We are a society of networked citizens. The dream of a job that stays a job and doesn’t infiltrate every other aspect of our lives is dissipating quickly when we are always standing reserve, even if we are in another place physically, and we allow presence bleed so we are able to be available to work. It seems that everyone is now expected to be available online to work.
A friend of mine writes for a gaming website but has never met any of the other writers or those in charge of the site in person. He has spoken to them over Skype and Facebook, the company relies solely on the internet and technology for their communication. If it were structured like a traditional workplace the costs of communication would be enormous due to each writer being in a separate place, or those writers would not be able to produce for that site as they would be too far away to participate. This is a positive thing as it allows those who would otherwise not be involved to share their expertise with a company which supports their skill sets.
On the other hand we have a fusion of personal and professional spaces. The Media Managers at my internship are perfect examples of liquid labour. They are always standing reserve and never fully in one place. It’s easy to see the impact their job has on their life and the way it consumes their free time. As a media student who is studying to get into a field like theirs it is disappointing that I will most likely not be able to separate my work time from my personal time and they will fuse into one.
It’s difficult to see how becoming a network citizen and liquid labour is a positive thing when your life becomes your work and your work becomes your life. The constant evolution of the internet makes it easier for organisations to involve themselves in their employees lives and makes one wonder how one would actually begin to separate personal from professional.
Bradwell, P., and Reeves, R. (2008) Economies. In Networked Citizens (pp. 25-31)
Gregg, M. ‘Function Creep: Communication technologies and anticipatory labour in the information workplace’