Is selling a risky career choice?


Profession - Life artist in the realm of risky freedom?

One lesson for sec. II

Bernd and Hiltrud Hainmüller

What comes after graduation? First vacation and then nothing for a long time! - Relax - get off your feet, party, au pair abroad, community service, federal government, voluntary social year - wait and see and drink tea - and then? Don't know - by no means study - do something with people - do something with computers and media, of course, definitely study - but what? - Whether the NC is enough? - I'm interested in art, but going to the police for nothing (laughter in the class) - is not so bad at all! - I'll take over the parental business - something with tourism, that should have a chance Such a snoring job ... definitely not a teacher!

A conversation in the 12th grade about job and future ideas can take place in a similar way: Pupils answer in a bandwidth that ranges from very clear ideas to vague wishes to total perplexity, whereby ideas with clearly defined goals tend to be the exception . Reason enough to deal with the topic: life plans, career choices and work as important anthropological constants in ethics lessons. The teaching unit can be structured using the following groups of questions:

Question 1: How important should the work be in the future biography of the student?
(Determination of previous experience, attitudes and future plans)

Question 2: What will tomorrow's work look like?
(Develop sociological, economic and social trends using statements from the field of future research and contrast them with your own needs and life plans)

Question 3: How have ideas about work changed over the course of human history?
(Development of important lines of tradition in the concept of work)

Question 4: Is everyone their own planner in the architecture office of the future?
(Opportunities and risks of future lifestyle)

1. Introduction to the topic (question area 1)

Fig. 1:APPD Western Wall

At the Western Wall (Mat. 1) we gathered sayings about work that one can often hear.
You can label the free bricks of the wall with your own views of work.

Discussion about "Children of Freedom" (Mat. 2)

Reading Mat. 2 is followed by a discussion about the author's statements.

The evaluation of the text is combined with the creation of a questionnaire. [1]

Mat. 2: Helen Wilkinson, Children of Freedom

Like the structures of relationships and family life, the relationship between people and their work has changed dramatically over the past three decades, with a simultaneous shift towards greater individualism. [...] The disappearance of jobs in life and the development of a more individualized labor market had a lasting effect on a young generation who came of age in the uncertain nineties or who wanted to shape the family future. [...] All over the western world, work has become an uncertain factor over the last few decades, as the old work structures have disintegrated: full-time jobs are being cut, there is a drastic increase in (pseudo) self-employed and part-time work; many companies offer time limited contracts, while others are trying out models based on reduced permanent staff and an increasing number of irregular workers with many different types of jobs, from consultants to cleaning staff .) Work ethic seems to be changing because this generation may find itself on the front line of changes in the world of work. David Cannon, author of Generation X and New Work Ethic, which describes the situation of young people in Europe and North America is studied in depth, believes that academics today: a Are more demanding and want to deal more with their work. They are looking for work that is both interesting and well paid, and often prefer to work for companies that offer them self-determination and task-based work than in a hierarchical career structure. [...] Growing individualism also means that young people are more willing to take new directions and, paradoxically, seem more willing to take risks - for example, to work abroad or become self-employed. [...] People today also expect much more from their work, and while wages remain important, other factors become decisive - signs of the more post-material values ​​that come with self-determination. Research on young Europeans consistently shows that a better educated generation is looking for work that is interesting and demanding, and that includes achievement, responsibility and initiative as well as good pay. [...] Young people are also looking for jobs that allow them to strike a balance between work and private life. We can also see a new form of responsibility in this, as few people declare that they are willing to put their emotional and private life aside in favor of their careers. [...] Perhaps even more important is the attitude that people expect from their work what they expect as consumers and for their leisure time. In the Demos study, for example, 54% of men and 55% of women under 35 say they want a stimulating job; 46% of men and 37% of women under 35 want a job that gives their life meaning, and 39% of men and 33% of women under 35 want a job that stimulates their imagination and creativity.

