No Time to Lose: A Search for Work / Life Balance


Mallick: Huffington Post, AOL and the perils of free labour by notimetolose
February 11, 2011, 10:53 am
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by Heather Mallick in The Toronto Star (February 10, 2011)
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/936573–mallick-huffington-post-aol-and-the-perils-of-free-labour

Excerpt:

“Free work is like a puddle of dirty water, spreading fast and if you’re young, hard to escape unless you keep your wits about you. Unpaid interns are a byword in office life now but they have lousy lives. There’s a reason interns are asked to rub lotion onto the legs of talk-show hosts. It’s that people who work for free are treated worse than paid people. But you learn so much about the business! ”

ps – keep an eye on the NTTL link to delicious.com where I continue to post interesting relevant articles when I see them/think to post ’em 😉

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“Vijay Monany on fascinating work instead of retirement” by notimetolose
September 10, 2010, 1:08 pm
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There is nothing enlightened about this proposal and the ulterior motive is remarkably transparent.

Why on earth should people be enticed to continue generating profit for others through their labour? Indeed, wages continue to fall despite profits in a number of sectors (mainly banks). Much work is also related to continuing the ecologically destructive cycle of consumption.

People should have the chance to pursue their own range of  interests without external pressures such as bosses, sales quotas, meetings, deadlines, or overtaxing workloads due to reduced staffing. Furthemrore, people should be bal eto pursue their own interests withou being a slave to economic interest as defined by others.

Reposted from: euro|topics 09/09/2010

Le Monde – France
Vijay Monany on fascinating work instead of retirement
If the French have recently striked and demonstrated en masse against the government’s plan to raise the retirement age to 62, it’s because their working environment doesn’t offer them all it should, writes Vijay Monany from the management consulting firm Khampus in the daily Le Monde: “The reason why the French prefer retirement to work is exactly the same as why they prefer holidays to work. … They are bored by their work, and they develop their interests outside of work. The real paradox is that it’s only when they retire that people feel their life is starting, that they can take control of their destiny and read, travel, follow their interests, or spend time with their friends. … One day we’ll understand that social progress does not consist in stringing together weeks of holiday, reducing the number of working hours or lowering the retirement age. One day we will understand that true progress consists in making work so interesting that there will be no difference between it and leisure time. One day we’ll see that the solution to pension reform consists in rendering work so fascinating that no one wants to retire.” (08/09/2010)
» full article (external link, French)
More from the press review on the subject » Trade unions, » Social affairs, » Labour, » France
All available articles from » Vijay Monany



Latest links by notimetolose

Since concern about work/life balance — rather the growing lack of it! — seems to have only grown since NTTL was presented at Peacock Visual Arts in 2008, I’ve decided to continue posting links and other information here as part of an ongoing commitment to this project.

Here are a few items that have come up recently, that I’d like to add…

1) Another exhibition

Workers Leaving the Workplace exhibition curated by Joanna Sokolowska– Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz – 06.07 – 05.09.2010

The point of departure for the exhibition are contemporary changes of labour and production referred to by researches as „post-fordism” and connected with the development of the global information society and economy based on services and knowledge. This model of economy has extended the traditional borders of productivity by a complex and diverse set of social, intellectual, emotional and communicative processes, thus leading to engagement of workers` and consumers` subjectivity into cycles of production and reproduction of capital beyond fixed hierarchies and categories. Labour viewed from this perspective becomes biopolitics: management of life, creating its new forms. Productivity enters areas it used to be separated from: these of free time, entertainment, aesthetic experiences, social involvement, political action and housework. The requirements of constant efficiency, self-education and flexibility in adjusting to the constantly changing conditions also known today as self-improvement have caused us not to cease producing capital even after leaving our workplace.

The exhibition will debate three main intertwining themes: industrial labour, broadened and hybrid character of contemporary productivity, an artist‘s work and economy. The works focused on industry or its remnants will examine labour processes connected to the factory incorporated into immaterial flows of meaning, that determine in fact entire production cycles. The artists who position labour within the wide field of social and generic activities will particularly concentrate on an ambivalent, flexible and elusive dimension of work today, which often makes the worker function on the verge between self-realization and (self)exploitation. To what extent are the artistic practices – operating with and reprocessing after all images and meanings – reliant on the current transformations of capitalism? What kind of economies might be conceived by the artists, what is their potential to break away from the dominant modes of production?

In relation to the exhibition two new works are being prepared: Janek Simon’s project at Alaba International Market in Nigeria and “The History of the Bomb” by Roman Dziadkiewicz

The Workers Leaving the Workplace project further develops some questions raised by the exhibition Arbeiter verlassen die Arbeitsstätte at the Galerie für Zeitgenőssische Kunst in Leipzig in 2009.

