Carl Cederström and Peter Fleming, Dead Man Working
I stumbled across this quote in Paul Myerscough’s Short Cuts from the London Review of Books (3 January 2013) which is a solid indictment of the new abnormal in retail chains. He writes of Pret-a-Manger working conditions:
Pret workers aren’t supposed to be unhappy. They are recruited precisely for their ‘personality’, in the sense that a talent show host might use the word. Job candidates must show that they have a natural flair for the ‘Pret Behaviours’ (these are listed on the website too). Among the 17 things they ‘Don’t Want to See’ is that someone is ‘moody or bad-tempered’, ‘annoys people’, ‘overcomplicates ideas’ or ‘is just here for the money’. The sorts of thing they ‘Do Want to See’ are that you can ‘work at pace’, ‘create a sense of fun’ and are ‘genuinely friendly’. The ‘Pret Perfect’ worker, a fully evolved species, ‘never gives up’, ‘goes out of their way to be helpful’ and ‘has presence’. After a day’s trial, your fellow workers vote on how well you fit the profile; if your performance lacks sparkle, you’re sent home with a few quid.
This winnowing process is designed to select for workers who will feed the ‘Pret Buzz’. ‘The first thing I look at is whether the staff are touching each other,’ Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret since 2003, told theTelegraphin March last year. ‘Are they smiling, reacting to each other, happy, engaged? … I can almost predict sales on body language alone.’ What Pret has understood, and its competitors haven’t (or not yet), is how much money there is to be made from what radical left theorists have been referring to since the 1970s as ‘affective labour’. Work increasingly isn’t, or isn’t only, a matter of producing things, but of supplying your energies, physical and emotional, in the service of others. It isn’t what you make, but how your display of feeling makes others feel. This won’t be news to mothers, nurses and prostitutes, but the massive swelling of the service economy means that emotional availability can no longer be dismissed as women’s work; it must be seen as a dominant commodity form under late capitalism.
The tyranny of hiring to the ‘fit’ of the organizational culture carried to the extreme, where our emotional inclinations and body language is as much of a job requirement as numeracy and communication skills. This, then, is one of the reasons that Marissa Mayer wants all the troops in the building: so that they can be observed for the right sorts of emotionality, and so emotion orientation can be weighed as an asset, transformed to commodity, and paid for.
you give me a boner.
not a penis boner.
but a boner in my heart.
a heart on.
an affection erection
Sometimes, crass physicality is the best.
Kathleen Edwards is my hero, and her live rendition of Goodnight California kills me — every. damn. time.
cultural appropriation is putting fireflies in a jar
and letting them light up your bedroom
as you drift off to sleep.
and when you wake up all the lights have flickered out
but only when you’re older do you realize
you slowly suffocated them so
that you could enjoy their glow.
I painted this for my buddy for his birthday. I like making birthday art for friends on their special days.
Everything’s coming up Milhouse! The painting for all your quotation needs. Thanks for sharing, Jon.
Lise makes fun of me for loving RENT so much, but I can’t help but look at this (via) and starting to sing out loud.
Oh, this brings me back…I sang Seasons of Love very, very badly at a Karaoke Kiosk event I volunteered at, at Robson Square in downtown Vancouver last year.
The only way to overcome the memory of how badly I mangled the song, is to mash it up with the spirit of Marian Call’s “Love and Harmony” — the best ever ode to passionate, public musical humiliation:
That’s why there’s karaoke… measure in love.
The movement did embody a paradox: its followers sought to destroy the despised present in order to recapture an idealized past in an imaginary future. They were disinherited conservatives, who had nothing to conserve, because the spiritual values of the past had largely been buried and the material remnants of conservative power did not interest them. They sought a breakthrough to the past, and they longed for a new community in which old ideas and institutions would once again command universal allegiance. (7) The conservative revolutionaries denounced every aspect of the capitalistic society and its putative materialism. They railed against the spiritual emptiness of life in an urban, commercial civilization, and lamented the decline of intellect and virtue in a mass society. They attacked the press as corrupt, the political parties as the agents of national dissension, and the new rulers as ineffectual mediocrities. The bleaker their picture of the present, the more attractive seemed the past, and they indulged in nostalgic recollections of the uncorrupted life of earlier rural communities, when men were peasants and kings true rulers. (9-10)
— From Fritz Stern’s “The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology” (1961), as quoted in Understanding Society: The Politics of Cultural Despair. (Emphasis mine.)
Stumbled upon this after googling “Politics of Despair” after reading tweets that made my blood boil. (The Internet is great.)
Failure isn’t a monster that’s singled you out for special persecution.
It’s the human condition.
Alain de Botton (@alaindebotton )
2013-10-24 9:48 AM»