Work

“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.

Stephanie Taylor

Counselor, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

There’s actually nothing wrong with having an opinion, with having a point of view, and with letting other people know what it is and I still struggle with that often because I do want to be a people pleaser and that stems from like, middle child syndrome, therapist syndrome, wanting to just fix everything and make it better and if you can sort of, in some way lose yourself to save the rest of the world you’ll do it, which is another very big danger of my job. But, that’s not really what we’re meant to do as people, we should be somehow contributing to our community, to our families, to our careers, to whatever it is that we’re doing, don’t sell yourselves short.  It’s just, with the whole glass ceiling thing and women get paid 76 cents on the dollar compared to men, blah blah blah, what it really comes down to is - listen - you could moan and complain about it or you could demand change.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 10/20/2009
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Taylor

Jacqueline Scafidi

Senior Computer Consultant
Everybody’s got regrets. You know, again not going to school, there’s a few career choices that I wished I had made and a few personal choices I wish I had made, but when push comes to shove, it makes me what I am so how can you regret it?

Interview Date: 
Tue, 11/10/2009
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Scafidi

Gale Nigrosh

College Professor and Coordinator of Higher EducationPartnerships for Worcester Public Schools

When I was studying French at Barnard I was going to be a translator for the UN. But at the time, there were fewer options for women, and it’s so exciting to see how many options women have now. I remember going to the bank for a mortgage that my first husband and I bought in 1969. The only way that a woman could qualify on a mortgage…had any collateral weight, was as a nurse or a teacher. Otherwise nothing. And the way the mortgage was written. It was written in the husband’s name, Et. Ux. meaning “and wife.” So, I had no name even.

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Interview Date: 
Wed, 11/01/2006
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Annette Dudek

Graduate Student, Social Worker

Work is very important, because I feel like no matter what field people are in, you spend a lot of time at work, more so than with your family and friends. So I feel it’s very important to pick something you’re passionate about and that you enjoy, but I always think it’s important to have a balance and not have work kind of overtake everything. It can be difficult --  for me work is probably 75%, it’s a big chunk of what I’m doing -- but I think its important to find a balance.

Annette Dudek was born in Worcester, MA in 1981. She attended Catholic schools, graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a degree in Sociology, and is currently completing her master’s degree in Social Work at Boston College. In this interview, she discusses her Polish upbringing and the culture’s influence on her life as well as growing up in her neighborhood. She also talks about her love of working with the elderly and how she tries to balance her personal and professional life.
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Interview Date: 
Mon, 02/23/2009
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Mary Ann Azanza

Provincial Superior of the Assumption Sisters in the United States

I went to school at a time in my country when we were under a dictatorship. We were under the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos at the time and I was studying at the Assumption High School and the Assumption College in Manila and the Assumption sisters were being very true to the charism of our foundress which was that our education and our faith had social consequences, that we couldn’t be living in a situation of great poverty and of great injustice without somehow doing something with our education to make that better and, and our faith also demanded that we do something to change the situation of the poor and of the unjust political system we were under, so I got very involved in social justice activities and when I was in my senior year in college, I got arrested by the military and I was put under military arrest for four months and I had to stop my schooling, clearly, [laughs] since I was under arrest and, and then afterwards when I was released, I had one more semester to go in college and I graduated, but my family requested that I leave the country for a while because they never knew when I left the house in the morning if I’d come back alive in the evening you know, with the fear that I’d just be picked up by the military again.

Sister Mary Ann Azanza was born on October 12, 1959 in New York City. Shortly thereafter, her family moved to the Philippines where both her parents grew up. She completed her schooling in the Philippines and upon graduation moved to the United States. Two years later, she became a Religious of the Assumption, a path she never thought she would travel down. She returned to the Philippines where she entered religious life. In 1996, she was asked to join the Worcester community to work with the immigrant and poor community. She began working with St.
Interview Date: 
Mon, 03/30/2009
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Elizabeth D'Errico

Norton teletype operator, registered nurse, mother
It was a dream that I always had about going to school. It was very good for me to do that. So, the fulfillment was just helping others and just hoping that I did make a difference in someone’s life.
Elizabeth D’Errico was born in Forest City, Pennsylvania in 1939 and works as a Registered Nurse in the city of Worcester. Before her first child was born she had worked as a teletype operator at Norton Company, but her husband didn’t believe a woman should work. When Betty became a widow in 1974, she needed a way of supporting her family. Betty decided to do what she had always wanted and that was to become a nurse. In this interview, Betty discusses the rewards and challenges she faced while pursuing her dream.
Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/13/2009
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Jill Williams

Episcopalian Priest, Associate Rector

I really like my job. I think one of the most special things for me about my job is I get -- and in my church we have a very liturgical tradition -- so I get all dressed up in this alb with a stole and the whole deal, and … I'm a priest. And … they don’t even make priests’ clothes very well for women yet. And it's not like, it's certainly not like attractive anyways. And there are all these little girls in my congregation, just tons, who have probably never seen a woman dressed like that and standing up and presiding at the element and preaching a sermon, and preaching a sermon that I hope is relatively balanced between being emotional, and educational, and theological, and intellectual and all of those things. And that I think is really neat. I never saw that growing up, and now they can. Especially, in my own church setting.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 11/23/2008
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Louise Gleason

Nurse at Worcester State Hospital, Department of Mental Health, and UMASS Medical

And so I applied to nursing school because I figured teaching was four years. [I tried secretarial and I hated it.]  And nursing was a full three years. We didn’t have any summers off. You went to school and you worked continuously. And there were days you would work all day and then you’d have to go school or you would work all night [11-7] and then you’d have a full class load during the day. So that was it was--a very tight schedule for three years. And you stayed there.  You had a chance to go home, but not frequently. It was an unbelievable experience.  Our probationary period ended after six months. Many of the kids in my class [our ages were 16, 17, 18 years old], were put in charge of whole floors [called units now] at night, 11-7. That would never happen now, you know. Can you see like a little 18-year-old having responsibility for very sick people? That’s what was expected of you.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/13/2006
Interview Language: 
English
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Genevieve Lucier

Secretary, Paul Revere Insurance Company; Treasurer, Music Guild
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Interview Date: 
Sun, 10/22/2006
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Maureen B. McLaughlin

Grew up in Main South, worked as a nurse
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Interview Date: 
Fri, 04/21/2006
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