Source: Helen Wilkinson, Is there a new ethic of individual responsibility ?, in: Ulrich Beck (Ed.): Children of Freedom, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt a. M, pp. 103-109

Main questionnaires

  • How important is work in individual life planning?
  • Is work seen more as a profession in the sense of a »calling« or as a »job«?
  • What should the individual relationship between leisure and work look like?
  • Is work seen as an opportunity for self-realization or primarily as a means of making money?
  • What chances does the individual expect with regard to the feasibility of his or her career ideas?
  • How is the future job market assessed?
  • What ideas exist about the embedding of employment in the biography (family, children, relationship between man and woman)?
  • Which dream jobs are mentioned?

The focus areas mentioned here can be expanded by aspects that the students themselves bring in. By learning to create a questionnaire, the students get an eye for the essential problems and achieve a perception for external and self-assessments. The results of the student survey also compare well with the results of the latest Shell study on youth.

Additional task: As a guide to action, the pupils should visit the job information center of the employment office and introduce various job profiles that interest them into the lesson. These “dream jobs” are to be questioned critically with regard to the statements made in the following material part 3 about future trends. It is also good practice to invite former students to share their experiences.

Question group 2

II. Is flexibility the magic word of the future?

Mat. 3: Germany in 2010 - how will we live tomorrow?

Professor Horst Opaschowski dares to look into the future. He heads the BAT-Freizeit research institute in Hamburg and has been dealing for years with the question of the direction in which German society will develop.

BZ: How will we work in the future?

Opaschowski: More independent and more strenuous. More self-employed because the old-style industrial society is coming to an end. that the supervisors say what to do and the employees do it - that kind of hierarchy disappears. The performance society of the future requires more initiative and thinking in the workplace. I want to call that the new self-employed.

BZ: Only self-employed, no longer employees?

Opaschowski: I don't mean that in the sense that there will no longer be any dependent employees. But the employees have to work more independently. Flexibility is the magic word of the future. The workers have to adapt flexibly to the needs of the companies in terms of place of work, working hours and work tasks.

BZ: That sounds tough!

Opaschowski: The world of work has always paid little attention to the private wishes of employees. That will come out even more sharply. From my point of view, in the future everyone will be his / her own entrepreneur in dealing with the tasks set. This will create a new inequality. Anyone who has the talent for entrepreneurship is a made man or woman. Anyone who does not have this talent will have little success, no matter how great their technical knowledge is.

BZ: As an employee of the future, should I be single, childless and completely mobile?

Opaschowski: That's right, and from a social point of view that is of course devastating. Because that also means that people are becoming increasingly disconnected. We are currently experiencing that social relationships are increasingly being conducted on a business basis, according to the motto: I give you something so that you can give me something. I consider that to be fatal in the long term. We are totally lonely.

BZ: How can you counteract that?

Opaschowski: On the one hand, at school. The learning school must become a life school. Technical knowledge is important, but quickly becomes outdated. In addition, teachers need to teach students how to cope with their lives. Quite practical in the sense of technical skills, but they also have to impart the ability to enter into and maintain social connections. Secondly, we have to redefine the concept of performance. "Social commitment must also be recognized as an achievement in this society. That is missing in Germany, which is why far fewer people are involved in this country than in the USA, for example. But more social, voluntary commitment would be isolated That is why we should upgrade voluntary work. Thirdly, I argue for more slowness. The acceleration in production has also accelerated our lives. We lack leisure and time prosperity. Everyone is rushed. Many people are constantly on the move (hence the constant traffic jam the street) because they fear to miss something. On the other hand, I say: Better miss something than always be there. We have to learn again that less is often more.

Source: Interview: Jörg Buteweg, Badische Zeitung, Freiburg, October 27, 1998


  1. What statements does Opaschowski make with regard to future working conditions?
  2. What consequences could this have for social life?
  3. How could these consequences be counteracted and by what measures?
  4. What do the keywords "leisure" and "time prosperity" mean?
  5. What tasks would the school have in this context?

Mat. 4: R. Sennett, The flexible person - a dangerous path?

