March 6, 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? …

December 5, 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…

July 30, 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…

April 11, 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…

April 7, 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…

January 31, 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…

January 24, 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…

December 9, 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…

October 22, 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…

September 10, 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…