Essay on Concept of Occupation – The words Work and Occupation are often used interchangeably. In fact, Occupation is essentially a kind of work. But the word ‘Occupation’ is used mostly to refer to the specialised and established kind of work.
It refers to some kind of work with which an individual becomes completely engaged. It denotes the habitual employment, profession, craft or trade of an individual. It takes up much of his time and attention. In modern connotations it means an instrument of livelihood. It is usually associated with one or the other kind of orgainsation; agriculture, industry, governmental organisation, etc.
People pursue one occupation or other in order to eke out their livelihood. It has become an essential feature of the modern economic life. Life without occupation or profession of any kind is simply inconceivable today. The importance of occupations is recognised by the sociologist and accordingly a branch of sociology has emerged to deal with the phenomenon of occupation, the Sociology of Occupations.
Classification of Occupations:
Peter Berger has suggested a threefold classification of occupation.
Firstly, there are those occupations which provide some kind of Self-identification and satisfaction. Ex: Professions like teaching, contracting, business, agriculture and craft or artistic occupations.
Secondly, there are tasks which are almost the exact opposite. They are seen as a direct threat to person’s identity, reducing him to the status of “an appendage to a machine”. Ex: The poorly paid occupations of labourers, who work in big factories, industries, business firms, mining concerns, agricultural fields, coffee, tea, rubber and such other estates, etc., represent such occupations.
Thirdly, there are occupations regarded as neutral, that is, they are neither a direct threat to one’s personal identity nor a major source of identity. Such occupations are neither very hateful nor very pleasurable.
Ex: The occupations of bankers, life insurance employees, high level government executives, clerks, accountants, etc., which are prosaic and monotonous but fetching handsome salary, represent such neutral occupations.
Berger argues that the first two types have declined in modern society. It is also because, working for large bureaucratic organisations results in a loss of personal freedom, and secondly many unpleasant and routine tasks have been eliminated in modern industry.
It is to be noted that occupations have become very much diversified and complex today. The nature and type of occupations go on changing in accordance with the change in the industrial advancement.
The modern industrial system has evolved through different stages like—(1) the family economy, (2) the guild or handicraft system, (3) domestic industry, and (4) the modern industrial or factory system (Capitalist or industrial economy). In all these stages occupations differ significantly.