Economists, managers and business journalists see the global market and the use of new technologies as the characteristics of the new capitalism. That is certainly correct, but it ignores another dimension of change: the new forms of time, especially working time organization. The most visible sign of this change could be the motto “nothing long-term”. In the world of work, the traditional career, which step by step traverses the corridors of one or two institutions, is on the decline. The same applies to the sufficiency of a single training for an entire professional life. Today, a young American who has studied at least two years of study must expect to change jobs at least eleven times in forty years of work and exchange his knowledge base at least three times. "(P.25)

The fastest growing area of ​​the American job market is made up of people who work for temporary employment agencies ". (P.25)

"Nothing long-term" is a fateful recipe for developing trust, loyalty, and mutual commitment. Of course, trust can be a purely formal matter, such as when people shake hands after a deal or rely on the other to recognize the rules of a game. But emotionally deeper experiences of trust are usually less formal, such as when people learn who to rely on for a difficult task. Such social ties take time to develop and take root in the niches and crevices of institutions. The short time frame of modern institutions limits the maturation of informal trust ". (P.28)

It is the time dimension of the new capitalism, more than high-tech data or the global market, that deeply affects people's emotional lives outside of the workplace. Transferred to the family, these values ​​of a flexible society mean: keep moving, do not form ties and make no sacrifices ". (P.29)

"Who needs me?" Is a question that modern capitalism seems to completely negate. The system radiates indifference ". (...) Such practices visibly and brutally reduce for everyone the feeling of personal importance, the feeling of being necessary for others." (P. 201)

"A regime that does not give people a deep reason to care for one another cannot maintain its legitimacy for long." (P.203)

(Source: Richard Sennett: The flexible person. The culture of the new capitalism, Berlin 1998)


  1. What dangers for the individual does Sennett see in the increasing flexibility?
  2. What dangers for society does Sennett see in the increasing flexibility?
  3. Find examples of jobs where »nothing long-term« is in the foreground.
  4. How can individuals defend themselves against being "no longer needed"?

The answers to Mat. 3 can be compared with the results of the survey on one's own way of life and the examination of the desired job profiles. Are there more similarities or deviations? How can the individual deal with the possible "breaking points"?

Question 3

III. The change in the concept of work - a brief history of work

Anyone who deals with the future of work must also look back at how attitudes about work have changed again and again over the course of human history. Schoolchildren can see from history how strongly a certain obsession with work is tied to Protestant ethics and the "spirit of capitalism" and has by no means always been valid at all times. For example, futurologists like Bernd Guggenberger tie in their utopias back to the "Athens model" when they postulate a life of holistic self-determination in which individual work and leisure are given their appropriate space. Paul Lafargue's "right to be lazy" is also being discussed again - by young "dropouts" as well as by stressed-out managers. The most important lines of tradition from antiquity, the Middle Ages and the modern age are worked out through the texts in groups, with each group receiving texts on an epoch. Each group also receives the following »A-B-C of the work« as an introduction to the topic.

Mat. 5: Work from A as in the beginning to Z as in the future

A_ b __ t _ et _ i _
B e _ i e_ u _ g s _ r _ e i _
Ch __ i _ a _ b _ i_ t_r
D _ e _ s tl __ s t __ g
He __ r _ sa b it
F au na _ b __ t
Ga_ t _ r _ e i _ e r
ma _ b _ i_
In _ u _ t r __ a _ b _ i t
J_bs_c _ e
K _ de _ a _ b _ i
L_h_ a_ b __ t
Me r b e t
N b ne w rb
Op _ im _ er --_ g
Pr _ f i _ i _ r _ n g
Q_al_f_ka_i __
R _ h_ s t d
Sch rz _ r _ e t
T mw_ rk
iln eza 1 e A b
Vo i ta b
Wa d ar _ e i er
Xe _ o _lo _ ie
Y andY
To mm n r e

The specially marked letters result in an age-old requirement related to work! Solution word: R____ a__ F ______ _


  1. Search for more terms related to work!
  2. Sort the terms according to the following criteria: Do they come from an earlier time? Are you more from the present? Will they be important in the future?

Uniform questions, under which the following texts should be processed:

  • What is meant by the term "work"?
  • How is work assessed socially?
  • How do individuals rate their work?

Using the terms of "A-B-C" (Mat. 4) and the knowledge gained from writing the text, an essay should be written as a conclusion that deals with the change in work. For example, you can describe from the point of view of a person from the respective epoch what this person thinks about work.

