employment, jobs, labour, work

>employment, jobs, labour, work <positioning<agency

>work/life balance, flexible, precarious, rights

guardian.com 1-5-2022 In the name of job flexibility, ‘Uberisation’ is spreading its tentacles across society – From health workers to beauticians, cleaners to academics, the erosion of our rights at work is setting us back a hundred years – by Kenan Malik


work>work ethic, ambition, alienation, work/life balance, gen-z, antiwork, capitalism, alienation

vox.com 22-4-2022 Gen Z does not dream of labor – On TikTok and online, the youngest workers are rejecting work as we know it. How will that play out IRL? By Terry Nguyen

Part of the Future of Work issue of The Highlight, our home for ambitious stories that explain our world.

American workers across various ages, industries, and income brackets have experienced heightened levels of fatigue, burnout, and general dissatisfaction toward their jobs since the pandemic’s start. The difference is, more young people are airing these indignations and jaded attitudes on the internet, often to viral acclaim.

Today’s young people are not the first to experience economic hardship, but they are the first to broadcast their struggles in ways that, just a decade ago, might alienate potential employers or be deemed too radical. Such attitudes might abate with age, but the Great Resignation has inspired a generation of workers to speak critically — and cynically — about the role of labor in their lives. …”…


work>work ethic, ambition, alienation, work/life balance

nytimes.com 15-2-2022 The Age of Anti-Ambition – When 25 million people leave their jobs, it’s about more than just burnout – The New York Times Future of Work – Dive into the magazine’s annual exploration of the ways in which work, and our lives with it, is changing. By Noreen Malone


earlymagazine.com 4-2-2022 Losing Our Ambition: Is This The Year We Resolve To Work Less? – by James Greig

…”…In 2022, it’s striking that many of the resolutions that people are making about work are not about getting better at one’s job at all, as in previous years, but about doing far less of it. The assumption that work ought to be a source of meaning in our lives has—rightfully—come under attack in recent years. “Work, for the vast majority of people, is not, as it promises to be, a viable means for self-expression, but an affront to freedom—something that eats up our lives,” writes Amelia Horgan in her acclaimed non-fiction book, Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism. In the US, workers were found to be working the equivalent of one day of unpaid overtime per week, while another study revealed that people spend an average of eight hours a week replying to work emails in their own time. It’s a feature of the way the economy is organized that our employers are incentivized to wring every ounce of productivity out of us that they can, which has led to a widespread culture of over-work.

In Steal as Much as You Can, a book about the culture industries, Natalie Olah writes, “It’s essential to remember that in the market economy, you—your body and your mind—are no more than a commodity in the eyes of your employer.” In light of this, she advocates viewing your relationship with your bosses as an antagonistic one, and resolving to do the bare minimum at work…”…


work >theory, Marx, work ethic, alienation, human nature

academia.edu/ 2022 What Karl Marx Got Wrong About Work (7 videos, 1 hr)

1. Karl Marx and The Right to be Lazy 06:15
2. The Protestant and American Work Ethic 03:12
3. Contemporary Issues of Work and Overwork 09:30
4. Contemporary Marxists on Work 10:47
5. Proposed Solutions to Work and Overwork 07:33
6. Marx on Alienation and Human Nature 12:26
7. What Karl Marx Got Wrong About Work 10:59
INSTRUCTOR Hailey J . Crockett … earned her BS in political science at Frostburg State University in 2017. She earned her MA in political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield in 2019 . Hailey’s MA thesis was a Marxist Critique of Work and Its Problems. She works in public libraries and continues to study theories of work and anti-work Marxist theory.

What Marx said about work and productivity
Son-in-law Paul Lafargue’s concept of laziness as a virtue
The history of the Protestant and American work ethic
Contemporary Marxist theories of work and the work ethic
Six things Karl Marx got wrong about work


>employment, jobs, labour, work >gig economy, precarious

theguardian.com 11-2021 Gig-working in England and Wales more than doubles in five years – This article is more than 2 months old – Percentage of workers paid by platforms such as Uber and Deliveroo jumps from 6% in 2016 to 15% now – by Sarah Butler

…”The number of adults in England and Wales working for gig economy companies has reached 4.4 million and is now two-and-a-half times bigger than in 2016, according to a report highlighting the rise of insecure working practices. Almost 15% of working adults now get paid by platform such as Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon’s delivery arm Flex, compared with about 6% in 2016 and just under 12% in 2019, according to research for the TUC union carried out by the University of Hertfordshire and the consultancy BritainThinks. Prof Neil Spencer, who co-authored the research, said it indicated that gig work made up a substantial part of the UK’s economy and added: “I expect it to grow.”…”…


ft.com 1-2022 What the “slackers’ manifesto” forgets


>work…- finance, trading

cityam.com 19-1-2022 Four-day working week pilot launches in UK with 100-80-100 model: Full pay and productivity but 80 per cent of the time – By Michiel Willems


nymag.com 12/2021 Good-bye, Goldman Sachs – Getting a job there was a dream. The pandemic changed my perspective. By Nathan Risser

…”…The most accurate representation of life within the walls of an international investment bank is actually the thriller Margin Call, set on the cusp of the global financial crisis at a firm that closely resembles the one I worked for. Goldman is a quiet place where serious decisions are made and a veneer of calm hides the inherent drama of what is happening beneath. People speak in buzzwords and jargon, and poker faces hide what they’re really feeling. I had quickly learned to fit in, but, during lockdown, my shell wore thin. My ability to put on a front was tested to its limit and, eventually, failed. …

Without the camaraderie and perks of office life, I realized I had become a simple input-output moneymaking machine. Deliverables that normally had 24-hour turnarounds were expected before lunch on the same day. Normal business hours were scrapped as seniors moved their schedules to fit their personal needs. Some logged on at five in the morning, others slogged it out until midnight, and juniors like me were caught in between. Quality of life deteriorated for us all in different ways. My peers were pulling 100-hour weeks in cramped apartments with no ability to blow off steam at the pub. Senior staff had to generate revenue while taking charge of their children’s education and dealing with an increasingly demanding book of clients. This was the case in many companies, but in February 2021, the well-being of Goldman employees became a hot topic after a group of junior analysts presented their managers with a survey decrying their working conditions. …

Throughout my time at Goldman, like all employees, I had my ups and downs and moments of extreme stress. I wasn’t the best at dealing with it. I suffered bouts of depression that, at their worst times, led to suicidal thoughts and sessions with the on-site psychiatrist. The first thing the psychiatrist told me was that I wasn’t alone, that many employees sought counseling. That made sense, I thought at the time. Goldman employees are exceptionally driven and hardworking. But when I read the leaked analyst survey, I felt others had put into words what I hadn’t been able to. On the penultimate page is a list of quotes from junior employees. One in particular hit home: “My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.” I realized there was a connection between the way I was working and how I felt. It was hard for me to admit to myself that I was suffering mental-health problems. When you’ve had it drilled into you that you’re a winner, that you are at your desk because you’re the best, and that any obstacle can be overcome if you just work hard enough, any admission of weakness becomes taboo…hen I resigned, I don’t think anyone was surprised. One of my bosses started planning my work handover. The other told me I was doing the right thing. On the day I left, I went into the office one last time. Around a third of my team had trickled back in. I took the card everyone had signed that said “Sorry you’re leaving,” grabbed the detritus from my desk, and walked out. I wish I could say that all my worries melted away, but I was scared. While it’s a high-stakes, risk-loving industry, finance is also one of the safest places an indebted, uncertain graduate can end up…

As I stood at an empty underground station, months of feeling there was no route out of the career I had so enthusiastically signed up for came flooding back. I got on the train and told myself that, however long it took, I was starting over. I was going to stand on escalators, resisting the urge to run, for as long as it would take to become myself again.”


theguardian.com/  12/2021  At 75, I still have to work’: millions of Americans can’t afford to retire – Number of US workers aged 75 and up expected to increase 96.5% over next decade as some say ‘we must work until we die’  by Michael Sainato

…”…Over the next decade, the number of workers ages 75 and older is expected to increase in the US by 96.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with their labor force participation rate projected to rise from 8.9% in 2020 to 11.7% by 2030, a rate that has steadily increased from 4.7% in 1996.  By 2040, the US population of adults ages 65 and older is expected to increase to 80.8 million from 54.1 million in 2019.  The number of workers who retired during the pandemic was about 2 million more than expected. 50.3% of US adults ages 55 and older said they were out of the labor force due to retirement in the third quarter of 2021, compared to 48.1% in the third quarter of 2019, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Though in recent months, the unretirement rate of US workers has gradually increased toward pre-pandemic levels.  As the ageing US population grows, participation in retirement plans has declined since 2000. Nearly half of all families in the US have no retirement savings at all and inequality among Americans based on retirement savings is greater than income inequality. Over 15 million adults ages 65 and older are economically insecure, with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty line, with Black, Hispanic and women ages 65 and older more likely to live in poverty.  “I have no savings, no assets, I don’t even own the home I’ve been renting for 15 years,” said Dr Lisa Natale, 65, a chiropractor in Hawaii who put herself through school as a single mother. “There’s no way I could afford to retire.”   With the average estimated social security retirement benefit in 2021 at $1,543 a month, even with a 5.9% cost of living adjusted increase for 2022, millions of Americans who rely on social security benefits are forced to continue working past retirement age in order to make ends meet…”…  


sciencefocus.com  7/12/2021  Artificial intelligence quietly relies on workers earning $2 per hour  – Amazon Mechanical Turk, described as “artificial artificial intelligence”, uses low-paid workers to complete mini-tasks that AI can’t do on its own.  By Phil Jones

