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The Religion of Workism Is Making Americans Miserable - The Atlantic
The economists of the early 20th century did not foresee that work might evolve from a means of material production to a means of identity production. They failed to anticipate that, for the poor and middle class, work would remain a necessity; but for the college-educated elite, it would morph into a kind of religion, promising identity, transcendence, and community. Call it workism.
USA  work  labour  hours  overwork  Keynes  DWYL  identity  passion  religion  healthcare  employment  millennials  debt  students  socialMedia  pay  wages  competition  welfare  freeTime  economics 
20 days ago by petej
A 4.30am start and three-minute toilet breaks: are you ready for microscheduling? | Life and style | The Guardian
Another example of the limitations of microscheduling comes from Hussein Kesvani, a London-based editor and writer. Last year, faced with a seemingly insurmountable workload, he tried to follow the YouTuber Casey Neistat’s brand of extreme hyperactivity. Neistat has “Work harder” written in big neon letters on the wall in his studio and tattooed on his left wrist, “just in case I forget”; his left arm also displays another tattoo, saying “Do more”. In 2015, he detailed his daily routine in a video that has since racked up 2.6m views. From a 5am start, Neistat’s schedule goes: one hour of email; three hours of exercise (which he says makes up for the little sleep he gets); 10 hours of work; three hours for family (to, say, “put the baby to bed”); another three hours for work; and, from 1am, four hours of sleep. Free time, he says, is the enemy of progress, which is why he has eliminated it entirely from his life.

Judging from this, Neistat seems to have also eliminated commuting, shopping, cooking, cleaning, school runs and all the other tasks that interrupt most people’s working lives. And that, in part, is where Kesvani’s attempt to live like Neistat ran aground. Although he could make the rigid schedule work in theory – “I could plan out everything out; I knew when everything was coming,” he says – the events he couldn’t control (such as a late train, or not getting a seat when he was supposed to be working) would derail his entire day. Having to reschedule, even as the work piled up, nearly destroyed him. He ended up in therapy, where he finally asked himself why he had taken on so much work in the first place.
work  labour  overwork  control  scheduling  time  productivity  planning  postFordism  lateCapitalism 
4 weeks ago by petej
The rise of the student worker | Red Pepper
The marketisation of universities and privatisation of the students’ social reproduction has broken the walls separating the university as an academically oriented space that is partially autonomous from the demands of capital. From setting foot on campus to taking a loan to finding place to live, students today cannot escape their forcible integration into international capital’s search for investment returns in an increasingly volatile market.
mai68  students  PCF  France  TheLeft  ToynbeePolly  demo2010  UK  grants  loans  work  labour  jobs  class  debt  interestRates  financialisation  marketisation 
8 weeks ago by petej
I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. | HuffPost
That’s the thing they don’t tell you about opiate addiction. People are in pain because unless you went to college, the only way you’ll earn a decent living is by breaking your body or risking your life — plumbers, electricians, steamfitters, welders, mechanics, cable guys, linemen, fishermen, garbagemen, the options are endless.