Mat. 6: Work in antiquity: a disgrace for the free

In ancient times, physical work was despised not because it was only performed by slaves, but because certain occupations were viewed as "slavish" by their nature. To have to work is to be a slave to a necessity. He was free who submitted to others and could force them to do the necessities of life for him. Work was not seen as an expression of human nature; on the contrary, it is even a hindrance to being human.

Here are some quotes from this period (texts by Aristotle should be available to ethics teachers):

“I cannot say whether the Greeks have the contempt with which they look at work from the Egyptians, because I find the same contempt widespread among the Thracians, the Scythians, the Persians, and the Lydians; in a word, because with most barbarians those who learn the trade and even their descendants are less respected than the rest of the bourgeoisie; all Greeks are brought up in these principles. "

(Herodotus, 484-425 BC, Greek historian, in: »Histories Apodeixis« (research report) Part II)

“The people who do manual labor are never elevated to higher positions, and you're right. Forced to sit all day, some even to endure a constant fire, most of them will not be able to prevent their bodies from becoming disfigured, and there is little chance that it will not affect the mind as well. «

(Xenophon, around 430 to 355 BC, Greek historian and writer in his »Oikonomikos«)

“What can be honorable out of a shop? And what can trade produce that is honorable? Everything that is called a shop is unworthy of an honorable man ... since the merchants cannot earn anything without lying; and what is more shameful than a lie? Therefore the trade of those who sell their labor and skill must be viewed as low and mean, for whoever gives his work for money sells himself and puts himself on a par with the slaves. "

(Cicero, 106-43 BC, Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, in: "From the duties" l 42)

Mat. 7: Work in the early Middle Ages: The monastery - forerunner of the factory? [2]

Fig. 2: Daily routine of monks, resulting from the rules of St. Benedict.

A rule of the founder of the Benedictine order, Benedict of Nursia (around 480 to 547), was: "ora et labora" (pray and work). Saint Benedict, founder of the Montecassino monastery, is considered the father of western monasticism. He set up monastery rules that emphasized community life and physical work and which were later adopted by almost all Western monasteries. The monks were forbidden to have any possessions, meals were eaten together and unnecessary discussions were avoided. Benedict devoted a large part of his time to the needs of the local population and distributed alms and food to the poor. Work is understood here as the removal of sins, "preparatory work" for heavenly paradise. The monastic orders invent "time" by structuring the daily routine in prayer and work. After the days of the Benedictines, all other monasteries and large households gradually adjusted themselves. That gave life in the country a common rhythm. In addition, the monastery becomes a model for efficient and "useful" work, because it regulates:

  • the distribution of space (who works where?)
  • Time distribution (who works when?)
  • Hierarchy distribution (who is in command?)
  • Distribution of sanctions (what happens if I don't follow the rules?)
  • Division of labor and distribution (who works what when?)

“From Holy Easter to Pentecost, the brothers have a meal at the sixth hour and a snack in the evening. From Pentecost and throughout the summer they fast on Wednesday and Friday until the 9th hour, from September 13th until the beginning of Lent they always eat at the 9th hour When you hear the sign, you leave everything you had in your hands and come in a great hurry [...] Everything must be able to be held at the right time [...] Idleness is an enemy of the soul [...] From Easter to October 1st, the brothers move out early in the morning and do the necessary work from the 1st to almost the 4th hour. From the 4th hour until the time they celebrate the sext, they are free about the reading. When they get up from the table after the sext, they rest on their beds in complete silence. "

(From the rules of Saint Benedict, written soon after 500)

“The ringing of bells synchronized the work in the country. The big bells of the towers ring, smaller ones ring and very small ones sound. All together they convey the time awareness of the monks to everyone and everyone. The bells were regulated by sundials, hourglasses, water clocks and later mechanical clocks. The timing created a common blow, favored the rationalization of life and reflected a belief in a world in which time takes its orderly course. The importance of schedules and timing to the wellbeing of all became part of the Christian way of life. "

Julius T. Fraser, The time: familiar and strange, Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 1988

