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Tag: work

Review: David Frayne’s “The Refusal of Work”

In 2013, I embarked on a personal experiment in which I intentionally unplugged myself from traditional employment. I really wish David Frayne’s The Refusal of Work had existed during those first years, as it would have lent intellectual energy and a useful lexicon to a project that was difficult at first to articulate. I also think this [...]

Working It Out: Reflections on a Five-Year Experiment

Introduction: How I Got Here Five years ago, in October 2013, I committed myself to an experiment that felt both comfortably secure and quite risky. After teaching abroad in Japan for a year, I returned to my hometown in Humboldt County, CA, moved in with my mother and girlfriend, and actively eschewed all forms of [...]

Review: Jillian Medoff’s “This Could Hurt”

Jillian Medoff’s This Could Hurt is a fun and heartfelt fictionalization of contemporary corporate life. The book explores the lives of a small group of executives who run the Human Resources Department at Ellery Consumer Research, a firm struggling to keep itself together in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. While I did not find the [...]

Quotes 3-1-2016

“Fear breeds fear and trust breeds trust. Traditional hierarchies and their plethora of built-in control systems are, at their core, formidable machines that breed fear and distrust. Self-managing structures and the advice process build up over time a vast, collective reservoir of trust among colleagues.” ––Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the [...]

Review: Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Unfinished Business”

Modern America faces a labor crisis that is both practical and existential. Even as new kinds of work are rapidly being created, we can’t adequately educate and fully employ the workforce we already have. Worse, we’ve created a system where elites have almost exclusive access to intellectually challenging and meaningful work opportunities, with everyone else [...]

Quotes 10-12-2015

“Not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous––why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should be [...]

Quotes 10-8-2015

“Heaven have mercy on us all––Presbyterians and Pagans alike––for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.” ––Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville, pg. 76   “Suppose we were to tell our boys that they have the same opportunity in their lifetimes to expand the social and economic roles for men in [...]

Quotes 10-7-2015

“Yes, there is death in this business of whaling––a speechlessly quick chaotic bundling of a man into Eternity. But what then? Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are [...]

Quotes 10-6-2015

“I stood looking at him for a moment. For all his tattooings he was on the whole a clean, comely looking cannibal. What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself––the man’s a human being just as I am: he has just as much reason to fear me, as I have [...]