If only, rather than wasting my time thinking about work-power relations and questioning the discourse of 'jobseeking', I would apply "smart effort with impact" and display "positive and balanced intent", and above all if I cultivated a proper work ethic, I could now be making a living writing stuff like this:

(this and countless other righteous tracts discovered via the 'Employability Hub' @EmployHub - a "social learning community", apparently*)
The words would pour out of me, as if I were possessed by some inspiring inner voice. From my pulpit-blog I would preach the gospel of employability, giving new virtual form to the familiar motivational narrative: the sanctimonious opening anecdote... the history bit... the bit where I mention "the capitalist economic model" as if I stand outside of it... the vaguely threatening, Torchwood-like The 21st Century is when everything changes and you've got to be ready bit...
In contrast to the old-fashioned 20th Century workplace, the author tells us, "The 21st Century perspective favours values like..."
...fear, insecurity, competition, selfishness, 24/7 availability, emotional labour? No? Oh hang on...
"...independence, individuality, influencing without authority, insistence, initiative, innovation, risk, diversity and entrepreneurialism."
Ah, of course. Hallelujah.
* More on Hubs here

1 comment:

Hywel said...

I have just finished reading your book. I couldn't see an email contact address, so am commenting here instead. Thought it was brilliantly conceived and executed, and you really articulated an amorphous set of thoughts that I've been having myself over a period of years. The idea of emotional labour is a really strong one, as is the concept of existing within a space where one can never escape the clutches of work.

The power of the system to me lies, as you say, in the way it makes it impossible to question its ludicrousness. It's like being entered into a world where the only recognised mode of communication is passive-aggressiveness, and it's maddening in the same way as any interpersonal passive-aggressive interactions are - the truth is deemed unspeakable, on pain of unleashing terrible anger.