Primo Levi, The Periodic Table
, tr. M. Rosenthal (New York: Schocken, 1984), p. 120:
To do work in which one does not believe is a great affliction.
Henry David Thoreau, Journals
(August 7, 1853):
How trivial and uninteresting and wearisome and unsatisfactory are all employments for which men will pay you money! The ways by which you may get money all lead downward. To have done anything by which you earned money merely is to have been truly idle. If the laborer gets no more than the money his employer pays him, he is cheated, he cheats himself. Those services which the world will most readily pay for, it is most disagreeable to render. You are paid for being something less than a man.
Henry David Thoreau, Life Without Principle
Most men would be insulted, if it were proposed to employ them in throwing stones over a wall, and then in throwing them back, merely that they might earn their wages. But many are no more worthily employed now.
Colin Thubron, Journey into Cyprus
(New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1976), p. 242 (quoting a Turkish soldier):
"I was four years in England," he said, "in a canning factory at Newton Abbot, twisting a knob day after day -- twist, twist, twist. In the end I got fed up and came back home. What sort of life is that for a man -- twist, twist, twist?"
Gore Vidal, At Home: Essays 1982-1988
(New York: Random House, 1990), p. 51, on Tennessee Williams:
Years later, when confronted with the fact that he had been born in 1911 not 1914, he said, serenely, "I do not choose to count as part of my life the three years that I spent working for a shoe company."