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“What Have We Done?”: Silicon Valley Engineers Fear They've Created a Monster | Vanity Fair
Yet even as we roundly condemned the tech world’s treatment of a vulnerable new class of worker, we knew the stakes were much higher: high enough to alter the future of work itself, to the detriment of all but a select few. “Most people,” I said, interrupting the hubbub, “don’t even see the problem unless they’re on the inside.” Everyone nodded. The risk, we agreed, is that the gig economy will become the only economy, swallowing up entire groups of employees who hold full-time jobs, and that it will, eventually, displace us all. The bigger risk, however, is that the only people who understand the looming threat are the ones enabling it.
gigEconomy  Uber  Instacart  work  labour  exploitation  employment  algorithms  SiliconValley  artificialIntelligence 
2 days ago by petej
Gamers and managers vs workers: the impossible (and gendered) standards imposed on game developers | Overland literary journal
There’s something here that often confuses outsiders. Why is it that fans, those most-passionate consumers of a product and who identify with the product on some deeply personal level, are often the ones who are most hateful and spiteful towards those individuals who create the thing they love? Often this gets explained away as an overly zealous and protective passion, but the answer is both more insidious and more straightforward: fans are not loyal to workers; fans are loyal to brands. This is especially true of gamers, that young and predominately male demographic explicitly and deliberately cultivated by videogame publishers throughout the 90s to identify strongly enough with a range of brands, to constantly invest money in new titles and hardware. The gamer’s allegiance is to ArenaNet, not the workers at ArenaNet who do the creative labour. Gamers are allies to corporations.

At the same time, the managerial class of the games industry has long seen the creative workers that actually produce games as disposable and easily replaceable. ‘A passion for games’ is held up as a primary requirement for working in the videogame industry, and those who have been brought up through the gamer identity are offered low wages and demanded to do unpaid overtime in return for so generously being given the opportunity to work in the industry.
work  labour  employment  developers  games  gaming  gamergate  misogyny  socialMedia  harassment  mansplaining  women  gender  gamers 
4 weeks ago by petej
Now is the Time for Worker Power in the Tech Industry | Novara Media
For many tech workers, the idea of joining a trade union seems ridiculous – unions are often thought of as a relic of an older time, irrelevant to the meritocracy that is the tech industry.
The class composition of the industry.

Why is this? If we take a structural approach to the tech industry, we see that the workforce is effectively bifurcated in such a way as to contain potential challenges from below. Those with high leverage over production – say, senior software engineers who know how the systems work – are paid exceedingly well, often partly in stock, and given lavish perks. This is especially true in Silicon Valley, where a frothy startup investment environment forces tech companies of all sizes to offer lavish benefits in order to compete for ‘talent’. Correspondingly, workers with the most leverage over production are convinced they are not actually workers, and that their interests align with their company instead of their class. This amounts to a strategic isolation of the few employees with the most power to disrupt production, who are then showered with material benefits to dissuade them from ever exercising that power.
technology  work  labour  employment  class  tradeUnions  activism  informationTechnology  SiliconValley  power 
5 weeks ago by petej
How to write the perfect CV – first, refuse to play this stupid game | Money | The Guardian
Still, I lived at time when many of us wanted to be considered unemployable, so we could get the dole and do our own thing. We would be sent to interviews even when we had written “satanism and sulphate” for our interests. My mate, who really did not want a job, was doing worryingly well in an interview, so when they got to the “What makes you want to be part of this team?” question, he had to think fast. “Because the voices told me to.” Phew! He was able to carry on being unemployed until he became a pop star.
work  labour  jobs  CV  recruitment  commodification  truth  honesty  deception  dctagged  dc:creator=MooreSuzanne 
7 weeks ago by petej
I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore
What happened is that the internet stopped being something you went to in order to separate from the real world — from your job and your work and your obligations and responsibilities. It’s not the place you seek to waste time, but the place you go to so that you’ll someday have time to waste. The internet is a utility world for me now. It is efficient and all-encompassing. It is not very much fun.
Internet  socialMedia  fun  Twitter  Facebook  control  surveillance  work  labour 
12 weeks ago by petej
Marx, labor and the problem with Kathi Weeks | The Real Movement
Marx’s own criticism of labor had nothing to do with this — he argued the laborer herself would become superfluous under the capitalist mode of production. Postone, who Weeks cites at one point, make the same point in his own book. The idea that labor and the working class itself would become superfluous — i.e., that a great mass of workers would themselves become unnecessary to the production of material wealth — never appears in Weeks’ book. The desperate demand of the working class for jobs is but a reflex of the material reality that, for the production of real wealth, it is entirely redundant.

