Tag Archives | Work

The Myth of Work Vs. The Reality of Abuse

ProductionVia Modern Mythology: In the wake of yet another collosal political and social disappointment, I'd like to touch on an issue which, frankly, could be the topic of a book. And it's a book that, if it hasn't been written already, should be written. It needs to be written, and more importantly, it needs to be talked about. Every culture has myths about work. What is acceptable for an employee or employer, what the nature of that relationship should be. It is in the benefit of the employer to have myths throughout the workforce that tie their very identity and sense of self worth into how well they meet that employers demands, and if there aren't forces in place, either enforced through government oversight or the unionization of the workers in some configuration, these myths can run rampant. There is, after all, a word in Japanese for working one's self to death. (They also apparently have a word for eating one's self to ruin. But that's another story.)
(Matt Damon speaks out on the importance of teachers):
This process is not inherently good or bad. As I said in the chapter on initiation in The Immanence of Myth, the prescriptive nature of indoctrination may sound ominous, but many of us know what humans become when left to be feral creatures. They can hardly be called human, at all. However, this process can still break down in any number of ways...
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United States Becomes Sweden’s Third-World Outsourcing Destination

FURNITURE JOBS“It’s ironic that IKEA looks on the U.S. and Danville the way that most people in the U.S. look at Mexico,” Street said.

When a large multinational corporation is looking to cut costs, what does it do? Send jobs overseas to a less modernized country — one where salaries are a fraction of those at home and the law provides few rights or protections for workers — and watch the profits roll in. We are speaking, of course, of Sweden’s IKEA, and Virginia, USA. Is this our economic future? Current reports:

Here we are, folks. Sweden’s third-world sweatshop. IKEA takes advantage of the destruction to our economy caused by outsourcing jobs by outsourcing their own jobs to the U.S. — and paying less than the workers in Sweden get ($8 in the U.S., $19 + better benefits in Sweden, for making the same products), about 50% of what the median income is in Danville (the town where IKEA’s sweatshop is located), with much stricter and abusive practices in the Danville facility, and with many less rights.

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More Americans Work For the Government Than In Manufacturing, Farming, Fishing, Forestry, Mining & Utilities Combined

Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times'Stephen Moore writes in the Wall Street Journal:

If you want to understand better why so many states — from New York to Wisconsin to California — are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees.

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Are Women Developing Immunity to the Sexual Harassment ‘Virus’?

TaxiScienceDaily reports:

Sexual harassment may have become so commonplace for women that they have built up resistance to harassing behavior they consider merely “bothersome,” suggests a provocative new study by Michigan State University researchers.This effect, said lead investigator Isis Settles, may be similar to the way people build up immunity to infection following exposure to a virus.

“When women view sexual harassment as bothersome, it doesn’t seem to be associated with distress,” said Settles, associate professor of psychology. “In some ways this suggests that sexual harassment is such a widespread problem that women have figured out ways to deal with it so it doesn’t interfere with their psychological well-being.”

For the study, which appears in the research journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the researchers examined surveys of more than 6,000 women and men serving in all five branches of the U.S. military.

Sexual harassment was a problem for both sexes, the study found.

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A Bad Job Damages Your Mental Health As Much As Unemployment

Mike RoweWrites Tim Barribeau on io9.com:
Being unemployed is generally regarded as detrimental to your mental health, with the prevailing wisdom being that gainful employment will fix you right up. Unfortunately, according to research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a crappy job can be just as bad — if not worse — than unemployment. Analyzing more than 7,000 working-age Australians across a great number of data points, the researchers found that people defined good jobs as ones that provided a defined social role and purpose, friendships, and structured time (among other things). Being hired into these kinds of jobs resulted in an overall improvement in mental health. Conversely, those in jobs that offered little control, were very demanding, and provided little support and reward lead to a general decrease in mental health.
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Man Demoted For Failing To Pray

prayer-roomReligious discrimination and sexual harassment are, sadly, nothing new to the workplace. When your boss tells you “to attend the prayer meetings or find another position,” getting transferred may be the best opportunity. Unless your personal medical information is leaked to your new co-workers. Courthouse News Service reports:

A BNSF Railway worker claims he was demoted because he declined to join his supervisor in prayer meetings at work. James Dunkin claims his boss proselytized on the job, handed out booklets that contained “instructions for raising ‘masculine sons and feminine daughters,'” and says that when he objected to the coerced prayers, the boss told him that “he needed to attend the prayer meetings or find another position.”

To top it off, Dunkin says that the offensive boss, Jeff Kirby, once “stood in his office with his door open and pants down” staring at him suggestively.

In his federal complaint in Kansas City, Kan., Dunkin says that after BNSF transferred him unfairly, he was tormented by his new co-workers because the company had leaked personal medical information about him.

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Top 10 Office Annoyances

"Thinking outside the box" and "Let's touch base" were the most hated buzz phrases among the 1,836 people surveyed by Opinium research. Nearly two-thirds of them said their stress levels had been increased by office irritations and one in 10 had left a job because of them. The survey found the Top 10 office annoyances were: 1. Grumpy or moody colleagues (37 percent) 2. Slow computers (36) 3. Small talk/gossip in the office (19) 4. The use of office jargon or management-speak (18) ... The most annoying jargon: 1. Thinking outside the box (21 percent) 2. Let's touch base (20) 3. Blue sky thinking (19) 4. Blamestorming (16) (sitting down and working out whose fault something is) ...
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Online Games Turn Work Into Play

A Stanford professor advocates World of Warcraft or Second Life in the workplace to hone skills like teamwork, leadership, and data analysis - and even suggests putting online gaming experiences into your resume! "There's just so much that gets done [in a virtual world] that's just right on target with what happens in real business." And meanwhile, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt now claims that multiplayer gaming also provides good career training, especially for technology careers. "Everything in the future online is going to look like a multiplayer game. If I were 15 years old, that's what I would be doing right now... It teaches players to build a network, to use interactive skills and thinking.” Maybe this article asks the ultimate question. "Is the corporate world beyond Google and IBM ready for legions of dwarves, gnomes, night elves, orcs, and trolls competing for leadership roles...?"
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