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Labour’s a fickle game

December 4, 2010

I’ve become increasingly frustrated at being seen as an empty cup that needs to be filled, whether it be by advertising, attempting to provide me with “solutions”, or employers, who seek for me to construct myself in a manner suitable to them.

Anybody who did my Anthropology course will understand the huge degree to which employees are now crafted far beyond the extent of a professional face for the business, but are actually expected to carry attributes that the company seeks to attach to their brand. This goes far beyond simply seeking enthusiastic and amiable salespeople; consider things such as Outward Bound courses and other work retreats, designed as metaphors for people to become “team players” and “risk-takers”.

It’s funny, I wish I could remember where, but I recall someone’s description of business meetings, in which employees were often called upon to show greater degrees of “teamwork”, which invariably resulted in obeying the will of the superior.

I’ve lost count of the amount of job applications in which I’ve been required to present myself as an energetic, intelligent, responsible and strong team-worker, professing my completely artificial respect for Coles’s work ethic or Billy Hyde’s identity as a figurehead of Australian music. As far as I’m concerned Coles is a duopoly and Billy Hyde is now a monopoly since their merger with Allan’s, truly removing any competition in the already highly-inflated market. Now even the state government is seeking for me to present myself , to market my abilities the best I can, for simply serving as an election worker. My customer service skills, teamwork abilities, working within time constraints – funny, I think I’ve written about these before.

It’s hardly a ground-breaking claim to make, although sad when you begin to truly understand its depth, but the world has become one in which perception is king, in which marketing and claims supersede that which is tangible. And it’s sad to think of how deeply this permeates Western society. This idea that we must be constructed in order to meet the desires and needs of employers, well if this isn’t class conflict, or put more bluntly, exploitation, then I’m not sure what is.

On a related note, my own personal frustration with the demands from businesses for “experienced” personnel has led me to muse that employment as a whole is reduced because of such specifications. Simply put, if more businesses want more experienced workers, then they’re naturally going to hire those who have previously been employed. If businesses are focusing on hiring those who have been employed the longest, then this creates a conical effect, in which those who are unemployed are continually unemployed with increasingly smaller chances of attaining work. It fits the general Keynesian ethos of private thrift creates public ill, in which if businesses seek to employ only more experienced workers, the labour market becomes top-heavy, with businesses unable to employ workers that they deem necessary. Furthermore it would increase general demand if unemployment was lowered, especially amongst the long-term.

Essentially, I’m frustrated at my personal circumstances and university has given me the means to analyse these situations academically. I can complain intelligently. Dear me.


From → Personal

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