Tag: The Intensification of Work

From Strangers In Their Own Land, by Arlie Hochschild, loc 2587-2603: Not claiming to be a victim, accommodating the downside of loose regulations out of a loyalty to free enterprise—this was a tacit form of heroism, hidden to incurious liberals. Sometimes you had to endure bad news, Janice felt, for a higher good, such as […]

In a recent book about the neoliberal superstar turned aspiring world saviour Jeffrey Sachs, a quote from his wife caught my attention. On loc 2909, she describes how Sachs only sleeps for four hours a night and works constantly throughout his waking hours. Even on a family holiday, he often gave two or three speeches a day […]

In our discussion of metrics systems, it’s easy to treat subjectivity as a cipher, regarding people as passively moulded by algorithms or blindly governed by the incentives that operate through the institutionalisation of the metrics. My objection to the former is not the claim that people are shaped by metrics, but rather the assumption that this process is […]

From Inventing the Future, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, loc 2429: Work has become central to our very self-conception –so much so that when presented with the idea of doing less work, many people ask, ‘But what would I do?’ The fact that so many people find it impossible to imagine a meaningful life […]

Bleak but plausible predictions from Nick Srniceck and Alex Williams in their Inventing the Future. From loc 2020-2035: 1. The precarity of the developed economies’ working class will intensify due to the surplus global labour supply (resulting from both globalisation and automation).  2. Jobless recoveries will continue to deepen and lengthen, predominantly affecting those whose […]

I like this description by Porter Erisman, reflecting on loc 1923 of Alibaba’s World about his experience as head of PR for the company up until soon after its IPO: WORKING IN A fast-growing start-up is a bit like running a marathon. It’s an endurance test, filled with highs and lows. At times you want […]

From Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, by Douglas Rushkoff, loc 72-86: A few weeks later, there was nothing to smile about. Protesters in Oakland were now throwing rocks at Google’s buses and broke a window, terrifying employees. Sure, I was as concerned about the company’s practices as anyone, and frustrated by the way Silicon […]

An interesting point in Intern Nation, by Ross Perlin, reflecting on the long term consequences of the institutionalised internship system for the constitution of the professions. From loc 3035-3051: Besides, it’s probably too early to gauge the deepest effects—the internship explosion has only gone fully mainstream, integrated into every white-collar field, since around the turn […]

From Intern Nation, by Ross Perlin, loc 2379: (A small-scale survey in the U.K., conducted in 2010, found that a whopping 86 percent of recent graduates and soon-to-be graduates were willing to work for free, despite considering it exploitative.) As the cost of copying and disseminating (but not creating) content has plunged towards zero, no […]

Recording this for future use when Filip Vostal and I progress a bit further with our book: You will remember that earlier this year we surveyed all members to find out more about your concerns around workload intensification and working hours. The report and an executive summary are now available here. Thank you to the […]

I knew there were a lot but had no idea it was this many. From Intern Nation, by Ross Perlin, loc 1946: According to an estimate by Politico and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, 20,000 interns descend on the capital each summer, approximately 6,000 of them filling Congressional slots—which would come out […]

In Ross Perlin’s Intern Nation, he writes of how interns voluntarily subjugate themselves in order to ‘be noticed’, even if they have little expectation that their internship will lead to a permanent job. From loc 1997: There is rarely much reason to believe that internships in the public sector or at nonprofits will convert directly […]

This is apparently growing rapidly: why pay staff to do this when you can get desperate graduates to do it for free? Want to jump start a social media marketing campaign for your business but don’t have the time or social media savvy in Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs or similar sites? Try this twist on […]

I just came across this sentence by Mark Granovetter on loc 721 of Ross Perlin’s Intern Nation: “There may be just enough cases around that people know about to give people encouragement, but not enough to really make it likely that that’s going to happen for any particular person.” This is another way of talking […]

Yesterday I blogged about the impossible demands placed upon staff as a management strategy. What happens if you fail to meet these demands? This is an important question but it’s one which becomes even more crucial if, as seems likely, predictive analytics hits human resources departments: Candidate Pre-screening – One of HR’s Best “Predictive Analytics […]

There’s a great story in Losing the Signal, Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s history of Research In Motion, relating how the management responded to the threat of the iPhone: promise an ever more amazing phone to wireless carriers and then simply demand that the engineering team produce it on a minimal timescale. From pg 142: RIM […]