There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~ Mohandas Gandhi ~

Work As We Know It

April 16th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 5 secs

How is work changing for you?

How is work changing for you?

The nature of work is changing. In Australia, like so many nations, jobs are being “casualized”. That means fewer jobs are full time and increasingly more people work part time and “when required”.

You might be wondering, “How is that relevant to happiness?” Well, as you know, work is much more than putting dinner on the table. It reflects who you are and allows you to express some of your unique abilities as you contribute to something bigger.

So when the way you work with its schedule, certainty, and status changes, it’s very relevant to how well you feel your life is going.

On the face of it, changing work hours seems minor stuff. After all, you might still be working in the same field, right? Only, it’s more complicated than that, isn’t it?

Quite apart from the obvious implications of uncertainty about your work hours, casualization also has the effect of downgrading your status.

Studies in the UK, US, and Australia (to mention a few) show that “temp” work and part time employment put people on the lower rungs of perceived status in the workplace.

How does that translate? In work terms it means:

  • Exclusion from team activity
  • Diminished social involvement
  • Reduced recognition, & a
  • Compromised spread of information.

This shows that casualized employees are forever on the “outer”, destined to remain unsure of the latest information and drastically disempowered. Being casuals, they attract less investment in terms of training, work skilling, and live on the fringe of social engagement.

Casual staff may also be given tasks with no explanation as to what they are for. So a part time solicitor may have to second-guess the purpose behind a task because they lack the knowledge, which is otherwise assumed.

For everyone who cares about the quality of the work they do, the trend toward casualizing work is challenging. Potentially, it can even trigger feelings of alienation as people struggle to feel like they really belong. This is particularly a risk for anyone switching from workplace to workplace (like, say, a Locum Physician, or a temporary secretary).

Although some people are clever at switching horses whilst peeling fruit, yodeling, and simultaneously patting their head while rubbing their tummies, it’s definitely not for everybody.

So what do we do? Raise the conversation for starters. The more people in casualized work, the greater the likelihood people will start taking noticing the surrounding issues.

I can offer lots of quick fixes but this is one area that surely deserves deeper treatment. If you work in a full time role, do at least consider these issues. And, for those who are already working in casualized employment, perhaps now is the time to give yourself a pat on the back and realize just how much you manage to do your job well.

As the trickle becomes a wider tide, I have a feeling the future of work is shaping up to be quite a ride.

What It Takes To Work Together

Should You Be Yourself At Work?

Women’s Work




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