Category : Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

([London] Times) Boomers go on courses to understand young staff

Baby boomer and Generation X bosses are going on courses to help them understand younger employees and get more out of them in the workplace.

Experts say that millennials and Generation Z actually speak a different language to older colleagues, causing friction in the office.

It follows a tribunal last month in which a trainee accountant was sacked after his boss claimed he was “too demanding, like his generation of millennials”.

Dr Elizabeth Michelle, a psychologist who gives workshops on how to handle millennials — a term for people born between 1981 and 1996 — and Generation Z, born from 1997-2012, said: “As a psychologist, I work with so many different things but the main thing people have been interested in is millennials and now Gen Z.

“I think boomers are desperate to be able to work more productively with them and they are very frustrated because they are so different. Managers want to understand their employees better.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Middle Age, Psychology, Science & Technology, Young Adults

(C of E) ‘It gave me back hope and ambition’– Lichfield Cathedral helps young people

More than 30 six-month work placements were made available by Lichfield Cathedral for 16 to 24-year-olds in the region. The roles available were in the Cathedral, churches, and organisations across the Diocese – providing valuable work experience for those impacted by the pandemic.

For some young people, like Gabriella, this opportunity proved to be life changing.

“In 2019, I began the year homeless” she explained.

“All the stress caused me to end up in hospital, which meant I missed my exams.

“Finding work was difficult to say the least.”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

(Economist) A half-a-trillion-dollar bet on revolutionising white-collar work

Two decades ago India’s information-technology (IT) firms were the stars of the rising country’s corporate firmament. The industry’s three giants, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro, became household names at home and familiar to chief executives of big businesses abroad, who had outsourced their companies’ countermeasures against the feared “millennium bug”, expected to wreak havoc on computers as the date changed from 1999 to 2000, to Indian software engineers. By the mid-2000s the Indian IT trio’s revenues were growing by around 40% a year, as Western CEOs realised that Indian programmers could do as good a job as domestic ones or better, at a fraction of the price. Then, following the global financial crisis of 2007-09, revenue growth slowed to single digits. For years afterwards the stars seemed to be losing some of their shine.

Now they are back in the ascendant. Having declined as a share of GDP between 2017 and 2019, exports of Indian software services ticked up again as the world’s companies turned to them for help amid the disruption to operations and IT systems wrought by the pandemic. In the last financial year they reached an all-time high of $150bn, or 5.6% of Indian GDP (see chart 1). NASSCOM, a trade body, expects the industry’s overall revenues to grow from $227bn last year to $350bn by 2026.

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Posted in Globalization, India, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(NPR) As a nurse faces prison for a deadly error, her colleagues worry: Could I be next?

Four years ago, inside the most prestigious hospital in Tennessee, nurse RaDonda Vaught withdrew a vial from an electronic medication cabinet, administered the drug to a patient and somehow overlooked signs of a terrible and deadly mistake.

The patient was supposed to get Versed, a sedative intended to calm her before being scanned in a large, MRI-like machine. But Vaught accidentally grabbed vecuronium, a powerful paralyzer, which stopped the patient’s breathing and left her brain-dead before the error was discovered.

Vaught, 38, admitted her mistake at a Tennessee Board of Nursing hearing last year, saying she became “complacent” in her job and “distracted” by a trainee while operating the computerized medication cabinet. She did not shirk responsibility for the error, but she said the blame was not hers alone.

“I know the reason this patient is no longer here is because of me,” Vaught said, starting to cry. “There won’t ever be a day that goes by that I don’t think about what I did.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues

(Economist) Why loafing can be work–Daydreaming, promenading and zoning out pay rich dividends

….time to muse is valuable in virtually every role. To take one example, customer-service representatives can be good sources of ideas on how to improve a company’s products, but they are often rated on how well they adhere to a schedule of fielding calls. Reflection is not part of the routine.

The post-pandemic rethink of work is focused on “when” and “where” questions. Firms are experimenting with four-day workweeks as a way to improve retention and avoid burnout. Asynchronous working is a way for individuals to collaborate at times that suit them. Lots of thought is going into how to make a success of hybrid work.

The “what is work” question gets much less attention. The bias towards familiar forms of activity is deeply entrenched. But if you see a colleague meandering through the park or examining the ceiling for hours, don’t assume that work isn’t being done. What looks like idleness may be the very moment when serendipity strikes.

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Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

P&O: Joint statement from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Dover

Ill-treating workers is not just business. In God’s eyes it is sin.

P&O has sacked 800 people in Dover, a town dependent on shipping. Dover is a major part of the Diocese of Canterbury which we serve as Bishops.

The extraordinary move is at the command of DP World, the Dubai based and owned parent company, which made record profits last year. The move is cynically timed for a moment when world attention is on Ukraine. Done without warning or consultation it is inhumane, treats human beings as a commodity of no basic value or dignity and is completely unethical.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Religion & Culture

A Reflection on Saint Joseph the Worker by Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare for his Feast Day

ZENIT spoke with Father Tarcisio Giuseppe Stramare of the Congregation of Oblates of Saint Joseph, director of the Josephite Movement, about Tuesday’s feast of St. Joseph the Worker….

ZENIT: What does “Gospel of work” mean?

Father Stramare: “Gospel” is the Good News that refers to Jesus, the Savior of humanity. Well, despite the fact that in general we see Jesus as someone who teaches and does miracles, he was so identified with work that in his time he was regarded as “the son of the carpenter,” namely, an artisan himself. Among many possible activities, the Wisdom of God chose for Jesus manual work, entrusted the education of his Son not to the school of the learned but to a humble artisan, namely, St. Joseph.

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Posted in Anthropology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Church Times) Pensions Board puts pressure on mining companies to adopt global safety standards

On the third anniversary of the mining disaster that killed 270 people in Brumadinho, in Brazil, the Church of England Pensions Board has stepped up the pressure on companies to adopt new global safety standards.

The disaster happened when a mine-waste facility, a tailings dam, collapsed. The new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management was developed in response by a coalition of investors led by the Pensions Board and the Council on Ethics of the Swedish AP Funds…. Now, they have published the names of the companies that have committed themselves to the new measures.

Seventy-nine mining companies — one third of those employing tailings dams — have either made a commitment to the new Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management or are still assessing their compliance. The list includes several of the largest companies, including BHP, Anglo, Glencore, Rio Tinto, and Vale.

The Brumadinho disaster of 2019 is not an isolated incident. Another 12 such collapses have been reported in the past three years. In three instances — two of which took place in Myanmar and one in Peru — workers were killed. The collapses also cause significant environmental damage.

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Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Myanmar/Burma, Pensions, Stock Market

A nifty London Times profile on Diocesan Registrar for Chester and Blackburn, Lisa Moncur

On Boxing Day Lisa Moncur received a call from a vicar asking for help to arrange a special marriage licence for someone who was terminally ill. She has also been called on to deal with a badger whose industrious digging had uncovered human remains in a churchyard.

It was all part of her varied work as the Church of England’s diocesan registrar for both Chester and Blackburn. Registrars are personally appointed by the diocesan bishop and must be a qualified solicitor and a communicant in the Church of England.

Moncur was appointed to the diocese in Chester in 2016, and in Blackburn last year, after 20 years working as a commercial property solicitor. In that previous role, Moncur says, “I got up and knew what each day would look like” — but as a diocesan registrar she never knows what to expect and “there is never a dull day”.

Her job is to provide advice and support on ordinations, consecrations, confirmations, baptisms, marriages and burials as well as general legal advice to clergy and parishes, maintaining diocesan and parochial records, and advising on parish trusts.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Local Paper front page) Staff shortages persist at South Carolina restaurants as COVID19 surges. Some owners see a path forward

Ask most local restaurateurs, and they’ll tell you that staff shortages have been hampering Charleston restaurants for the past five to 10 years.

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the problem into a crisis, and the omicron variant reminded restaurateurs how ongoing staffing struggles, coupled with positive cases, impact daily operations.

In Charleston, King Street’s Monza Pizza Bar has been closed since Nov. 6 “due to acute staffing shortages.” Smallish places like The Pass, a 647-square-foot sandwich shop, have changed operations to limit guest interactions. In Beaufort, a sign from the city’s hospitality association cautions patrons that local small businesses are extremely short staffed.

In the first week of January in the Charleston area, Chasing Sage, Jackrabbit Filly, Berkeley’s, Wild Olive, Estadio and Home Team BBQ, among others, closed for at least one day due to COVID-19 concerns or to give overworked employees extra time to decompress.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Corporations/Corporate Life, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(WSJ) American Workers Are Burned Out, and Bosses Are Struggling to Respond

In the first 10 months of this year, America’s workers handed in nearly 39 million resignations, the highest number since tracking began in 2000.

Some want better jobs. Others, a better work-life balance. Still others want a complete break from the corporate grind. Almost two years into the pandemic that left millions doing their jobs from home, many Americans are rethinking their relationship with work.

Companies are struggling to stop employees from leaving and to boost morale. Some are trying mandatory companywide vacation days and blackout hours when meetings are banned. Executives are experimenting with new ways of working, including four-day workweeks and asynchronous schedules that allow people to set their own hours.

Employers say burnout, long an issue for American workers and exacerbated by the pandemic, is a prime cause. A September survey by think tank the Conference Board found that more than three-quarters of 1,800 U.S. workers cited concerns such as stress and burnout as big challenges to well-being at work, up from 55% six months earlier. Half said workload-related pressure was harming their mental health.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Stress

(NYT) Doctors and Nurses Are ‘Living in a Constant Crisis’ as Covid Fills Hospitals and Omicron Looms

On the top floor of the hospital, in the unit that houses the sickest Covid-19 patients, 13 of the 14 beds were occupied. In the one empty room, a person had just died.

Through surge after surge, caregivers in the unit at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Mich., have helped ailing patients say goodbye to their relatives on video calls. The medical workers have cried in the dimly lit hallways. They have seen caseloads wane, only to watch beds fill up again. Mostly, they have learned to fear the worst.

“You come back to work and you ask who died,” said Bridget Klingenberg, an intensive care nurse at Covenant, where staff levels are so strained that the Defense Department recently sent reinforcements. “I don’t think people understand the toll that that takes unless you’ve actually done it.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

Dorothy Sayers on her Feast Day–Why Work?

I have already, on a previous occasion, spoken at some length on the subject of Work and Vocation. What I urged then was a thoroughgoing revolution in our whole attitude to work. I asked that it should be looked upon, not as a necessary drudgery to be undergone for the purpose of making money, but as a way of life in which the nature of man should find its proper exercise and delight and so fulfill itself to the glory of God. That it should, in fact, be thought of as a creative activity undertaken for the love of the work itself; and that man, made in God’s image, should make things, as God makes them, for the sake of doing well a thing that is well worth doing.

It may well seem to you – as it does to some of my acquaintances – that I have a sort of obsession about this business of the right attitude to work. But I do insist upon it, because it seems to me that what becomes of civilization after this war is going to depend enormously on our being able to effect this revolution in our ideas about work. Unless we do change our whole way of thought about work, I do not think we shall ever escape from the appalling squirrel cage of economic confusion in which we have been madly turning for the last three centuries or so, the cage in which we landed ourselves by acquiescing in a social system based upon Envy and Avarice.

A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste, and such a society is a house built upon sand….

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Posted in Anthropology, Church History, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(NYT) The End of a Return-to-Office Date

The executives had a good feeling about Jan. 10, 2022 — the date when DocuSign’s 7,000 employees worldwide would finally come back to work.

This deadline wouldn’t be like that earlier one in May 2020, which was always a fantasy, or August 2020, which was a bit ambitious, or October 2021, a plan derailed by the Delta variant. Fourth time’s the charm.

“Every time we delay this we’re pushing off the inevitable,” said Joan Burke, the chief people officer, in a late November interview. “At some point in time DocuSign is going to be open.”

That some point in time is no longer in January. The Omicron variant interjected. Just as companies from Ford Motor to Lyft have done in the past week, DocuSign postponed again. In place of a new date came the company’s promise to “reassess our plans as 2022 unfolds.”