Mat. 8: Protestant ethics and the "spirit" of capitalism

Fig. 3: Protestant ethics

Protestantism drastically changed the system of reference between work and society. Protestantism makes work a general duty with the words of the Bible: "If someone does not want to work, he should not eat" (2 Thes. 3, 10). The Protestant believer did not work for his own salvation, but for the glory of God as his steward on earth. The core of this ethic was rational self-control, coupled with hard work, thrift, self-control and cool calculation. No useless holidays, no time-consuming ceremonies, but a proper work ethic that fought against religious doubts, self-pity and the temptations of the flesh. The chosen ones could be recognized by the fruits of their labor. Martin Luther, and above all the reformers Calvin and Zwingli, anchored work, even if it was pure agony, in human nature: "Man is born to work like a bird is born to fly." Less violent transformation of work into a specific professional ethos takes place, the emergence of the "professional idea" as the basis of the rational lifestyle and thus a decisive component of the modern capitalist spirit and of modern culture in general, was examined above all by Max Weber in his studies in the sociology of religion. Protestantism links the profession with the professional ethos: "You should work for the sake of work". This "Protestant ethic" contributed to the spectacular rise of capitalism. Weber came to this view because of the fact that in the 16th and 17th centuries the wealthiest areas in Europe were Protestant: "The Puritan wanted to be a professional - we have to be." Monastic cells was transferred into professional life and began to dominate inner-worldly morality, she helped with her part in building that mighty cosmos of the modern economic order, which is tied to the technical and economic requirements of mechanical - machine production, which today is the lifestyle of every individual who are born into this engine - not only those directly economically employed - determined with overwhelming compulsion, perhaps determined until the last hundredweight of fossil fuel has burned up [...] By asceticism to rebuild the world and have an impact on the world , the external goods of this world gained increasing and ultimately inescapable power over man like never before in history. Today is her spirit - whether final, who knows? - escaped from this case. "

(Max Weber (1904), The Protestant Ethics and the "Spirit" of Capitalism, edited by Klaus lichtblau and Johannes Weiß, Weinheim, p. 153)

Mat. 9: The concept of work in Marx: twofold alienation

“Work is a process between man and nature, in which man mediates, regulates and controls his metabolism with nature through his own deeds. He confronts the natural substance itself as a natural power. He sets the natural forces belonging to his body, arms and legs, head and hand, in motion in order to acquire the natural substance in a form that is useful for his own life. By acting on nature outside of him through this movement and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature. He develops the potencies slumbering in it and subjects the play of its powers to his own subordination. We are not dealing here with the first animal-like, instinctive form of work ... We assume that work is in a form in which it belongs exclusively to man. A spider performs operations similar to those of the weaver, and a bee puts some human builders to shame by building its wax cells. But what sets the worst builder apart from the best bee is that he built the cell in his head before building it in wax. At the end of the work process, a result comes out that was already present in the mind of the worker, i.e. ideally, at the beginning of the process. Not that it only changes the shape of the natural; in the natural he also realizes his purpose, which he knows, which determines the manner of his actions as a law. "

Fig. 4: Francisco Goya: The madhouse

“Work produces marvels for the rich, but it produces exposure for the worker. It produces palaces, but caves for the worker. It produces beauty but crippling for the worker. It replaces work with machines, but it throws some of the workers back into barbaric work and makes the other part into machines. It produces spirit, but it produces nonsense, cretinism for the worker. "(Ibid., P. 85 / p. 87)

The twofold alienation work:

  1. of the product: What does the alienation of labor consist in? First, that the work is external to the worker, that is, does not belong to his essence, that he therefore does not affirm but deny himself in his work, does not feel good, but feels unhappy, does not develop free physical and mental energy, but rather loses his physique and ruined his mind. The worker therefore only feels outside of himself outside of work with himself and in work. He is at home when he is not working and when he is working he is not at home. His work is therefore not voluntary, but forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but is only a means of satisfying needs outside of it. Their strangeness emerges purely in the fact that, as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion, work is fled as a plague. "(Ibid., Pp. 85-89 / pp. 87f)
  2. The alienation from human "species life":

»By giving the alienated work to the people

  1. alienates nature,
  2. himself, his own active function, his life activity, it alienates the species from man; it makes the life of the species for him the means of individual life. [...] In general, the proposition that man is alienated from his species, means that one person is alienated from another, just as each of them is alienated from the human being. The alienation of man ... is expressed in the relationship in which man stands to other people. "(Ibid., Pp. 85-891s.87f)

Source: Karl Marx, Das Kapital, Berlin 1947, vol. 1, p. 185 ff / quoted from! Ring Fetscher, Der Marxismus, Munich 1962, p. 86ff.

