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I'd certainly prefer working my 75 hour week in a warm office next to good amenities, to being down a pit or sewing in a factory for 60 hours a week.
I don't think the days of swanning into work at 9, taking a full hour for lunch and leaving at 5, leaving all your troubles behind you for the day, was ever a reality other than perhaps in certain echelons of the public sector.
the only change I can think about now is increased competition in the marketplace (moer grads, for same amount/less jobs), meaning that you're up against people who will do more and more to be competitive, which means if you do the bare minimum and treat your job as just a means to paying your rent, you're not going ot excel compared to the work addict.
The worst thing about generation Y is that we/they love to go on about how hard done by we/ they are (I kind of cusp X and Y, so I'm being careful with ternminology.)
What we DO have to be annoyed about (much more so than perceiveed job injustices) is the fact that unlike aour parents, we will not be able to just skip onto the property ladder, nor will be benefit fomr property inflatopin like X did (obviously a bad thinglong term, but nonetheless funded the lifestyles of vast swathyes of the population for two decades, as they could pay interest only mortgages and just keep refinanincing/ selling up on the back of inflation.) Not that I think we should return to those days of course, but I do sometimes feel a bit envious to have missed that boat.
My dad's first job was 50 hours a week manual labour which he supplemented with about 10-15 hours of taxi driving.
People in professions still worked extremely long hours (in some ways, technology has freed them form the painstakingly long tasks they used ot have to do (accounting ledgers, typing up on typewriter or handwriting legal documents) although arguably techology has only meant that we are expected to produce more volume, faster, and has encouraged longer more verbose documents or ways of working.
I find the evoluton of professoins a bit more interesting than this really. And anybody whose argument is partially hinged around 'you can't even get pissed up while you're pretending to be on a sickie cos facebook will grass you up' is not somebody whose opinion I'd give much weight to.
and so probably missed your point a bit
Infinitely prefer your response to brusma's.
if you start comparing most facets of life now to life in the 1800s, the only natural conclusion is "shut up and stop complaining". perhaps a more helpful comparison is life now vs how life could be
and re the public sector thing, ignoring the slightly ad hom "swanning in", i've always found public sector to be accommodating to a 35 or 37 or 40 hour week. yeah, there have been occasions in previous roles where it's gone over a bit from time to time, and yeah, the higher up the ladder the more likely you will be working beyond contracted hours, but the key is you're working for a contract. i work a 36 hour week, get a lot done, am efficient, meet my deadlines, perform work to a high standard. if i was working 60-hour weeks doing the projects i do for, i dunno, Capita, would the quality and quantity of work be as high? well, the quantity might. the quality sure as fuck wouldn't because i'd be brain fried, because i'm a human being.
the attitude that comes from profit-at-all-or-if-not-all-close-to-all-costs, combined with the prevailing job market conditions cause this. it also causes things like this: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/aug/21/bank-intern-death-working-hours. and heck, maybe i've been lucky in my public sector jobs. but those that i have, working 35-40 hour weeks, working hard and getting stuff done but not grinding myself into the ground, well, they seem a good way for the world to work
I hear what your sa\ying, but I think that there are very very few people who have genuinely satisfyoing jobs/ careers amnd who don't have to sacrifice abut of themselves to the job, and a bit of what is- on paper at least- their personal time. You are very lucky to have found that in your experience. Geez a job!
purely because i've had a decent setup in a variety of public sector organisations: central gov, local gov, quangos, non-departmental public bodies, even NHS back office. i do wonder if that good work-life balance exists a bit more widely than people are willing to admit it does
I know I do.
of doing extra hours and working the same patterns of out of hours stuff as their superiors do out of fear/expectancy as opposed to efficiency.
Obviously some jobs demand out of hours working and are built around it. But I do despair about the `facetime inefficiencies` I see caused by people working longer hours for the sake of it. I accept it isn't always in everyone's control but... for the most part, it is.
He had to stay in the office another hour just to save face, he basically sat on Twitter for an hour.
It's a different question for different people, sure, but we all choose the extent to what work we might find satisfying to whatever extent that might be...
Which is what makes these kind of sweeping generalisation articles a bit baffling.
Killed my own funny there.
Asking for a friend.
What yarstick would you use then? Because I think the utopian times the writer was thinking of are perhaps in his head. Also, give a FCUk about what somebody thinks who says 'oh no, we can't get drunk and pull sickies because facebook will tell on us.' Moron.
have you not seen mad men?
Do you know what, I haven't, ever! Need to change that as I've seen stuf fin managzies about it and it looks good. You look a bit like the red headed one.
who also largely forget they're going to inherit the money/wealth from the baby boomers/their parents without having to do anything/have lived through the various adversities that they did.
And the 1970s were pretty rough.
Most `self-made` baby boomers, I'd wager anyway based on conversations with people's parents, grew up in impoverished inner cities (London, mainly) often sharing rooms with 2 or more siblings. Both of my parents did, for instance.
hardly the third world though, is it?
Baby boomers get on my wick, because the generation before them SERIOUSLY had it rough. You know, Great Depression, world war, that kind of thing. Whereas the baby boomers benefited from the Welfare State, peace and prosperity from the 50s onwards, increasing social liberalisation, cheap housing. And then they fucked it up for everyone else with Thatcherism, war, wasting the biggest majority Labour is ever likely to have, etc etc. Fuck them.
^ someone pad that out to 2,000 words and submit it to Comment is Free
about growing up it all goes a bit 4 Yorkshiremen. Talk to your grandparents rather than your parents though, they'll almost certainly of had it tougher.
Just disputing the assertion that the Boomers have coasted through life with everything handed to them on a plate.
Which is the point I am making in accordance with PO's point.
(not that owning property is necessarily a good thing- it's just what we've become accustomed to from the X-gen.)
I do think we have a pretty easy time but we like to look back and feel hard done to. I KNOW I DO.
but it's possible to legislate in a way which makes renting a much safer, long-term and `socially-acceptable` form of accomodation. Successive governments have chosen not to do this, for reasons which are, at best, short-sighted and, at worst, downright monstrous.
It's not the Boomers' fault per se that the housing stock they bought wasn't adequately replaced.
if you're going to gripe, gripe about the housing situ. Work seems like a bit of a doddle. (I am PURE TROLLING now btw as I will be seeking a less intense job in the next year or two before I become a basket case. But as the article - rightly- points out, I signed up to that with my eyes open, so no pity.)
My generation (and yours!) are going to be working very long hours, for much more of our life, with the prospect of little or no pension and a privatised health service at the end of it.
...but still a whole couple of grades lower than the suburban, conservatoried, toiletted and gardened semi-detached houses that most of us lot grew up in. Gen Y'ers have `benefitted` from everything that you state because it allowed us to grow up in prosperity and comfort and not in the shadow of war. We're the first generation to have had that.
Whilst there is an inherent selfishness amongst baby boomers (which is to blame FOR the success of Thatcherism and neo-Liberalism and not the other way round as often stated), when asked most of them state sentiments akin to `they wanted to build a better future for their children`. Can't argue with that. Most urban Gen Y'ers seem to have an attitude of `Kids? I can barely look after myself LOL` or `I don't want kids because I don't want to give up my holidays and freedom!!!!111!!!`. Strange that their parent's generation is so chastised, given this...
but the baby boomers' lives were pretty comprehensively an improvement on the generation before, whereas with our generation it's up and down. Yes, it's probably better now for a lot of groups (coloureds, poufs, birds etc) then it was, and yes you're less likely to be living below or near the bread line, but no you can't afford a house, no you won't be able to retire until you're much older, no you won't be able to rely on the dole if you lose your job, no you won't necessarily be able to afford to send your kids to university, and so on and so forth.
Swings and roundabouts, but the previous trend of improvement generation upon generation has been bucked. Not totally, but significantly.
But our generation is going to inherit property and wealth on a scale never before seen, which is something worth considering in a holistic analysis of how supposedly awful things are now compared to the rosey days of our parents. The truth is both analyses are quite wide of the mark in the majority of instances.
because a) inheritance tax and b) siblings. But yeah, there is a windfall coming, just dunno when it's going to come.
If your parents are still together and own a property the threshold will be their individual thresholds combined (i.e. £650,000 in the majority of instances).
£649,999 divided by 4 siblings is still a chunky windfall (if your estate is worth that much).
but you are quite possibly ggoing to be in your mid 50s when it comes
the properties that form those estates are increasingly being bought up by landlords, removing stock from the market and reducing the ability of people to buy their own homes in the future.
Although there is always room for people to have a conscience about who they sell their houses to. You don't have to sell to a landlord if you don't want to. I appreciate this works better in practice than in reality but private landlords only hoover up as much property as people let them...
when my mum dies at 93, and I'll be 67. Really going to go nuts for those last few years (if I'm still here). Might start a family then.
