Blogs of working futures

Two more work-related blogs to add first of all. A call centre worker and a coroner.

Call centre worker

Life as a coroner

The headline today refers to an article that suggests those about to graduate from British universities are quite gloomy about their chances of securing graduate-level employment. It says that in as little as 7 years, expectations of landing such a job have dropped from 49 per cent to 36 per cent (student numbers have increased in this time too). What is most worrying is that the survey was restricted to only 30 institutions and included mostly top-rated universities. I suspect if this turns about to be true then we may see an explosion in blogs related to gripes at work, i.e. lack of fulfilment, etc. Unless, however, the next generation becomes more organised and see themselves as workers first and consumers second.


This second story is likely to be very relevant to those who blog, i.e. make extensive and intensive use of the newest technolgy. And this includes me! What this article looks at is 'informania' where excessive use of techology (e.g. texting, email, Internet, telephone calls) reduces intelligence. It appears that the immediacy of such technology, i.e. the urge and expectation for an immediate response compels us to reply first and may be think later. Therefore, we do not develop our thinking and evaluation skills. Instead, we should sit back and think about our responses much more. If this concerns you then consider reading 'In Praise of Slow' by Carl Honore.


Yesterday saw quite an important labour law ruling. It may, however, be overturned on appeal, but for now it should be noted by all people who may want to work part-time or 'flexibly' at some time in their working lives. It concerns a new mum (an airline pilot) and a request to work 50 per cent time (for BA) instead of 75 per cent time. BA had argued that such a change could lead to safety problems. BALPA (pilots' union) suggested otherwise. I also heard on FiveLive that BA made a business case, but the tribunal rejected this too. I think the main thing to come from this is that businesses now have to take such requests very seriously (despite the fact that employees cannot 'demand' part-time hours). In effect, if highly skilled workers, who work very irregular shifts can have their requests accommodated then it questions if any company (especially a company without the vast resources of a global airline) could resist 'requests' in the future. I suspect the future of this kind of case may eventually turn to workers who do not have children or caring responsibilities, but just want to work less or atypical hours so they can do other things with their lives.


The last story is quite close to home for me. It concerns the proposed merger of two unions that represent people in higher education. The point that stands out the most is that mergers appear to be an increasingly common feature of British trade unionism. However, it's more worrying to witness larlegly defensive tactics at a time when Britain has had two back-to-back Labour administrations (and almost certainly a third) and a spate of legisltation that has done very little to help a movement battered by four very brutal Conservative administrations. I'm not confident that a third time will bring anything different. Are you?!


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