The texts are worked out under the above questions and presented to the class. The short history of the work can be supplemented by images that document the work of people in the respective epochs. A final discussion could be devoted to the subject of what it means when people speak of a »crisis in the working society.

Question group 4

IV. The future of work as "experimental life"?

Unemployment, underemployment or full employment, labor market theories, redistribution of work and working time flexibility, new types of business, products and work, humanization of the world of work and the international division of labor, all these are topics that play a role in the future of work. It is not possible to cover all aspects of the extensive topic in one teaching unit. In addition, the experts contradict each other when it comes to predicting future developments. For example, some are of the opinion that the negative, often also psychosomatic, consequences of the inherently less evocative, monotonously routine repetitive partial work should be countered with job rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment and semi-autonomous group work, others rely on progressive automation which, on the other hand, destroys jobs. A somewhat unusual view assumes that in view of the socially divided dual economy (institutionalized employment system - unofficial sector) we should better adjust to a changed, dual form of life and work (working in the formal and / or informal sector) in good time. However, this new form of “self-employment” instead of “gainful employment” cannot hide the fact that the role of “paid employment” is the core question of any employment debate. All predictions for the »end of the labor society have so far proven to be rather uncertain. Only one fundamental question, which has to do indirectly with all the other questions, will certainly remain: the question of the meaning of life in the working society, of the meaning of work for each individual. With this in mind, we have put together the following texts.

Mat. 10: Own life - Experimental life?

»The normal biography becomes the biography of choice, the» craft biography «(Hitzler), the risk biography, the breakdown and breakdown biography. In the risk society in this biographical sense, even behind the facades of security and prosperity, the possibilities of slipping and falling are always present. Hence the clinging and fear even in the outwardly rich middle of society. Despite - or better: because of - the institutional guidelines and the often incalculable uncertainty, fifthly, one's own life is condemned to activity. [...] What is essential is the activity in and on fate, which only then becomes "one's own fate", one's own life. Nevertheless, it does not mean the smith of one's own happiness, nor the hero who masters his circumstances, or the architect who plans the house of his own life, right down to the furnishings. Nevertheless, individual elements of these pictures apply. For failures and achievements are often reported with sadness and pride; and in view of the increasing possibilities for decision-making and the need to coordinate, it can become necessary for the individual to become his own biographical planning office. But it can also be that he remains an amateur situation tinkerer. Or fail. Or everything is the case at the same time and one after the other. The counter-metaphors that represent (one's) life as "cement block", "rock", "river", "cycle", "race in the fight against windmills" are therefore wrong (in the sense of theory). Because without activity in and on fate, the talk of "one's own life" does not make any sense. There is a downside to this commitment to activity: failure becomes personal failure - in the sense that it is not received as a class experience in a “culture of poverty”. ninth: your own life is an experimental life. Traditional recipes for life and role stereotypes fail. [...] Personal and social life - in marriage, parenting as well as in politics, public relations, gainful employment and industrial operations - have to be reconciled anew. "

Source: Ulrich Beck and others: Own life. Excursions into the unknown society we live in, ed. v. Bayerische Rückversicherung AG, Munich, 1997, p. 10f.


  1. Look for examples of the differences between "normal biography and elective biography"!
  2. Discuss what can be understood by a »risk society«.
  3. "I don't really want to get involved in this future of life" - develop five own theses on "my own life" under the heading: "In spite of everything"!
  4. Describe situations in school that are already aimed at tinkering with “your own fate”.

Mat. 11: Do women experiment on an equal footing?