Or fund my cancer treatment.
Take that songs_about_ducking! I'm working class 4 life!
...maybe `impoverished` is the wrong word but it's certainly a hallmark of some kind of lower income family (however you wish to define it).
I was made to share a room with my brother. Packed all my stuff in a bag and walked to my grandmas and moved in. We all have a choice.
take a full hour at lunch and leave at 5 on the dot - loads of people in my work do (private sector/financial).
It depends on the sector, I think.
Plus, I'm never going to be anything more than middle manager level and will have a salary/lifestyle commensurate with that. If you want mo' money and mo' stuff then, well, you trade it for time...
I also carve out a career largely as a means to an end. I don't seek gratification from my job so don't feel the need to plough more hours of my life into it than necessary.
and leave at 5:30 on the dot or before, like i will today.
"I don't think the days of swanning into work at 9, taking a full hour for lunch and leaving at 5, leaving all your troubles behind you for the day, was ever a reality other than perhaps in certain echelons of the public sector."
It wasn't just the public sector at all. Just about all sectors, and all forms of industry outside of farming and the emergency services did keep those kind of hours throughout the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. If anything, there was a culture of overtime.
`However, nowadays the lines seem to be blurring. The recession has stolen our contractual hour-long lunch breaks, Facebook photos and drunk tweets have exposed our "emergency dentist's visits" as the hangovers they really are and smartphones have turned every holiday into a working one. Work is staging a coup of our private lives`
Much like everything regarding work/life balance (with the exception of those not earning living wages etc.) these are mostly matters of personal choice.
It's very rare that I even think about work when I'm outside the office.
any time I do I just go 'why am I thinking about this' then carry on
Fuck work, man
but nobody wants the sting.
It was shit but it did end up reminding me of the old 'is this news?' DiSism.
As if now, RIGHT FUCKING NOW THIS SECOND, work is suddenly this oppressive presence in everyone's lives because er...um, shorter lunch breaks? Errrrr.
If it was a proper survey of working conditions throughout the last century then maybe it would be interesting, but it's just poorly researched duh-brain bollocks and a waste of everyone's fucking time.
your suggestion that "a proper survey of working conditions throughout the last century" is a bit silly. what would that look like exactly? there's about 100 different research designs i can think of for that general topic. for what he's interested in and the angle he's taken, i think it's fine not to use empirical research. cause he's not a social scientist. certainly talking about *this historical moment* as we live through it is a really useful thing for journalists to do.
blah blah blah the article is fine.
I love what i do, and look forward to going into work. I don't let it take over my life but by the same hand i rarely stop thinking about it in some form or another.
In saying that maybe for me it's different to other folk as i work for the family business.
Currently recruiting in some areas as a matter of fact!
(as you know from our boozing expeditions.)
but I thought the bit about ambition was interesting. I don't want my boss' job, I don't think my friend's want their boss' jobs either. Do you want your boss' job?
But I don't think that has anything to do with ambition. It has to do with thinking rationally.
If I have to stay late, I make sure I get overtime otherwise I don't agree to do it. I didn't realise this wasn't the norm.
i've worked loads of jobs where you're with a customer at 5pm and have to stay still 5.20pm. or finish polishing cutlery or some shite.
even when i worked in an office lots of people did about 50 hours a week. some weeks i worked 80 hours getting paid for 37.5. I didn't have the option not to cause everyone was doing it and it was made clear that certain things had to be done that week. Then if I had taken all of my TOIL to make up for it, I'd have fallen so far behind with work that it'd just mean even more anxiety and job hating. in the end, I got ill (and because of bullying) and went off sick for the rest of my contract.
if you're on a contract, and you're actually unquestionably working all your hours that you're at the desk, surely you can just tell whoever's giving you the work that there's too much work and they just need to scale back or get more staff?
what can they actually do if you just try your hardest within your contracted hours? time off is time off - you need to make preparations for the work to be done when you're not in the office, and this can be a lot of work, but you don't have to do the work, cos, like, it's time off
The private sector scares the shit out of me.
'Would you ever be willing to stay behind a little if we were on a tight deadline and really needed to get something done?' - you'd just say, 'Nah mate, I leave when my contract says I leave, cheers' ? Fair play if you do, everyone should, but I know I don't manage it.
So long as I was getting overtime for it. People shouldn't be staying later for nothing.
or any job I've ever worked at.