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

Gallup Chairman’s blog–Bet on It: 37% of Desks Will Be Empty

I recently asked a team of our advanced analysts to establish an over/under for how many U.S. employees will not be returning to the office full time in the future.

Here are some key facts I learned from them. There are 125 million full-time jobs in America. Of those, right at 50% — or about 60 million — report that their current job can be done remotely working from home. We interviewed a representative sample of them.

The research design included organizations ranging from accounting firms where all employees can work from home (WFH) to construction companies where 10% of employees are in corporate backrooms and can also work remotely. The sample includes everyone from any kind of organization who believes they can do their work from home.

Of those 60 million potential WFH employees, a staggering 30% said they would prefer to “never” come into the office during the week. Ten percent (10%) said they prefer working all five days in the office. The middle 60% want a blend of one to four days per week. The most common preference was two to three days in the office per week.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology, Theology

(NPR) The UAE is adopting a 4.5-day workweek and a Saturday-Sunday weekend

The United Arab Emirates just announced some big changes to its work schedule.

The Gulf nation is transitioning to a 4.5-day workweek, with weekends to consist of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

That’s significant for two reasons: It likely makes the UAE the first nation to formalize a workweek shorter than five days, and it also brings the country more in line with Western schedules. Up until now, the UAE has had a Friday-Saturday weekend, which is the standard in many predominantly Muslim countries.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, UAE (United Arab Emirates), Uncategorized

(The Economist) How to manage the Great Resignation–High staff churn is here to stay. Retention strategies require a rethink

The spike in staff departures known as the Great Resignation is centred on America: a record 3% of the workforce there quit their jobs in September. But employees in other places are also footloose. Resignations explain why job-to-job moves in Britain reached a record high in the third quarter of this year.

Some of the churn is transitory. It was hard to act on pent-up job dissatisfaction while economies were in free fall, so there is a post-pandemic backlog of job switches to clear. And more quitting now is not the same as sustained job-hopping later. As Melissa Swift of Mercer, a consultancy, notes, white-collar workers in search of higher purpose will choose a new employer carefully and stay longer.

But there is also reason to believe that higher rates of churn are here to stay. The prevalence of remote working means that more roles are plausible options for more jobseekers. And the pandemic has driven home the precariousness of life at the bottom of the income ladder. Resignation rates are highest in industries, like hospitality, that are full of low-wage workers who have lots of potentially risky face-to-face contact with colleagues and customers.

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Posted in --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Workers Quit Jobs in Droves to Become Their Own Bosses

The pandemic has unleashed a historic burst in entrepreneurship and self-employment. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are striking out on their own as consultants, retailers and small-business owners.

The move helps explain the ongoing shake-up in the world of work, with more people looking for flexibility, anxious about covid exposure, upset about vaccine mandates or simply disenchanted with pre-pandemic office life. It is also aggravating labor shortages in some industries and adding pressure on companies to revamp their employment policies.

The number of unincorporated self-employed workers has risen by 500,000 since the start of the pandemic, Labor Department data show, to 9.44 million. That is the highest total since the financial-crisis year 2008, except for this summer. The total amounts to an increase of 6% in the self-employed, while the overall U.S. employment total remains nearly 3% lower than before the pandemic.

Entrepreneurs applied for federal tax-identification numbers to register 4.54 million new businesses from January through October this year, up 56% from the same period of 2019, Census Bureau data show. That was the largest number on records that date back to 2004. Two-thirds were for businesses that aren’t expected to hire employees.

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Posted in Economy, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(NYT) Contending With the Pandemic, Wealthy Nations Wage Global Battle for Migrants

As the global economy heats up and tries to put the pandemic aside, a battle for the young and able has begun. With fast-track visas and promises of permanent residency, many of the wealthy nations driving the recovery are sending a message to skilled immigrants all over the world: Help wanted. Now.

In Germany, where officials recently warned that the country needs 400,000 new immigrants a year to fill jobs in fields ranging from academia to air-conditioning, a new Immigration Act offers accelerated work visas and six months to visit and find a job.

Canada plans to give residency to 1.2 million new immigrants by 2023. Israel recently finalized a deal to bring health care workers from Nepal. And in Australia, where mines, hospitals and pubs are all short-handed after nearly two years with a closed border, the government intends to roughly double the number of immigrants it allows into the country over the next year.