Is there a connection between the superfluity of labor and the sudden cessation of labor’s demand for fewer hours? How would we know, since Weeks has no idea these two events meet in the Great Depression; when the overworked millions, who took to the street of Europe and the United States to demand reduction of hours of labor, were replaced by millions of unemployed workers in every advanced country, who no longer demand freedom from work but were forced to beg for work — any work, even in the defense industries where the means for their own destruction were built.
WeeksKathi  work  labour  capitalism  hours  surplusValue  Weber  workEthic  tradeUnions  Marx  jobs  employment  unemployment 
march 2018 by petej
EU migrant visas 'should be for those working antisocial hours' | UK news | The Guardian
Goodhart said: “A Brexit without a clear end to free movement in its current form is neither possible nor desirable, as it was clearly one of the biggest single factors behind the Brexit vote.

“One of the problems with freedom of movement is that it has created a new category of resident: someone who is neither a temporary visitor, such as a tourist, nor someone who is making a permanent commitment to a new country in the manner of the traditional immigrant. Many of those taking advantage of free movement in recent years have enjoyed the rights of the latter with the attitude of the former,” he said.
UK  EU  migration  work  labour  PolicyExchange  GoodhartDavid  hours  visas  Brexit  immigration  freedomOfMovement 
february 2018 by petej
Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves – In the Library with the Lead Pipe
The problem with vocational awe is the efficacy of one’s work is directly tied to their amount of passion (or lack thereof), rather than fulfillment of core job duties. If the language around being a good librarian is directly tied to struggle, sacrifice, and obedience, then the more one struggles for their work, the “holier” that work (and institution) becomes. Thus, it will become less likely that people will feel empowered, or even able, to fight for a healthier workspace. A healthy workplace is one where working around the clock is not seen as a requirement, and where one is sufficiently compensated for the work done, not a workplace where “the worker [is] taken for granted as a cog in the machinery.”34

Libraries are just buildings. It is the people who do the work. And we need to treat these people well. You can’t eat on passion. You can’t pay rent on passion. Passion, devotion, and awe are not sustainable sources of income. The story of Saint Lawrence may be a noble one, but martyrdom is not a long-lasting career. And if all librarians follow in his footsteps, then librarianship will cease to exist. You might save a life when wandering outside for lunch, but you deserve the emotional support you’ll no doubt need as a result of that traumatic event. You may impress your supervisor by working late, but will that supervisor come to expect that you continually neglect your own family’s needs in the service of library patrons? The library’s purpose may be to serve, but is that purpose so holy when it fails to serve those who work within its walls every day? We need to continue asking these questions, demanding answers, and stop using vocational awe as the only way to be a librarian.
libraries  librarians  work  labour  vocation  pride  passion  exploitation 
january 2018 by petej
Do you work more than 39 hours a week? Your job could be killing you | Life and style | The Guardian
there is a danger that merely reducing working hours will not change much, when it comes to health, if jobs are intrinsically disenfranchising. In order to make jobs more conducive to our mental and physiological welfare, much less work is definitely essential. So too are jobs of a better kind, where hierarchies are less authoritarian and tasks are more varied and meaningful.

Capitalism doesn’t have a great track record for creating jobs such as these, unfortunately. More than a third of British workers think their jobs are meaningless, according to a survey by YouGov. And if morale is that low, it doesn’t matter how many gym vouchers, mindfulness programmes and baskets of organic fruit employers throw at them. Even the most committed employee will feel that something is fundamentally missing. A life.
capitalism  neoliberalism  work  labour  overwork  stress  anxiety  health  dctagged  dc:creator=FlemingPeter 
january 2018 by petej
We Are Ensnared in the Sticky Web of Control: '24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep' - PopMatters
In the round-the-clock world of 21st century global capitalism, our only relief is sleep, and as Crary notes, even that is coming under attack. 24/7 starts with a report on research being undertaken by the US military to extend the amount of time combat soldiers and other personnel can go without sleep, seeking to extend it from days to weeks. Given that military innovations usually make their way into broader aspects of everyday life -- air travel, the Internet, GPS, over-the-counter medications, all manner of consumer electronics, recreational assault weapons -- there is every reason to believe, as Crary asserts, that the sleepless soldier is the prototype of the sleepless worker/consumer. “Sleep is an uncompromising interruption of the theft of time from us by capitalism,” Crary writes. The endless here and now of 24/7 proposes to harvest surplus value not from only our bodies but from our psyches, rendering us little more than real-life Matrix pod-humans.
sleep  capitalism  work  labour  CraryJonathan 
january 2018 by petej
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