I am looking for new roles :)
I think my own contracts, when working in newspapers, laid out regular hours but then added 'You will from time to time be expected to work outside these circumstances require' so I was bang to rights.
Some do take the piss somewhat with it. I don't mind doing a few hours extra here and there, or supporting an out-of-hours deployment, but if it's happening on a regular basis I expect my time back. Fortunately for me, my boss has been pretty good about that - I'm sure others aren't so lucky.
but if that's happening every day/week then they need to get more staff or pay people more.
The unspoken expectation that people should work many hours over their contract as par for the course is rubbish and explotative.
Everyone works their contracted hours
One person is either too involved in their work, incapable of doing their job properly or keen to impress management
They stay late every day
Management obviously doesn't stop them
This person gets a promotion
Other people think they might get promotions if they stay late
People start thinking they might be sacked if they don't
Everyone thinks they have to stay late
It's bullshit. In 99% of jobs you can work your hours, get all your work done and go home and do things you like doing. If you're in one of the 1% you probably need to find a new job.
but my girlfriend is the complete opposite - in before me in the morning, being treated like shit all day by psychopathic bosses, being guilted into working at least an hour past home time almost every day. it's just fucking horrible, but it's *probably* pretty good for her cv.
but in my experience girls are much worse for missing lunchbreaks/staying late/worrying about work than #LADS. And we get paid more lol.
eg PR. women in my office certainly don't work longer hours than the men
It's not manic working all hours desperation, but if everyone else in your office is staying an hour after your supposed hometime, then being the one to look at the clock and say 'I'm off', can peg you out as someone who's seen as not being a team player, or nor caring enough, or whatever. Presenteeism, they call it.
there are (idiots) at my work who are in the office all the fucking time, and like to send emails (copying in as many people as possible, obviously) in the middle of the night and at weekends.
But there are plenty of normal people who get their work done in good time and go home at 5pm.
are worse than scum
'Oh look, you've emailed me at 11.45 on Saturday night instead of just asking me on Monday morning, which is when I'll see your email anyway. Good for you!'
is leave without saying goodbye
so maybe it'll get harder when he does that.
but I think a large part of it comes down to the individual and indeed how you personally see your job, whether that's as a means of providing funding for other activities/living or a vital part of your career plan.
As my last job involved providing support and the deadlines were often pretty tight I'd rather work a few hours after work and leave everyone happy than have upset clients/account managers hassling me the next day.
there's a point in there somewhere but it's not a particularly new one.
I blame being able to access emails from home. Natch.
"But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing."
Sounds good though, I'll admit.
i.e. they trundle through their peak years in unspectacular office jobs, doing work they're capable of but that leaves them ultimately unsatisfied, for the return of the ability to pay rent / a mortgage and to 'treat' themselves to a night out or a new material object once in a while.
Along similar, but slightly different lines (not necessarily pertaining to the subject of this little sub-thread) is this fantastic recent interview with Merlin Mann: http://thegreatdiscontent.com/merlin-mann
"I feel fortunate that, (A) I didn’t die, and (B) I didn’t get painted into a corner where I had to become a doctor or a lawyer. I never would have had the chance to stumble into something interesting. There are a lot of people who know what they want to do at a young age, but they end up kind of hating it and becoming stuck because they’re successful at it.
I wish I could be more helpful and say, “You should find your dream path and paint a rainbow to your love cloud!” But, most of us are so stuck in this notion of how stuff should go that we want to find one of seven stories that matches our narrative. The fact is that most of us are wandering around, scared shitless, wondering what the fuck’s going to happen next. That’s as true when you’re 11 as it is when you’re in your 40s. It’s one reason that people feel very discouraged or disinclined to try new things—they feel like it’s not for them."
But the above quotes are suggesting there's some kind of cod-conspirital capitalist logic in which all of the elements are actively and deliberately working together to keep people enslaved.
It's sixth form stuff.
I do, however, think that the vast majority of people enter into this situation blindly because it's seen as 'the thing people do', and mainstream media is happy to reinforce this. There are very few full time jobs where they'll go "we don't care how long you're in the office each day, just get the work we pay you for done". As most other people in this thread point out, in a lot of places there's a culture of one-upmanship as to who can impress the bosses and clock up the most hours in the office each week (in the private sector, at least).
