Category: General (page 1 of 267)

Presenteeism, overwork, and being your own boss

I spend a lot of time on the side of football pitches and basketball courts watching my kids playing sports. As a result, I talk to parents and grandparents from all walks of life, who are interested in me being a co-founder of a co-op — and that, on average, I work five-hour days.

This wasn’t always the case, of course. I’ve been lucky, for sure, but also intentional about the working life I want to create. And I’m here to tell you that unless you at least partly own the business you work for, you’re going to be overworking until the end of your days.

Hidden overwork is different to working long hours in the office or on the clock at home – instead, it’s the time an employee puts into tasks on top of their brief. There are plenty of reasons people take on this extra work: to be up to speed in meetings; appear ‘across issues’ when asked about industry developments; or seem sharp in an environment in which a worker is still trying to establish themselves.

There are myriad ways a person’s day job can slip into their non-working hours: think a worker chatting to someone from their industry at their child’s birthday party, and suddenly slipping into networking mode. Or perhaps an employee hears their boss mention a book in a meeting, so they download and listen to it on evening walks for a week, stopping occasionally to jot down some notes.

[…]

However, for many, this overwork no longer feels like a choice – and that’s when things go bad. This can especially be the case, says [Alexia] Cambon [director of research at workplace-consultancy Gartner’s HR practice], when these off-hours tasks become another form of presenteeism – for instance, an employee reading a competitor’s website and sharing links in a messaging channel at night, just so they can signal to their boss they’re always on. “We’re seeing… more employees who feel monitored by their organisations, and then feel like they have to put in extra hours,” she says.

As such, this hidden overwork can do a lot of potential damage if it becomes an unspoken requirement. “If there’s more expectation and burden associated with it, that’s where people are going to have negative consequences,” says Nancy Rothbard, management professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, US. “That’s where it becomes tough on them.”

Source: The hidden overwork that creeps into so many jobs | BBC Worklife

On GitHub Achievements

GitHub is owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft was one of the earlier adopters of the Open Badges standard. So when I saw this announcement about GitHub Achievements, I naturally assumed they’d be Open Badges.

However, I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s another staging post in the vendor lock-in long game.

Achievements celebrate and showcase your journey on GitHub. You can take a trip down memory lane as you reminisce on some of your earlier work (yes, certain achievements will surface events dating back to the beginning!). You can also share them on social media to show off the new badges you’ve earned. We’ll only ship a few to start, but as we roll out more over time, achievements will begin to paint a clearer picture of you and the work you’re passionate about.

Source: Introducing Achievements: recognizing the many stages of a developer’s coding journey | The GitHub Blog

The future has been foreclosed and the present is intolerable

This is an insightful and enjoyable article about something which I’ve noticed even at my level of gaming. For example, when quickly explaining the controls for Sniper Elite 4 to someone recently, I realised they were almost exactly the same as Red Dead Redemption 2.

That ‘legibility’ is a double-edged sword. It allows players to switch between games quickly and easily, but perhaps mitigates against innovation, experimentation, and getting really deep into a game…

Writing for TANK magazine in 2019, Josh Citarella mused on how WoW Classic tied into Mark Fischer’s idea of the slow cancellation of the future” (aka where are my hoverboards”)…  Cirtrella points to the collapsing gap between items that generate culture and items that can be (nostalgically) reflected upon, especially as The future has been foreclosed [and] the present is intolerable.”

[…]

Said differently, games are forced to be legible to players. This isn’t a call for radical experimentalism but to simply state that the cost to make games (due to a large amount of factors) is steadily increasing, and as such there is a proportionally growing interest by the powers that be that those games turn a profit. With little flex on things like price (proposing games should cost $70, $80, or more leads to general uproar, despite being something that should totally happen), games are forced to internalize this economic burden on the process of production itself.

[…]

It’s here that I introduce the title of this article, something that sounds more thinky than it is – Game Design Mimetics”. If the role of mechanics design in a game is to best serve the content of the game, be legible to the player, and not introduce too much uncertainty into the middle of a production, the simplest answer to what should we do about the design” is to just copy what already works”.

[…]

The past here isn’t looked at as the past, but instead as the metric by which to hold directly against considerations for the present. The constant backwards facing view as the rubric by which to create the future acts as a collapsing mechanism for possibility.

Source: Game Design Mimetics (Or, What Happened To Game Design?) | k-hole