The global drive to attract foreigners with skills, especially those that fall somewhere between physical labor and a physics Ph.D., aims to smooth out a bumpy emergence from the pandemic.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Foreign Relations, Immigration, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Politics in General

(NYT front page) When Some Are Back in the Office, and the Rest Are Still in PJs

For months, the putt-putt course sat unused. The beanbag chairs lay empty. The kitchen whiteboard, above where the keg used to live, displayed in fading marker “Beers on Tap” from a happy hour in March 2020.

But on a recent weekday, over in the common area was a sign of life — fresh bagels.

As employees at the financial technology start-up CommonBond got Covid vaccines, and grew stir-crazy in their apartments, they started trickling back into the office.

“We call it Work From Work Wednesday,” said Keryn Koch, who runs human resources at the company, which has 15,000 square feet of sunlit SoHo real estate.

At one point, autumn had been billed across corporate America as the Great Office Reopening. The Delta variant intervened, and mandatory return-to-office plans turned optional. Still, many people chose to report back to their desks: The share of employed people who worked remotely at some point during the month because of Covid, which had peaked in May 2020 at 35 percent, dropped in October to 11 percent, the lowest point since the pandemic began, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Psychology, Science & Technology

(Washington Post front page) Covid’s Latest Wave Crushes Nurses Morale

“We’re tired — emotionally, physically, mentally tired,” she said. “We’re all showing up, day after day. In the beginning, nurses were heroes. Today, we’re almost an afterthought.”

In interviews, nurses across the country describe plummeting morale during the latest pandemic surge, marked by utter exhaustion and growing workloads. Some thought the availability of coronavirus vaccines would alleviate the burden on hospitals. Instead, emergency rooms were swamped this summer and early fall, often filled with the young and unvaccinated. The crisis has exacerbated staffing problems that existed before the pandemic, leaving nurses shouldering increasing responsibilities as covid-19 patients fill their units. Some nurses are leaving hospital jobs for more lucrative travel nursing positions. Others are leaving the profession altogether.

[Melanie] Mead said nurses at her hospital may now care for five to seven patients at once, sometimes up to 11 on evening shifts. Before the pandemic, it was closer to three to five.

“There might be some days I’m just eyeballing, making sure they’re doing okay and medicating them and running off to another patient. Sometimes I don’t have that personal connection, and I miss that,” Mead said. “I really miss that — we just don’t have enough time in the day with the amount of patients, which is difficult.”

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Philadelphia Inquirer front page) Record number of people quit jobs as priorities shift

The number of people quitting their jobs has surged to record highs, pushed by a combination of factors that include Americans sensing ample opportunity and better pay elsewhere.

Some 4.3 million people quit jobs in August — about 2.9 percent of the workforce, according to new data released Tuesday from the Labor Department. Those numbers are up from the previous record, set in April, of about 4 million people quitting, reflecting how the pandemic has continued to jolt workers’ mind-set about their jobs and their lives.

The phenomenon is being driven in part by workers who are less willing to endure inconvenient hours and poor compensation, who are quitting instead to find better opportunities. According to the report, there were 10.4 million job openings in the country at the end of August — down slightly from July’s record high, which was adjusted up to 11.1 million, but still a tremendously high number. This gives workers enormous leverage as they look for a better fit.

The implications of this shift could be long-lasting.

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Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(IFS) Aaron Renn–Is the Pandemic Changing the Nature of Home Life for Many for the better?

Most white-collar workers in America were forced to work at home during the pandemic. Many of them discovered they liked it and want to keep doing it. Many companies, especially in the tech industry, have responded with policies allowing work from home permanently. This includes firms like Twitter and Spotify. Nationwide Insurance is closing several offices and allowing companies in those locations to work remotely. Others like Ford are embracing a hybrid model with a mix of in office and remote work. Pre-pandemic, the share of people working from home was already rising, going from 3.3% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2019. Even if only a small share of workers stays fully remote, this will be millions of additional workers. While work from home is not the same as a home-based business, it still represents a radical reorientation of the location where work is performed. It’s as if the textile business reverted from factory-centered back to the putting-out system.

