6th March 2014 Blogging: pervasive labour on the margins

We’re all blog­gers these days, aren’t we?  Writ­ing, con­sum­ing, they’ve become a part of the fab­ric of our rou­tine infor­ma­tion gath­er­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.  The phenomena’s become an easy filler arti­cle for the week­end papers.  Taken over from the man­u­script in the bot­tom drawer.  Hasn’t it?  Work we want to do, so we just do it? …

5th December 2013 All in a Day’s Work: Changing Understandings of Occupations

Work acts as a pow­er­ful ‘class clue’, but the nature of our rela­tion­ship to, and under­stand­ing of, work is a change­able one. Bound­aries blur and par­tic­u­lar under­stand­ings of both role and worker seem less fixed than per­haps they once were. This, along­side the cur­rent eco­nomic cri­sis, with its asso­ci­ated polit­i­cal dis­courses around irre­spon­si­ble ‘scroungers’ and…

30th July 2013 The labour of ‘moving things along’: Rubbish collection and the bin bag

Hav­ing recently moved from a flat to a house, I am struck by the fact that my rub­bish gets col­lected from out­side my front door, that some­one actu­ally comes to my house to pick up my rub­bish bags to dis­pose of them. Since there is no rear access to the houses along my street, we…

11th April 2013 Pious Lies

The busi­ness of earn­ing your daily bread is really sad and weari­some. Peo­ple come up with the most pious lies about work. It’s just another abom­inable form of idol­a­try, a dog lick­ing the rod that beats it: work.” (Luther Blis­sett, 2004 [2000]: Q. Arrow Books: 28). Recent sto­ries about work have got me think­ing about…

7th April 2013 When Work Intensity ‘Goes Up To Eleven’

Have you ever been attacked by some­one whose life you were try­ing to save? Have you ever been asked by the police to iden­tify human remains? Taken a phone call from some­one try­ing to save their dying child? Prob­a­bly not, but this is all part of pro­fes­sional life for many peo­ple work­ing in Britain’s National…

31st January 2013 Cleaning Notices

Two pre­vi­ous posts by Lynne Pet­tinger — Moments of Domes­tic­ity and Hand­writ­ten– got me think­ing more about my obses­sion with those notes that pop up in var­i­ous work­places that remind peo­ple to clean up after them­selves. I won­der who pro­duced them, how often they update them, and what drove them to it. How bad had…

24th January 2013 A Labour of Love

My Dad loved his job. Even when he was ter­mi­nally ill with can­cer and on sick leave he would get my mother to drive him around to see the progress of con­struc­tion sites that he felt he should have been work­ing on. He started in the build­ing trade as an appren­tice car­pen­ter and joiner in…

9th December 2012 See Me Work

I live oppo­site a class­room. I say live, I mean that my office is oppo­site a class­room and that I’m in it for hours and hours on end. I have a run­ning joke with a fel­low early-riser about which of us slept overnight in the office. It’s only a mat­ter of time… there’s already a…

22nd October 2012 Eating White Crow (living it down at Pearson Education)

Casual basics These are notes about my expe­ri­ence work­ing at Pear­son Edu­ca­tion, aka Edex­cel, as a temp and short term con­tract worker. My pre­oc­cu­pa­tion here is to explore neolib­er­al­ism in the work place by look­ing at cor­po­rate lan­guage and visual styles, and also to detail my unease with respect to work­ing for a cor­po­ra­tion that…

10th September 2012 Technologies of Getting High

Some­times the sim­plest solu­tions are the best. I had won­dered how the tree sur­geon who had come to cut down the ley­landii in my new back yard would man­age. It was straight­for­ward enough to remove the lower branches from ground level but then what? He stopped the chain saw, sat down, then strapped some­thing under…