Sunday, December 12, 2004

Questions, No-Collar

  1. I'm having trouble formulating this question coherently, but here goes: It seems to me that one of the holdovers from the Industrial Age is the notion that "the job" is one-size-fits-all for both business and the individual laborer. A lot of our readings this semester challenge that assumption from both directions; businesses can't afford or don't want to provide "jobs" to everyone whose labor they need (Temps, Granny, the unionism articles), and people don't always want the "jobs" that business can provide (Creative Class).

    The no-collar workplaces, for all their apparent job-structure and atmosphere innovations, strike me as falling into exactly the same trap; their world was just as narrowly-conceived and ill-tailored, just in completely different ways.

    So how do we conceive of a humanized workplace that acknowledges that different businesses and different people have different labor needs, without falling into exploitative labor relationships?

  2. Do we know what happened to the ex-dot-commers generally? Ross tries to provide an answer for his limited sample of people, but I'd be interested to hear a wider survey of what these people are doing and what they think of the dot-com experience now that it's behind them.

  3. Related to the previous question: A lot of our readings assume without question that the workplace will be and should be organized (physically as well as structurally) around the needs of whatever segment of the labor force is currently "hot." In No-Collar, this means the chaotic, noisy, all-with-all (as opposed to all-against-all) Razorfish floor. When do we get to a more inclusive vision of labor practices, such that all work and all workers have attention paid to their varying needs? (Because, I gotta say, an atmosphere like Razorfish's would drive me bats in extremely short order.)

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