»In the study of the life planning of young women we find that - with a few exceptions, all women assume that a social change is taking place in which their way of life is changing profoundly.They address the dissolving orientation function of gender roles and gender-specific life courses and deal with the changed demands on women. Although this change is perceived by everyone, it is assessed very differently; Some of the women see the end of the traditional way of life as a loss of integration and security and experience the new duties as excessive demands and stress [...] In this perception, women are driven from the existence of housewives and mothers; In addition to the traditional tasks, they have to play the male part and develop the necessary skills without losing their femininity ("being pretty"). For these women, access to gainful employment essentially means having to deal with the imperatives of the professional world, being exposed to double demands. [...] This minority of women questioned experiences the modernization of their living situation as a loss of objective and subjective security. In contrast to this group, the majority emphasizes the aspect of liberation: they understand the dissolution of traditional integrations as an expansion of room for maneuver and accept the challenge of employment-related individualization: [...] These young women see the change in women's biography as part of a comprehensive change of the gender ratio. [...] This change affects social norms and models for the life of women before starting a family ("earning your own money") as well as the transition to the employment system and the family. A new phase of life arises between leaving home and starting a family; this phase is used for personal and social independence, in particular due to financial independence and professional experience. [...] They (modern women) see themselves as beneficiaries of this change - the new opportunities for life that come with it correspond to their own ideas. In young adulthood they experience individualization more or less emphatically as liberation; Access to training and gainful employment opens up room for maneuver for an autonomous lifestyle. [...] Today women do not follow a predetermined path in the family role, but develop independence and - on this basis - life planning. "

Source: Ulrich Beck / Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (eds.), Riskante Freiheiten, Suhrkamp Verlag; Frankfurt a. M. 1994, pp. 144-146.


  1. Describe the social change to which women are exposed and how differently this change is assessed according to the study by Beck-Gernsheim.
  2. Use your own examples to explain the contradictions of the "new freedoms" and try to make your own assessment based on this.
  3. Create a draft on the topic: This is how I, as a woman / man, imagine my life experiment.
  4. Girl group and boy group form:
    a) Gather the advantages and disadvantages of the “new freedoms” from the perspective of the girls and that of the boys.
    b) Collect the differences in life planning of girls and boys in class.
  5. What would have to change to enable women to shape their lives independently?

Mat. 12: gainful employment plus personal work - future model for independent living?

"We are currently experiencing the coexistence, opposition and intertwining of two societies, each with its own sky of values, anything but peaceful coexistence of two horizons of consciousness, one of which is still clearly oriented towards the needs of the industrial working and growth society, while the other is likewise clearly aligned with the needs and interests of the emerging »leisure, or better: activity, society." [...] It was only the systematic inclusion of technology in the production process among the multitude of activities that served to secure livelihood that organized This process is quite a bit reversible. The decline in gainful employment has already triggered "return processes" in many areas of professional service work: The continuing boom in the do-it-yourself industry is an indicator that a growing number of people already Bringing back largely professionalized work into its own direction. The more gainful work withdraws from the center of securing livelihoods and life, the more important these self-performed elementary life activities in the extended household sector become. Household, family, raising children, working at home and in the garden were for a long time, until the 1980s, synonyms for backwardness; Employment and financial independence, on the other hand, are the insignia of emancipation. This gradually begins to change. The "second", "hidden", in the "shadow" sector of the unpaid production of goods and services, which is actually the primary from a historical as well as systematic point of view, is increasingly coming into the limelight of subjective appreciation. The long all-too-rigid boundaries between domestic and non-domestic areas of activity are beginning to become more permeable. In addition, there are tendencies to fundamentally “reconcile” work and private life by directly relating them spatially to one another: In a whole series of alternative projects, partnerships, trade and craft collectives, attempts are being made to bring work and life back into a holistic one Integrate living space. The distant perspective is about a social reallocation of the time spent on wage and personal work. [...] In fact, strategies that aim to significantly broaden the proportion of self-employed work that is not offset in money gain additional plausibility in view of a situation in which social work becomes scarce in the long term. Anyone who, as in the alternative scenario, increases the proportion of their own work by devoting themselves more to housework, home work and gardening, raising children, caring for and looking after family members, extensive neighborhood help, etc., may initially have less money, However, since as a largely “self-sufficient” he also needs less, in the end he may not only have more of life, but also more in the cash register. In any case, however, the radical departure from the principle of increasingly refined division of labor opens up the chance of "reclaiming everyday life" and comprehensive participation in the production of one's own everyday reality. The life and coexistence of people must - beyond the constraints of incapacitating expert cultures - become the object of self-determined activity. "

Source: Bernd Guggenberger: When we run out of work, Munich 1988, pp. 146-149


  1. In which areas would it be possible to increase your own work?
  2. Set up a model calculation of how much money a household has to spend per month for "external services" that cannot be carried out by the employee due to the occupation. (In which areas of the household would there still be no loss of money with a reduction in gainful employment (= less income), e.g. growing food, eliminating the car, etc.?
  3. Consider other suggestions that could help to overcome the crisis in the working society.