…”This kind of work, often known as ‘microwork’ – due to the brevity of the tasks – is becoming increasingly popular. Growing numbers of sites such as Clickworker, Appen and Playment now host large crowds of workers who undertake these short data tasks, often for very little payment. One study found that the average wage of a worker on Mechanical Turk is less than $2 an hour, with only 4 per cent of workers earning over $7.25 per hour, the US minimum wage. Tasks are very short, running from around 30 seconds to 30 minutes and often pay as little as a few cents.  The tasks can be very repetitive and are often opaque to the point of being impossible to relate to a larger project. A 2020 study by academics found that contractors often offer very little detailed information on their tasks and on the purposes they serve. This means that workers have little idea of what they are precisely working on. This is of particular concern when workers might be supporting a technology such as facial recognition software, which has serious ethical implications.

The work is also highly insecure. Workers are usually categorised as ‘independent contractors’, so they do not enjoy the rights and benefits afforded full-time employees working for the companies that contract them. This means that workers will usually work for multiple contractors over the course of a single day, which in turn means that workers must continually search for new tasks. A significant portion of the day must be given over to finding work, rather than actually doing work that pays.  The majority of this work is currently done in countries in the Global South such as India, Kenya and Venezuela. But some studies suggest that this kind of digital work is also on the rise in countries such as the UK.”


ft.com  4/12/2021  The future of work – The Great Resignation – ft reviews work books 

Work, Employment , big resignation, generation Z, ft 12 2021

thetimes.co.uk/ 11/2021 dear-dolly-my-friends-all-earn-more-than-me-and-i-cant-keep-up


ft.com 11/2021 The night shift is back as Americans work overtime to clear backlogs

work shifts US FT 11 2021

theguadian.com 11/2021 The Great Resignation has employers sweating. It’s time to escalate the pressure – This is a once-in-a-generation ‘take this job and shove it’ moment – which gives workers an upper hand. Let’s demand better hours, pay and work-life balance – by Erika Rodriguez

“Despite quizzical think pieces on the motivations behind the Great Resignation, anyone who pays rent or a mortgage knows why this “labor shortage” is under way. After years of inflation and stagnant wages, the pandemic has revealed the value of labor, the worthlessness of commutes and office culture, and the importance of finding personal comfort in times of increasing precarity. In other words, we are living in what labor economist Lawrence Katz calls “a once-in-a-generation ‘take this job and shove it’ moment” – which gives workers a once-in-a-generation upper hand. The potential of this cultural moment is not limited to the 2.9% of the workforce who have quit their jobs in the past few months. As CEOs scramble to maintain retention rates, those who have kept their jobs can express solidarity with resigning workers and contribute to the cultural shift by slowing the pace of productivity. …”…


work slavery

theguardian.com 10/2021 ‘My students never knew’: the lecturer who lived in a tent – Higher education is one of the most casualised sectors of the UK economy, and for many it means a struggle to get – by Anna Fazackerley

…”Research published this month found that nearly half of the undergraduate tutorials for which Cambridge University is famous are delivered by precariously employed staff without proper contracts. The UCU says this is a familiar story across the country…”…


ft.com Is my teenager’s pay rise a sign of things to come? G Tett


theguardian.com 10/2021 Behind the scenes, film and TV workers want less drama – It’s a glamorous industry, but the bullying culture can make working conditions unbearable Eva Wiseman


amazon.co.uk 2015 Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

From bestselling writer David Graeber, a powerful argument against the rise of meaningless, unfulfilling jobs, and their consequences. Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world? In the spring of 2013, David Graeber asked this question in a playful, provocative essay titled “On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.” It went viral. After a million online views in seventeen different languages, people all over the world are still debating the answer. There are millions of people—HR consultants, communication coordinators, telemarketing researchers, corporate lawyers—whose jobs are useless, and, tragically, they know it. These people are caught in bullshit jobs. Graeber explores one of society’s most vexing and deeply felt concerns, indicting among other villains a particular strain of finance capitalism that betrays ideals shared by thinkers ranging from Keynes to Lincoln. Bullshit Jobs gives individuals, corporations, and societies permission to undergo a shift in values, placing creative and caring work at the center of our culture. This book is for everyone who wants to turn their vocation back into an avocation.