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Marginal Jobs and the Norms Expected of Work

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The largest segments of the population engaging in such marginal labor are the working poor, recent immigrants legal and illegal and/or ethnic minorities with/without educational credentials from third world countries whose education is not usually recognized by developed countries’ formal educational and social institutions.
Four ways in which marginal jobs deviate from the norms of regular expected work are important to consider. Within a regularly recognized workforce, there are norms that are universally accepted. It is important to understand what these norms are since they shed light on the differences in the marginal or informal labor force. According to sociologists in the field, work relationships in the regular workforce, are characterized by roles, expectations, and obligations of employees and responsibilities of workers and bosses to each other (Kendall, 2003. Hodson amp. Sullivan, 2008. Wharton, 2006). There are also four main characteristics of regular jobs are also characterized by a) job content which is legal, b) the job should be relatively stable, c) the job should be institutionally stable, and d) the job should provide adequate wages and hours so that the worker may be able to sustain an adequate living. For jobs that are considered marginal one must first define the social norms of that society as well as the historical time frame in order to understand the boundaries between formal and informal or marginal and regular labor. For instance, historical time period and culture or religion may affect how individuals and groups set up the boundaries between regular work and marginal work. Kendall (2003) cites the prohibition and illegal work as contemporary drug dealing as examples. Today prohibition of alcohol is not an issue but drug dealing still remains a marginal profession similar to prostitution. In countries such as Holland or Saudi Arabia, there are very different norms and rules regulating these types of occupations. Sociologists of work commonly agree that individuals are commonly recruited into marginal forms of labor due to their inability to enter the regular workforce (Kendall, 2003. Hodson amp. Sullivan, 2008. Wharton, 2006).