When I got the invite to watch screeners of a documentary focused on work, I was intrigued. I do love a good documentary, but my topic of choice is usually true crime and this couldn’t be anything further from that.
However, I was loving the fact that President Obama was attached, and after watching the trailer, I couldn’t wait to get my greedy eyeballs on it.
Title: Working: What We Do All Day
Episodes: 4 x 45 minute episodes
Release Date: May 17, 2023
Synopsis: What brings you joy in work? What gives you purpose? What makes a good job…good? These are the questions at the center of WORKING: WHAT WE DO ALL DAY, a compelling documentary series that explores the ways in which we find meaning in our work and how our experiences and struggles connect us on a human level. Narrated by President Barack Obama, who makes appearances alongside everyday people in their homes and places of work, the series follows individuals at all levels of the workforce — from service jobs all the way up to the C-suite — across the industries of home care, tech, and hospitality.
As a college student, Obama was inspired by Studs Terkel’s 1974 book Working, which revolutionized the conversation around work by asking ordinary people what they did all day. The series brings this idea into the modern world by offering intimate, behind-the-scenes portraits of people’s lives and giving viewers a new understanding of and appreciation for the jobs they do each day.
Narrated and Featuring Appearances by: Barack Obama
Director: Caroline Suh
Executive Producers: Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Priya Swaminathan, Caroline Suh, Nicole Stott, Jonathan Silberberg, Tonia Davis, Davis Guggenheim, Laurene Powell Jobs
Before we get to my top 5 reasons to watch, let’s check out the trailer.
Top 5 reasons to watch Working: What We Do All Day
- the concept — I wasn’t aware of the book by Studs Terkel, but I’m going to be looking it up
- the story — the documentary follows three different industries and (surprising to me) keeps it intertwined
- the participants — all of the people featured were easy to empathize with and root for (and it was fun seeing them pop up around the episodes)
- the goodness — the intention behind the storytelling is clear, heartfelt, and honest
- the Obama — from pushing a baby in a shopping cart through a grocery store to ordering fries from room service, seeing Obama interact was some of the best parts
“When we make sure that everyone feels their work is respected, that everyone’s contribution is honored, and that everyone is getting paid enough to truly take a part in the life of our communities, we reinforce the trust between us that makes everything in our lives possible.” — President Barack Obama
This show really had me thinking, had me astonished, had me cheering. I went into this expecting one thing and came out with something else. And yes, while it is just a documentary about working people, maybe it’s also a different way to look at things…because in the end, don’t we all want the same things?
Huge thanks to Netflix for the invite. Working: What We Do All Day releases May 17, 2023.
Will you be watching this show?