Add it together, and this is a radical shift for many families. They are now working from home, caring for children at home, schooling their children at home, doing their own yard work, cooking at home, and improving their home themselves.

This may not be a reversion to pre-industrial homesteading, but it does represent a significant re-functionalization of the home within a post-industrial context for millions of families. Whether this will persist for the long term is yet to be seen, but with inflation and shortages continuing to squeeze the economy, the Do-It-Yourself family will likely be with us for at least a while longer. By choice or under duress, some Americans are going to have to start saying goodbye to their servants.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

(CLJ) Joshua Hren–The Uneven Race Between Work and Marriage

Although the unalloyed logo (a “childlike cartoon face of indeterminate ethnicity”) possesses a facial affect that almost forces the onlooker to smile with satisfaction, when Schmidt mingles it with his own face he sours. Wallace’s image does not sugar the icon’s awful truth. Men who yearn for marriage but are consumed by the competing demands of work are innately dissatisfied: cut off from the daily demands, the “domestic discipline,” the saving need to sacrifice for family, their identification with work becomes overwhelming. The atomized “self” is an extraordinarily powerful invention, and it frees us from inherited obligations and forms, institutions and norms. But there is always a catch. The self, if sometimes experienced as expansive and massive, is intrinsically small.

“What is love?” asks Nietzsche’s Last Man: “What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small . . . One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth.” Notice the dynamic at play: the last man, who makes everything small, blinks at the biggest things, but his pusillanimous state does not leave him unsettled. Schmidt, on the contrary, recognizes and balks at his own smallness—he has eyes for the sacred and yearns to be transcended but does not know how; gazing at the distant dots of the cosmos and even using them as guides, he instantiates one of the riddling problems of our age: marriage remains a lodestar for many, but exemplary (if flawed) marriages—which mix sacramental mysteries with utter practicalities—are declining with terrible speed, a phenomenon exacerbated by an excessive identification of self and work.

David Foster Wallace’s story smokes our minds with the mushrooming loneliness of his atomic protagonist. Schmidt’s “self” has lost and has been remade in the image of his abstracted and sophistic workplace. Chesterton was fundamentally worried that capitalism’s logic would wear away at the deep roots of the family. In “Mister Squishy,” we watch not the atoms being smashed, but the progeny of this fission, circling his job in an earthbound orbit, unable to bond, bouncing off the walls of his condo. A conscientious employee, exemplary even. A smashed man, sickly squishy, hard to digest.

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Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family

(Washington Post) Back in the classroom, teachers are finding pandemic tech has changed their jobs forever

MaryRita Watson says her job as a fourth- and fifth-grade reading specialist is 110% more stressful these days.

As the delta variant continues to spread across the United States and leads to more coronavirus exposure among students, Watson says she has been forced to embrace the hybrid model of teaching, where she simultaneously has to educate students both in-person and virtually.

“It’s difficult. I feel like the students who are at home aren’t getting the best of me, and then at times, the students at school aren’t getting best of me,” says Watson, who teaches at Oakbrook Elementary School in Summerville, S.C. She has switched between in-person and virtual classes over the last year and half due to the pandemic.

Watson is among millions of teachers across the nation who are in their second year of teaching either in-person, online or both – depending on the state, city and district they live in. Like many other professions, teachers’ jobs have become increasingly complex due to the pandemic. This year, many students are back in the classroom, but teachers have to constantly adapt if there is virus exposure. There aren’t specific guidelines on how best to teach students using the many technologies that are available. Teachers are also struggling to keep students engaged while learning new tech tools that are required to make online classes successful.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(Washington Post) Workers are putting on pants to return to the office only to be on Zoom all day

Nick Kneer was excited to go back to the office. After working from home for about a year and a half, Kneer had missed the camaraderie he had with his co-workers at the Ohio-based university library system where he works as a communications coordinator. He was counting down until he could mingle with students and staff again.

But his excitement quickly faded after the reality of in-person work turned out to be far from what he expected.

Instead, to avoid contracting the delta variant, he ended up locked in a “windowless, cinder block room” — his temporary office — attending most of his meetings via Zoom.

