were allowed to clean the buses and trolley cars.

By the time opportunity opened up and he could have trained to be a driver, Mr. Winston was approaching middle age. His wife, Frances, ran a seamstress shop. They were settled. It was too late, he figured, to learn a new job.

So he stayed and he worked -- day by day by day. He also watched things change.

By the mid-1950s the trolley cars were pretty much gone. The companies that owned the rail routes were swapping trains for buses, figuring they could make more money.

The way Mr. Winston sees it, the trolleys stopped running at just the wrong moment. Just when the civil rights movement was blossoming, with a new openness afoot, Los Angeles lost its trains and became a city of distant, disconnected neighborhoods.

South L.A., he says, has not been on sure ground since. The 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s were stormy, but he worked the whole time, taking advantage of the fact that service attendants didn't have a mandatory retirement age.

There were low points. Riots. Rising crime. The death of his wife and of his father, who lived 99 years until "sickness got him," says Mr. Winston. "Thirty-three days later, he was gone."

There were high points too. The Olympics, when the city, taking gridlock seriously for once, boosted its bus system and Mr. Winston worked double shifts. The rebirth of the commuter train in Los Angeles. (Mr. Winston is adamant that if he were running the MTA, he'd build monorail routes all over the city.)

The highest point of all came in 1997, when the MTA decided to name the bus yard after an elderly service attendant.

Today, the agency has 15 bus and rail yards, also known as "divisions." Most are identified by numbers -- Division 1 downtown, Division 15 in the San Fernando Valley. Only one is named for a person: The Arthur Winston Bus Division, off 54th Street and Van Ness Avenue.

"I guess, if you take things day by day, you live long enough. And if you live long enough, you see things you never thought you'd see," says Mr. Winston, walking around the yard, looking for specks of dirt on windshields. "That's sort of how it is with them naming this place after me.... Of course, I'm not leaving just because it's got my name on it. If I did, you'd probably see me freeze up and get sick. If I got sick I'd probably die ... in about 33 days."

Moments later he hops inside MTA bus No. 4717. Something's wrong. He can smell it. He eyes the floor. A passenger has vomited on an early morning run, forcing the bus back into the yard for a cleaning.

"Gotta get this thing better, so it can get back out on the road," he says, sloshing warm water and soap on the floor. He stoops. He scrubs. He mops and polishes the floor and vinyl seats. He gets down on his knees and uses a metal putty knife.

Finished, he steps off the bus, smiling.

"How many times have I cleaned up something like that?" he ponders. "Oh, thousands of times. Too many to count."


| Home | About | Order | First Step | Free Email Course |
| Resources | Tribute | Press Release | Contact |

Web content by BizTalk4U
Website design by DotsnDashes Website Designs
Soul of Work © 2004. All rights reserved. Quest