Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Irony Is


Reading Arlie Hochschild's "The Time Bind"  as your partner works late into the night after receiving an after-hours work assignment to turn-over numbers by tomorrow morning.  Augh.

Incidentally, if you were wondering what I was referring to when I mentioned accusations of academic "Taylorism" in the sum up post on the Madisonian.net MobBlog, Hochschild's book has a good description:

During this time, the very nature of industrial work was transformed thanks to an engineering genius named Frederick W. Taylor.  He introduced to factory life the principles of what he called "scientific management," imposing on the workplace and individual workers a rigorous standard of efficiency.  Because time was now more  exactly equated with production and therefore with money, time was also more precisely measured and bits of it more carefully saved.


As far as I am concerned, Taylor can go to hell.  This was not at all the point of the Madisonian MobBlog--the legal academy isn't trying to figure out new pedagogical production methods to be more efficient, measure its time in increments, and produce lawyers like drill bit commodities.  But yes, while Taylorism may have made us more productive and has helped America become the economic super power it was (I can't say it is, exactly, with how weak the dollar is and how recessive the economy), I on occasion, like any lefty former socialist, resent him and all of capitalism for making TD work late into the night.  But again, I'm just not that liberal.  I don't blame the free market and global economy for everything.  But I do quite hate on the emergency on-call work culture that has emerged in the last 20 years.  

Fortunately, I am an understanding, sympathetic, supporting partner.  And I always have work myself, so I just do work late into the night next to him, and a half-hour's quality time is more than nothing.  Also, it would be awful of me, given the likelihood that on any other day I'd pull the "I gotta work late" card, to resent him for overworking.  No, it's more that my research on work/life brings me ever deeper into cognitive dissonance, when I am working double hard to catch up to speed on my work on work/life, and I am reading chapters on organizational culture, commitment and control, and he's sitting at the kitchen table working furiously on a late assignment.  Just a little weird, and more than ironic.


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