“It was definitely a bummer,” he said….

“There’s this weird tension,” said Brian Kropp, chief of HR research for research firm Gartner. “We want everyone back in the office, but we still want everyone to do work by video.

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Posted in Corporations/Corporate Life, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Science & Technology

(WSJ) Burned Out and Restless From the Pandemic, Women Redefine Their Career Ambitions

Working more than a year under pandemic conditions threw into sharp relief what Vicki Klaker wanted from her career—and wasn’t getting.

At first, the marketing specialist and mother of five plowed through the long days of working from her home near Wichita, Kan., while overseeing her children’s online learning.

Soon, though, “remote work was a double-edged sword,” the 38-year-old says.

Being more available to her family was gratifying and made her wonder whether another line of work would let her spend more time with them. In her corporate job at a fast-growing restaurant chain, working from home meant monitoring emails often into the evening, leaving her both depleted and unfulfilled.

“I realized, ‘I’m not being fulfilled because I’m not helping people, and I don’t want to waste any more time,’ ” says Mrs. Klaker, who had always dreamed of becoming a teacher. This spring, she applied for a position at an area school district and, to her surprise, got it. As of last month, she teaches high-school students how to code and build websites, and isn’t looking back. “My definition of success has changed,” she says.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Women

(NYT) Home Health Care–Long Hours, Low Pay, Loneliness and a Booming Industry

For 15 years, Yvette Dessin spent long work days with her elderly patients, accompanying them on walks, cooking them meals and bathing those who needed that most intimate kind of care. If a patient died, Ms. Dessin and her adult daughter attended the funeral services to pay their respects.

Ms. Dessin worked up to 60 hours a week as a home health aide, her daughter said, making minimum wage. She often worried about being able to pay the mortgage on her Queens home. She was one of roughly 2.4 million home care workers in the United States — most of them low-income women of color and many of them immigrants — who assist elderly or disabled patients in private residences or group homes.

The industry is in the midst of enormous growth. By 2030, 21 percent of the American population will be at the retirement age, up from 15 percent in 2014, and older adults have long been moving away from institutionalized care. In a 2018 AARP survey, 76 percent of those ages 50 and older said they preferred to remain in their current residence as they age. In 2019, national spending on home health care reached a high of $113.5 billion, a 40 percent increase from 2013, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The ranks of home care aides are expected to grow by more than those of any other job in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s also among the lowest paying occupations on the list.

Read it all from the front page of the business section of yesterday’s NYT.

Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(Local Paper Yesterday’s front page) Inside DHEC, where workers fight anxiety, frustration, fatigue amid crush of pandemic

Microbiologist John Bonaparte can count on one hand the days he has taken off from work since South Carolina recorded its first cases of the coronavirus in March 2020.

One of his co-workers in the state’s public health laboratory, Kendra Rembold, has missed three seasons of her children’s soccer games while pulling 12-hour shifts to keep up with the state’s unprecedented demand for COVID-19 testing.

And one of their supervisors in the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s cramped lab in Columbia, Christy Greenwood, decided she couldn’t adequately juggle the demands of the pandemic and her responsibilities as a single parent. So she took her 5- and 7-year-old children to stay at their grandmother’s house until things calmed down at work.

More than 550 days since the coronavirus took hold in South Carolina, that respite still hasn’t come for the hundreds of public health workers who toil in the background of the state’s response.

Instead, they say, COVID-19 has proven to be an unending nightmare, serving up 12- and 15-hour shifts, seven-day workweeks and a buffet of anxiety, frustration and fatigue.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

(NWE Mail) Barrow MP supports Church of England project for carers

The Diocese of Carlisle is partnering with a Christian charity to provide free retreats for people who were frontline carers during the Covid pandemic.

Barrow and Furness MP, Simon Fell has put his support behind the scheme and is asking the public to get behind the Crowdfunder that is hoping to raise £20,000.

This project is hoped to achieve some much-needed respite for carers.

Mr Fell said “This is a fantastic project which will help some of the people who have had a harder job than others over the past year.

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Posted in Church of England, Health & Medicine, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market