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THE RESPECT ISSUE

 

 
Dear Outsiders,

People talk in ‘New Year's Resolutions’, and so often it is some kind of new project. Some questions: 1. Do we have the psychic capacity to handle yet another thing? And 2. Do we really need another thing?

We see cultural initiatives competing for scare resources, with the very people we must support. What already exists? How can you help, contribute, compliment that?

In more 2020 news: Less unremunerated labour. More fun.

Scroll on,

– Jess


Outsider 147

RESPECT IS NOT EARNT

 

Showing How You Will Be Treated


 
 

I’m going to tell you a secret; the least respected person in the office is the one known for replying to mails after hours. They are the person who everyone knows will stay late on request, or without. If that person is known to have children waiting at home too, the pushover front gets double-whammied.
 



 







 



OVERWORK

OR

OVER WORK?












 


 
WORKING LATE IS THE SUCKER'S MOVE

This is controversial. You’ve most likely been raised to want self-fulfilment from work and do all you can to attain it. Equating a life well lived with doing work connected to 'who you are' means that work becomes an expression and exploration of the self, and in turn suggests that by working on our job we are simultaneously ‘working’ on ourselves. 

How many ‘Secrets To Success’ have you read that divulge ‘when you’re working right, it shouldn’t feel like working at all’?

Worker exploitation preys on the self-fulfilment narrative. When people connect themselves on a personal level to their work, they are more likely to do more than what is required of them under the belief that it is not for the employer that they are doing this additional unpaid work, but they are doing it for themselves.
 







 
Bitter about getting home after 9pm each day?

You shouldn't want to stop work that you love.




 
– From 'Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success And Happiness' by Miya Tokumitsu
 



 
 

FLATTERY IS A STRATEGY

Employers know all the tricks that leverage the individual’s attachment of identity to paid work;

this will be strong for your portfolio'

we need the whole team together

let’s get this wrapped up, then we can move onto that great new project – I’d love to have you onboard there too.’



THE IRREFUSABLE OFFER

To refuse working unpaid over-hours is an impossibility for many. There are workplaces where not conforming to these exploitations has real risk of firing – having the money to survive probably weighs up more important than defending sleep. Hey, maybe you love your job and dedicating your time to it in any form doesn’t faze you – that’s totally okay! But, you came for the strategies and here I offer an insight that has served me well and endures confirmation time and time again.
 











IF YOU DON’T VALUE YOURSELF AND YOUR TIME




WHO WILL?







 



 
 





SHOW AND TELL

The assertions of what you value and how you want to be treated come first, respect is expected. You’re not earning it. You demonstrate it as requirement.

The idea that respect should come in time is crazy.

Acknowledging the value of your time, engagements outside the office, of your needs and all that exists for your beyond paid work ­– which requires no explanation to anybody else – is a base level respect to be expected from Day One. Not something ‘earnt’ to be awarded in the future.



'To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which constitutes self-respect is potentially to have everything:  the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent.'


 

– Joan Didion




GIVE THEM A DEMO

Demonstration is a key word. We cannot ask for respect. It is not an object of hope labour. We have to show how we live our lives with full expectation that this be respected by the paid work within it.



 

HOPE LABOUR?

 
‘Creative work has been defined and critiqued as essentially future-oriented ‘hope labour’: underpaid work executed in the present on the assumption/speculation of future employment.’

– Alacovska (2018)


 
It’s the refusal to give more than you are getting that establishes the relationship of respect. If we were going to turn this into some of that sappy-guru spiel it might sound like; respect yourself and external respect will follow. We need to acknowledge the value our time holds and explain that to the outside by demonstration.


Our behaviour is the strongest method we have to set-up fair treatment. Far more effective than words or discussion, which most people find harder situations to not be dominated in.


BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME

Half of seniority and ‘being taken seriously’ is how a person behaves and how that is perceived. Unfortunately, in the contemporary West this means displaying ‘hard’ traits like confidence and assertiveness over ‘soft’ traits like kindness and emotionality.

We can all picture the person in a leadership position who commands a room, or is on an international conference call, then glances at their watch, sees the time, and instantly changes the tone to wrap-up because they have to go. It is an immediate assertion that their time is valuable. No space is given to entertain anything other than full respect.
 


"You ought to prove to your employer that you’re alive


 

– Elfriede Jelinek
 
PERFORM IN ACCORDANCE


Asserting respect as a requirement might mean a combination of performing to the codes of what ‘respected people’ do, and retaining the kindness that is respectful to others (the part that feels like being yourself in a place where there is more than enough dick-behaviour). From my own experience, mimicking the respected behaviour you see, works.

