Tag Archives | Jobs

Are We Headed Toward An Economy Based Around Serving Rich People?

Via Alternet, Sam Pizzigati ponders the jobs of the future, with masses clamoring for the opportunity to cater to the rich:

We’re well on the way to becoming a full-fledged “servant economy.” Most Americans no longer make things. They provide services.

Young people can become engineers and programmers and spend their careers in pitiless competition with people all over the world just as smart and trained but willing to work for much less. Or they can join the servant economy and “service those few at the top who have successfully joined the global elite.”

In this new “servant economy,” we’re not talking just nannies and chauffeurs. We’re talking, as journalist Camilla Long notes, “pilots, publicists, art dealers, and bodyguards” — a “newer, brighter phalanx of personal helpers.”

Want to see the world? In the new servant economy, you can become a “jewelry curator” and voyage to foreign lands to pick up gems for wealthy clients.

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Future of Work: Finding Value in the Rejects of the Job Economy


Nick Meador outlines a project called Funding My Existence, intended to enable creative visionaries to act as stewards of our society’s future, on h+ Magazine:

Unless one is capable of staying in what our society has deemed a “normal” state of consciousness for 20-40 hours per week, week after week, one cannot “make a living.” I for one agree with [Bucky] Fuller’s argument that no one should have to make a living. If the time and energy required to pay bills and feed ourselves prevents us from actually making the changes and progress that we envision in the world, then we are in trouble and we have also lost our link with America’s founding mission statement to guarantee “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to all.

At the very least, FME could be an information hub and support network for those pigeonholed into various subordinate groups, such as people on the autism spectrum, people undergoing spiritual emergencies, and more.

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Emotional Labor In The Happiest Place On Earth

BPS Occupational Digest discusses the model pioneered by Disney of what is termed “emotional labor” — the mandatory extreme cheeriness and masterful mood control which has become a widespread part of service industry work:

Walt himself, having observed frowns and negativity on tours of the grounds, insisted on Disney University, a mandatory training process for every employee, that more than anything else is an extended emotion regulation regime…trainees are taken through methods of managing facial and voice cues to maintain a happy, relaxed, and accessible approach. This is effectively a masterclass in surface acting.

However, research suggests that Disney employees actively involved in surface acting are more likely to experience emotional exhaustion. This accords with broader evidence that surface acting is hard work. Other research indicates that buttoning back anger is the hardest thing to do for Disney employees, and having to keep doing so is a major driver of emotional exhaustion.

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Riot Police Arrest Walmart Warehouse Workers On Strike Against Abysmal Working Conditions

Via Buzzfeed, activist Daneyvilla took an snapped photos as a veritable army of riot police cracked down on a demonstration by several hundred completely peaceful, largely middle-aged Walmart warehouse employees. From the workers’ website, the reason for the strike:

No one should come to work and endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250lbs with no support. Workers never know how long the work day will be- sometimes its two hours, sometimes its 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment.

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Human Workers Whose Boss Is An Algorithm

We envision a future in which the repetitive, manual labor is performed by robots with human overseers. But suppose we are headed for the reverse? Computers are brighter than us, after all. Via Technology Review:

Stephanie Hamilton is part of something larger than herself. She’s part of a computer program.

The 38-year-old resident of Kingston, Jamaica, recently began performing small tasks assigned to her by an algorithm running on a computer in Berkeley, California. That software, developed by a startup called MobileWorks, represents the latest trend in crowdsourcing: organizing foreign workers on a mass scale to do routine jobs that computers aren’t yet good at, like checking spreadsheets or reading receipts.

According to company cofounder Anand Kulkarni, the aim is to get the crowd of workers to “behave much more like an automatic resource than like individual and unreliable human beings.” The value of tasks is set so that workers can reasonably earn $2 to $4 an hour; payments are on a sliding scale, with lower rates for poorer countries.

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Has A Bachelor’s Degree Lost Its Value?

Writes Lee Lawrence on the Christian Science Monitor:

The children of white middle-class, college-educated parents, Hugh Green and Turner Jenkins are just the kind of kids everyone would expect to be stepping out into the world one sunny June day, bachelor’s degrees in hand. But they both veered from the traditional American educational route.

One decided that a bachelor’s was never going to be enough, while the other concluded it was unnecessary.

Mr. Green enrolled in an accelerated program that will keep him at Emory University in Atlanta for a fifth year and earn him a master’s degree. Mr. Jenkins is immersed in a culinary training program in Gaithersburg, Md., that he hopes will launch his career as a chef.

Once the hallmark of an educated and readily employable adult, the bachelor’s degree is losing its edge. Quicker, cheaper programs offer attractive career route alternatives while the more prestigious master’s is trumping it, making it a mere steppingstone…

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Who Creates Jobs (and Other Critical Questions)

Help WantedTom Matlack writes on The Good Men Project:

The web is abuzz with TED’s decision not to let a former Amazon.com investor make his case for middle-class job creation. Meanwhile Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg gets ready to watch his $20 or so billion become liquid when his company opens trading this morning. The French and Greeks have elected liberal leaders who campaigned against austerity as the answer to the Euro debt crisis. And here in the United States the general election is kicking into high gear with the Romney campaign releasing this ad yesterday in key swing states.

Let’s try to get a few things straight here before resorting to mud slinging.

1) Any way you slice it we have a debt problem threatening to kill us.

Government spending here in the United States and across much of the developed world is completely out of control. As of March 2012, debt held by the public was $10.85 trillion or approximately 70% GDP, while the intragovernmental debt was $4.74 trillion or approximately 30% GDP.… Read the rest

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Thirty-Five-Hour Work-Week Recommended for Parents

ParentingRaising children isn’t considered work, of course. Via ScienceDaily:

Swedish mothers of small children work a lot more now than in the 1970s. This is an important reason why so many parents feel extremely pressured for time. One way to handle the stress is to take advantage of the right for Swedish parents to work half time, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg. The author of the thesis Jörgen Larsson suggests shorter workweeks for parents.

Jörgen Larsson’s doctoral thesis is based on the observation that parents of small children are in the middle of the most hectic part of their lives. One major reason behind the time pressure is that parents work more hours than in the past. The total paid work time for mothers and fathers of small children has increased by an average of 10 hours per week since the 1970s.

The study, which is based on statistical analysis of 20,000 parents and interviews with 19 fathers, explores parents’ temporal welfare.

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One In Two College Graduates Are Jobless Or Underemployed

Graduation Thinker

Illustration: lumaxart (CC)

Reports the AP via the Huffington Post:

The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don’t fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor’s degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs – waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example – and that’s confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees. While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers.

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