Mat. 13: "Right to be lazy" - a pernicious dogma?

Let us be lazy in all things, / Just don't be lazy about love and wine, / Just don't be lazy about laziness. (Lessing) »A strange addiction dominates the working class of all countries in which capitalist civilization rules. This addiction, which results in individual and mass misery, has plagued sad humanity for two centuries. This addiction is the love of work, the frenzied addiction to work that goes to exhaustion of the individuals and their descendants. Instead of fighting against this spiritual aberration, the priests, the economists and the moralists canonized the work. Blind and limited people wanted to be wiser than their God; weak and unworthy creatures, they have tried to honor what their God has cursed. [...] I, who claim to be neither a Christian nor an economist, nor a moralist, I appeal to their God from their sayings, from the rules of their religious, economic or free-thinking morality to the horrific consequences of work in capitalist society . In capitalist society, work is the cause of mental degradation and physical disfigurement. The ancient philosophers taught the contempt for work, this degradation of the free man; the poets sang laziness, this gift of the gods: Deus nobis haec otia fecit (a god gave us this idleness). (. ") And also the proletariat, the great class of producers of all civilized nations, the class which, through its emancipation, will redeem humanity from servile labor and turn the human animal into a free being, the proletariat too has its own Denying instincts and misunderstanding his historical profession, being seduced by the dogma of work. His chastisement was hard and terrible. All individual and social misery stems from his passion for work. [...] Our moralists are very humble people. Even if they are Having invented the dogma of work, they were not entirely clear about its influence on the calming of the soul, the elevation of the spirit, and the healthy function of the kidneys and the other organs: they want the matter first with the masses try to do the experiment first in anima vili, before turning it against the capitalists, to excuse and approve of their vices e mission is. But philosophers to four sous the dozen, why torment your brain so hard to work out a morality, the practice of which you dare not advise your employers to practice? Do you want to see your dogma of work, which you benefit so much from, mocked, damned? So look up the history of the ancients, the writings of their philosophers and their legislators. "" O laziness, have mercy on endless misery! O laziness, mother of the arts and noble virtues, be the balm for the pains of humanity! "

(Source: Paul Lafargue (1842-1911), The Right to Laziness and Other Satires, Querdenker, Berlin 1991, p. 10 f - This manifesto was written in 1883; Lafargue was the son-in-law of Karl Marx (!))


  1. How does Lafargue justify his "right to be lazy"?
  2. Why does he reject the demand for the "right to work"?
  3. The idea of ​​only three hours of work per day preoccupied Thomas More in 1500. Futurologists are also increasingly demanding (following Lafargue) a "right to leisure". How realistic are the chances of enforcement today?
  4. Draft a manifesto for the new millennium together, with which the result of the teaching unit is summarized: Future of work - we young people demand: ...

On the same topic, the ethics series Life Questions published: Bernd Hainmüller, Profession Lebenskünstler, Verlag an der Ruhr, Mülheim 1999, 50 templates on the topics: Work - Profession - Lifestyle.


[1] As an introduction, Marina Mann's video film "Schule aus, what then?" (Running time: 47 min.) Can be shown. It is a snapshot of the subjective situation of young people in Munich at the end of their school days from 1995. It is a project of the AG Friedenspädagogik e.V. on behalf of BMW AG and in cooperation with the Munich City Youth Welfare Office (1997 by BMW; Public Relations Department, Munich
[2] Pictures on this topic can be found at: Hubertusreiber / Heinz Steinert, The fabrication of reliable people: About the elective affinities of monastery and factory discipline, Munich 1980