They’re all considered jobs for men because they require a certain amount of strength. The bigger the risk, the bigger the paycheck. But you don’t get to take it easy when your back hurts from carrying a 90-pound ladder that becomes a sail in the wind. You don’t get to sit at a desk when your knees or ankles start to give out after crawling through attics, under desks, through crawl spaces. When your elbow still hurts from the time you disconnected a cable line and your body became the neutral line on the electrical feeder and 220 volts ran through your body to the ground. When your hands become useless claws 30 feet in the air on a telephone pole and you leave your skin frozen to the metal tap. So you take a couple pills to get through the day, the week, the year. If painkillers show up on your drug test, you have that prescription from the last time you fell off a roof. Because that’s the other thing about these jobs, they all require drug tests when you get hurt. Smoke pot one night, whether for fun or because you hurt too much to sleep, the company doesn’t have to pay for your injury when your van slides down an icy off-ramp three weeks later. I chose pot to numb my head and body every night. But it was the bigger risk.
USA  work  labour  cable  CheneyDick  exploitation  employment  jobs  misogyny 
10 weeks ago by petej
Brexit will hurt low-paid workers. Freedom of movement is not the problem | Jason Moyer-Lee | Opinion | The Guardian
If the question is how to deal with labour exploitation, the answer lies in improved and enforced employment rights, and a unionisation strategy based on uniting workers, vigorous campaigning and effective collective bargaining. If you don’t believe me, just ask Alex.
UK  work  labour  exploitation  employment  jobs  pay  wages  conditions  precarity  rights  IWGB  freedomOfMovement  tradeUnions  MayTheresa  ToryParty 
december 2018 by petej
Arlie Hochschild: Housework Isn't 'Emotional Labor' - The Atlantic
Arlie Hochschild: Emotional labor, as I introduced the term in The Managed Heart, is the work, for which you’re paid, which centrally involves trying to feel the right feeling for the job. This involves evoking and suppressing feelings. Some jobs require a lot of it, some a little of it. From the flight attendant whose job it is to be nicer than natural to the bill collector whose job it is to be, if necessary, harsher than natural, there are a variety of jobs that call for this. Teachers, nursing-home attendants, and child-care workers are examples. The point is that while you may also be doing physical labor and mental labor, you are crucially being hired and monitored for your capacity to manage and produce a feeling.
emotionalLabour  HochschildArlie  work  labour  housework 
november 2018 by petej
Wellbeing is a nice buzzword. But when employers use it, ask why | Emily Reynolds | Opinion | The Guardian
By focusing on mindfulness and yoga, on free fruit and campus walks, universities and workplaces are both ignoring the parts of work that make us sick and devolving responsibility to the mentally ill themselves, excusing themselves from making further investment, material or otherwise. It’s a nice buzzword. But dig deeper and it’s easy to see that we’re simply being sold a lie that genuine wellbeing is within our grasp, if only we try hard enough.
wellbeing  mentalHealth  employment  employers  work  labour  performance  productivity  mindfulness 
november 2018 by petej
keep seeing people angry about ‘misuse’ of the term emotional labour so thought I would try and articulate some of the uses I see both within and outside of the canonical definition, what seems to be driving the expanded uses of the term and why they
keep seeing people angry about ‘misuse’ of the term emotional labour so thought I would try and articulate some of the uses I see both within and outside of the canonical definition, what seems to be driving the expanded uses of the term and why they might be important. THREAD!!!
emotionalLabour  work  labour  care 
august 2018 by petej
I am a data factory (and so are you) | ROUGH TYPE
The factory metaphor makes clear what the mining metaphor obscures: We work for the Facebooks and Googles of the world, and the work we do is increasingly indistinguishable from the lives we lead.
Facebook  socialMedia  work  labour  digitalLabour  control  manipulation  behaviour  personalData  ownership  nationalisation  surveillance  SiliconValley  dctagged  dc:creator=CarrNick 
august 2018 by petej
Will Elon Musk's 120-hour week stop us worshipping workaholism? | Technology | The Guardian
But while you can take the engineer out of the workplace, you can’t stop them being an engineer, and there is a risk that work/life balance becomes just another thing to optimise for peak performance.

“If you look in the Silicon Valley culture – and this also extends to many corporations,” says Spicer, “executives there are not just obsessed with making their work more productive, but with making their whole life more productive. So they spend a huge amount of time thinking and talking and engaging with these questions about how do you eat in the most efficient way, how do you exercise in the most efficient way, how do you take all these little parts of your life and make them more efficient?”
work  labour  MuskElon  SiliconValley  capitalism  workEthic  overwork  Tesla  SpaceX  health  performance  productivity 
august 2018 by petej
Bullshit jobs and the yoke of managerial feudalism - Open Future
I think a lot of the—often quite legitimate—rancor directed at the “liberal elite” is based on resentment of those working-class people see as having effectively grabbed all the jobs where you’ll actually get paid well to do something that’s both fun and creative, but also, obviously benefits society. If you can’t afford to send your kid to a top college and then support them for 2-3 years doing unpaid internships in some place like New York or San Francisco, forget it, you’re locked out.

For everybody else, unless you get very lucky, your choices are largely limited to two options. You can get a basically bullshit job, which will pay the rent but leave you wracked with the guilty feeling that you are being forced, against your will, to be a fraud and a parasite. Or, you can get a helpful, useful job taking care of people, making or moving or maintaining things that people want or need - but then, likely you will be paid so little you won’t be able to take care of your own family.

There is an almost perfect inverse relation between how much your work directly benefits others, and remuneration. The result is a toxic political culture of resentment.

Those in the largely pointless jobs secretly resent teachers or even auto workers, who actually get to do something useful, and feel it’s outrageous when they demand nice salaries and health care and paid vacations too. Working class people who get to do mostly useful things, resent the liberal elite who grabbed all the useful or beneficial work which actually does pay well and treats you with dignity and respect.
work  labour  jobs  lateCapitalism  bullshitJobs  bureaucracy  management  polarisation  exclusion  resentment  economics  dctagged  dc:creator=GraeberDavid 
august 2018 by petej
“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 
august 2018 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 
july 2018 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 
july 2018 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 
june 2018 by petej
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