Get a comfortable if somewhat boring job with an annual salary comparable to that of your friends, then spend your free time getting inebriated and/or watching TV. Save enough money for a week or two away each year, as this is your reward for being quietly miserable the rest of the time (though nowadays I'd imagine the majority of middle managers have to be within typing distance of their work email account on their phone even when they're 'on holiday').
too busy at work!!!!!!!!!!
and they've not replaced them yet. Therefore, more work on us lot, more hours, a ton of stress and people wanting to leave. And no more money or paid over time or anything.
We've applied so much pressure to people about getting more staff or setting expectations but its done squat all. There isn't enough time to do the work we get daily so we end up having to stay late with no over time given to us. If we complain about this, we'll usually get a 'well no one asked you to stay late' so now we don't. We decided to take an hour lunch and leave at the time we are supposed to as you don't get thought of any better for putting in the effort and doing a double job.
Its going to be like this well into 2014 and i think more people will leave our team...which will just mean even more work for us. BUT THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO. When you work in such a big company, you just get forgotten about and fobbed off.
she thought it was the morning thread.
That IS the case but they don't care about that. They're getting the same work for £25k less expense.
BUT you don't care cause I'm a woman and therefore expected to do this extra work and get paid less in the process.
I don't care because...I don't care.
these days, that the line between work and leisure time is becoming blurred, that the rewards (security of a nice home, security of a long-term job, security of a pension after retirement) are getting less and less likely, and that the likelihood of bettering yourself through work is getting smaller and smaller.
It wasn't always the case. Throughout the post-war era it improved dramatically, but the past thirty or so years have seen a dramatic roll back of a lot of the advances made.
In amongst an article stuffed with truisms (which is surprising considering it's written by just about the best young writer out there at the moment), I do think that there is the kernel of an interesting point at the end there: the idea that this hyper-corporatist world, where large firms make huge profits and yet depend on the state to top up the workers' wages so that they can afford to buy the goods that keep these companies afloat, ambition and competitive desire might be on the decline.
In a neo-liberal world in which the rich have the deck stacked in their favour and are allowed to get richer and richer, while the rest see a decline in their living standards, the ability to improve your lot will quite possibly shrink to the point where ambition is subsumed by hopelessness.
The slow death of neo-liberalism might warrant a celebration.
dark days indeed
I work in a job where we have an emergency response role though, so from time to time I get called in the middle of the night to go and attend an incident, which I don't get paid overtime for, but it is part of my job and I expect to do it. (I used to get paid overtime, but now I'm at a high enough grade that it's expected. I get time off in lieu though.)
I can't imagine working long days as standard, my attention span isn't up to it. I'd be at work longer, but I'd be much less productive.
called Zombie which is all about a generation of kids too scared and depressed by the world to face it, and taking another option:
It's funny, but dark.
The proof is clearly in the pudding.
but I would like to cunt off baby boomers. Is this article in *any* way related to them? I'll take even a tenuous link to whip out the old cat o' nine tails on them again
Just spilled ketchup on the back of my leg without realising and then it started burning. Killing me
I'm trying to read that but Vice did their obligatory mention of the fact that they take drugs within two sentences so fuck them.
As well as the always excellent and informative discussions about house prices and not liking Vice, this thread has reminded me of the really shit annoying ending to Office Space where the Morrissey out of Band of Brothers gets a job as a builder and finds inner peace. As a fucking builder! Fuck off.
I hate working
Meaningful self-sufficient work seems fulfilling and all, but it's fucking knackering and trade and all the associated benefits goes out the window.
Meaningless work means you can get nice, interesting things but it's you know ... Fucking meaningless.
wjho says that optimum work performance is achieved when you let people satte their own hours etc, so long as they have some guidancew/ targets.
It sounds utopian, but I imagine it would only work in certain types of job or industry.
Valve games have a non-hierarchical, bottom-up corporate structure.
Always either been paid by the hour, or been lucky enough to work in companies where the predominant corporate culture wasn't based on working gargantuan amounts of hours. Right now I work for a financial services company who are listed as one of the top 100 UK employers, and even amongst management up to a few levels above me no one's really working any more than 45/50 hours a week. I go in at 8.30am, work bloody hard, have an hour for lunch, put in another shift and go home at 5.30pm. I get paid reasonably well for a job that involves something I like doing (analytical/problem solving stuff to do with trading and a wee bit of customer service stuff with independent broking firms), get a few perks and have a laugh. Maybe I'm one of the lucky ones.
That said I know it ain't gonna be my future and to do what I really want will take some saving up (can save enough up by the time I'm 30 to do this) and a helluva lot more hard work.