Tag: work (page 1 of 27)

Leisure is what we do for its own sake. It serves no higher end.

Yes, yes, and yes. I agree wholeheartedly with this view that places human flourishing above work.

To limit work’s negative moral effects on people, we should set harder limits on working hours. Dr. Weeks calls for a six-hour work day with no pay reduction. And we who demand labor from others ought to expect a bit less of people whose jobs grind them down.

In recent years, the public has become more aware of conditions in warehouses and the gig economy. Yet we have relied on inventory pickers and delivery drivers ever more during the pandemic. Maybe compassion can lead us to realize we don’t need instant delivery of everything and that workers bear the often-invisible cost of our cheap meat and oil.

The vision of less work must also encompass more leisure. For a time the pandemic took away countless activities, from dinner parties and concerts to in-person civic meetings and religious worship. Once they can be enjoyed safely, we ought to reclaim them as what life is primarily about, where we are fully ourselves and aspire to transcendence.

Leisure is what we do for its own sake. It serves no higher end.

Source: Returning to the Office and the Future of Work | The New York Times

Why commute to an office to work remotely?

This piece by Anne Helen Petersen is so good about the return to work. It’s ostensibly about US universities, but is so much widely applicable.

As I’ve said to several people over the past few weeks, the idea of needing staff to be in a physical office most of the time for ‘serendipitous interactions’ is ridiculous. Working openly allows for much greater serendipity surface than any forced physical co-location might achieve.

On college campuses across the United States, staff are back in the office. More specifically, they’re back in their own, individual offices, with their doors closed, meeting with one another over Zoom or Teams, battling low internet speeds, and reminding each other to mute themselves so that the sound of the meeting doesn’t create a deafening echo effect for everyone else.

For some, the office is just a quick walk or bike ride away. But for many, coming into the office requires a distinctly unromantic commute. It means cobbling together childcare plans, particularly with the nationwide bus driver shortages and school quarantine regulations after illness or a potential exposure. It means paying for parking, and packing or paying for their lunches, and handing over anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours of their day. They are enduring the worst parts of a “traditional” job, only to go into the office and essentially work remote, with worse conditions and fewer amenities (and, in many cases, less comfort) than they had at home. It’s the worst of both work worlds.

[…]

The university might seem like a weird example of an “office,” but it’s a pretty vivid illustration of one. You have leadership who are obsessed with image, cost cutting, and often deeply out of touch with the day-to-day operations of the organization (administration); a group of “creatives” (tenured faculty) who form the outward core of the organization and thus have significant self-import but dwindling power; full-time employees of various levels who are fundamental to the operation of the organization and chronically under-appreciated (staff) ; an underclass of contingent and contract workers who perform similar jobs to full-time employees but for less pay, fewer protections, less job security, and are held in far less esteem (grad students, adjuncts, and sub-contracted staff, including building, maintenance, food service, security). And then there’s the all-important customer, whose imagined needs, preferences, whims, demands, and supply of capital serve are the axis around which the rest of the organization rotates (students and their parents).

Source: The Worst of Both Work Worlds | Culture Study

Opting out of capitalism

One of the huge benefits of the pandemic has been that it’s allowed people to reflect on their lives. And many people, it seems, realised that their jobs (or work in general) makes them unhappy.

The lying flat movement, or tangping as it’s known in Mandarin, is just one expression of this global unraveling. Another is the current worker shortage in the United States. As of June, there were more than 10 million job openings in the United States, according to the most recent figures from the Labor Department — the highest number since the government began tracking the data two decades ago. While conservatives blame juiced-up pandemic unemployment benefits, liberals counter that people do want to work, just not for the paltry wages they were making before the pandemic.

Both might be true. But if low wages were all that’s at play, we would expect to see reluctant workers at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder, and content workers at the top. Instead, there are murmurs of dissent at every rung, including from the inner sanctums of Goldman Sachs, where salaries for investment bankers start at $150,000. According to a leaked internal survey, entry-level analysts at the investment bank report they’re facing “inhumane” conditions, working an average of 98 hours a week, forgoing showers and sleep. “I’ve been through foster care,” said one respondent. “This is arguably worse.”

Source: Lying Flat’: Tired Workers Are Opting Out of Careers and Capitalism | The New York Times