It doesn’t matter how great your ideas and creations are, if you allow yourself to be taken advantage of they will easily be overshadowed by a reputation for being over-appeasing. This aspect is especially relative to the reality of women in the workplace, for whom the performance to ‘masculine qualities’ for respect is more hardcore. It is not right and it is a minefield – too soft and you’re walked over, too hard and you’re ‘bitchy’ and disliked.







LOSE.



 
LOSE.


 









 
– Joys of the Creative Life.
 

We all have to set the boundaries of respect in our paid-work, and the earlier on the better.

MARKING THE BOUNDARIES

Setting the boundaries of respect requirements early on is more effective than trying to establish them later.

Starting at a new position, taking on a new project, working with new people, all of these are  ideal times to implement the refusal to go beyond what is agreed. “Reasonable” requires definition, first to yourself.

What do you refuse? Outline it to your own definitions:

  • Working weekends? Yes or No.
     
  • Continuing working at home when you leave the office? Yes or No.
     
  • Loading work email onto your personal phone? Yes or No.

Let your mind wander along previous situations of work and how those might have encroached upon your personal life. How did they get in? Identify the holes and seal them.


NO EXPLANATION NEEDED

I’m not one for the explicit explanation routes. If you don’t want to have work emails on your personal phone, no need to explain that to the whole team. Your decision in action will say it for you. So many aspects of work-communication have become normalised into our personal lives, like the expectation to be included in group chats and have those group chats on your personal phone. The normalisation is a problem and it erases the reality that it is an option, not a by-default. There is no longer a querying ­– ‘do you want to be included in the group chat?' – it is assumed and then it is defunct to not be part. That chatting is labour.

Are you interacting about work outside of working hours? Is it being remunerated? Is seeing work messages late at night affecting your sleep? If you want to be included, the interactions and time should be acknowledged as working and a phone should be provided.
 






 
'The will to work extreme schedules that encroach upon our emotional and biological needs for relationships, care, and sleep, is what 'Do What You Love' justifies in our contemporary culture of overwork.’



 
–  'Do What You Love: And Other Lies About Success And Happiness' by Miya Tokumitsu
 



 




PREVENTING OVERWORK
IS PART OF THE JOB










sorry, but it’s true.













 


 

THIS IS LIFE

What we are talking about is a matter of freedom, liberty, and how these situations impact not just our working lives – but our life lives. In his career advice, journalist George Monbiot highlights this differentiation;
 
'... My final piece of advice is this: when faced with the choice between engaging with reality or engaging with what Erich Fromm calls the “necrophiliac” world of wealth and power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be.

Your peers might at first look down on you: poor Nina, she’s twenty-six and she still doesn’t own a car. But those who have put wealth and power above life are living in the world of death, in which the living put their tombstones – their framed certificates signifying acceptance to that world – on their walls. Remember that even the editor of the Times, for all his income and prestige, is still a functionary, who must still take orders from his boss. He has less freedom than we do, and being the editor of the Times is as good as it gets.’
 
 
DEFEND YOUR BOUNDARIES

Defining boundaries to ourselves is the easy part. Maintaining them is harder. It is the differentiator between working for them and making work work for you. And ironically, it can be the differentiator between success or not.

Respected workers get opportunities and are considered competent. Respect is part of standing out rather than trying to fit in. We are downgrading ourselves by allowing exploitation. We can lean on these reminders to refuse being taken advantage of;

 








 

LOSERS DO LATE NIGHT MAILS














MY PERSONAL PHONE IS NOT A COMPANY TOOL










 


GIVING ME A LAPTOP IS NOT AN AUTO-'NOW YOU WORK FROM HOME TOOL'























 


 

HOW WE LIVE OUR DAYS

...is how we live our lives. Use your daily decisions to demonstrate how you expect to be treated, and the respect you expect for your everyday life.

Remember, work and life should not be seamless. Have the seams and make them visible.
 


Until next time. Yours faithfully,

Jess
jh@outsider.works





 


 
‘Cycling between vacuous, hysterical hedonism and pitiful illness is not my idea of the good life. Witnessing loved ones descend into this, is also not my idea of the good life.’

 
NADIA IDLE


 



What's your idea of a good life?



Write it down.
 

 




 

DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY
 
Outsider is a counter-culture punch from inside the creative industry.

Promoting real life interaction. Pro-offline.


It came into being after watching client after client come seeking 'relevance' with 'millennials' and crying inside. Seeing misconceptions on the efficacy of social media rise. 

Named Outsider as, like Outsider Art, we observed that no/informal training cultivates greater instinct and disregard for 'rules' and established systems.

    
Jess is a pseudonym to keep the digital footprint of our real identity to zero.

Born 1991 but knowing better than old man CEO's.

Secret Access to past issues here.



 
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