Artists: Joseph Beuys, Rafał Bujnowski, Roman Dziadkiewicz, Miklós Erhardt, Harun Farocki, Aleksandar Batista Ilić (in collaboration with Ivana Keser and Tomislave Gotovac) Kristina Inčiūraitė, Piotr Jaros, Ali Kazma, Jean-Luc Moulène, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Peter Piller, Martha Rosler, Mika Rottenberg, Janek Simon, Škart, Mladen Stilinović, Mona Vătămanu & Florin, Tudor, Ingo Vetter, Haegue Yang, Artur Żmijewski

For more information, contact: Joanna Sokolowska — j.sokolowska@msl.org.pl — or visit http://www.msl.org.pl/


2) Creepy news that is not about being flexible but rather about justifying cuts to social security

“British should set their own retirement age”, The Times (UK) via eurotopics

The British government plans to prevent employers from retiring employees aged 65 who want to go on working. The daily The Times is delighted: “In earlier decades, when employment was dominated by manufacturing, workers were a drag on productivity as they became physically weaker. But in an economy characterised by the provision of services and the application of knowledge, older workers contribute far more. A default retirement age is neither a boon to them nor a way of improving the productivity of the workforce. On the contrary, it adds to one burden that an ageing society does impose, namely the expanding costs of pension provision. The proposal to abolish the DRA would ameliorate that problem by its symbolism. In indicating that older workers have an important contribution to the world of work, the Government may persuade many of them to stay within it. They will pay taxes as well as draw pensions.” (30/07/2010)

3) Omega Interventions: Burnout-Performance

For more info, visit: http://www.rebelart.net/diary/omega-interventions-burnout-performance/005820/

4) They don’t because they can’t…

Canadians not using their vacation time
Talbot Boggs, The Canadian Press
(Special) – Canadians aren’t getting enough – vacations that is.

“A new Harris/Decima poll has found that although Canadian workers have an average of 19.68 days a year off, almost one quarter don’t use all their vacation time and give back an average of 2.17 days.

The most common reasons Canadians give for not using their full vacation time include not scheduling their vacation well enough in advance, they are too busy to get away or their significant others are not able to get away from their jobs.”

Read more: http://finance.sympatico.ca/home/canadians_not_using_their_vacation_time_/125050dd



Everything is related… by notimetolose
July 21, 2010, 10:16 am
Filed under: news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Foxconn suicides highlight China’s sweatshop conditions
By John Chan, 3 June 2010, World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org)

Thirteen suicide attempts since January, half of them during May, inside Foxconn’s huge plant at Shenzhen, a major manufacturing hub in southern China, underscore the brutal exploitation of Chinese workers by the world’s largest corporations. Ten workers have died, most of them just 18 to 24 years old. In the latest tragedy, a young man slashed his wrists in one of the factory’s dormitory last week.

Taiwanese-owned Foxconn is the world’s biggest electronics outsourcing manufacturer, operating 20 plants and employing more than 800,000 workers in China. The Shenzhen plant in Guangdong province houses 400,000 workers, making products from iPhones and iPads to PlayStations for international brands like Apple, Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Analysts estimate that about 70 percent of Apple’s products are manufactured there.

Most of the 13 workers who tried to kill themselves jumped from buildings because they were unable to bear the stress, alienation and humiliation they experience daily. They come from a second generation of migrant workers who, unlike their rural parents, have much higher expectations of urban life. They have access to the Internet and mobile phones and constantly see the vast new wealth that they help to create, but do not own.

Like other exporting companies, Foxconn’s basic monthly wage of 950 yuan ($US140) is in line with Shenzhen’s official minimum wage. Employees must work hours of overtime each day to make about 2,000 yuan to meet basic needs. Their harsh experiences go well beyond low wages. Foxconn recruits must undergo a course of “military training” to prepare them for the company’s industrial discipline.

Foxconn’s military-style regime, which is typical of export factories in China, requires workers to live in dormitories with up to 10 people a room. A single dormitory houses 5,000 workers, and there are many dozens of them. Workers are only allowed to enter their own rooms with electronic badges and are not allowed to cook, or have visitors or sexual relations. The dorms have no air conditioning in order to pressure workers to do extra overtime during the summer, as there is air conditioning on the factory floor.

Read the full article here: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/jun2010/foxc-j03.shtml



NY Times: Of Women, Sleep Deprivation and Financial Meltdown by uebergeek
April 7, 2010, 6:44 pm
Filed under: news articles | Tags: , , ,

Howdy, Amy Alexander (Uebergeek) here… found this article I thought might be of interest. You  gotta love the title, if nothing else:

Of Women, Sleep Deprivation and Financial Meltdown

It’s a couple months old, but I just ran across it today.



In favour of a 21 hour work week by notimetolose
February 13, 2010, 6:16 pm
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As reported by BBC news…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8513783.stm

Thanks, Monika!



New delicious bookmarks added by notimetolose
September 26, 2009, 12:31 pm
Filed under: ideas, news articles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A recent flurry of great blog suggestions have arrived from Monika, Abby, and electronic news lists at large. Rather than post each separately (the ongoing plight of overwork is driving me nuts!), I am summarizing the links here. All can be found at http://delicious.com/notimetolose, as well…

“The Long Work Hours Culture”
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=405651&encCode=917617571BC14249875JTBS737226611

Julia Bryan-Wilson, Art Workers. Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era, October 2009
http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/10899.php

The Vera List Centre for Art and Politics
Panel Discussion & Art Installation: Changing Labor Value
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
http://www.veralistcenter.org/237

But, oh my… the one from Abby on Family360 sounds especailly wacky!! I think I will post it separately… asap.  :Shudder!: