Anonymous: A Day in My Working Life
13 February 2014
"I work for a bank. Okay, that's a lie. I work for a subsidiary of a bank. Okay, that's a lie again. I work for a 'recruitment agency', for a subsidiary of a bank, for a bank. I'm a temporary contractor. I have been for years. I'm not allowed to join the union. A template email arrives, telling me that 'after careful consideration', the company will 'not be progressing' my application for a better position. I have earned the same wage since 2010.
My job title is 'Customer Service Advisor'. In reality, I help the automated system do its job (once the job of dozens of people) by removing forward slashes and hyphens from applications. The system hates such things. I have no idea what a customer looks like.
Artificial light corrodes my retinas for seven and a half hours a day. 30 minutes are spent drinking my 73p can of Sprite Zero from the canteen, and eating whatever kind of sandwich I can be bothered to throw into a scrap of foil in the morning.
My office is increasingly sparsely populated – real work replaced by new systems thrown together by some other temporary contractor. I am my staff number. My notice period is one week. My manager refers to me as one of his temps. I am a resource to be bandied around at will. I should be grateful for everything the company has done for me.
Will I be paid this week? An automated email tells me that my time-sheet is pending authorisation. That's a maybe then.
The weekly newsletter comes around – We're hitting record profits. The shareholders are delighted. The CEO has a message for us all. The printer vomits another load of meaningless letters and numbers at me. A new calendar lands on my desk. 'See you tomorrow.' "
Our current exhibition, Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life, asks you to reconsider your woking life. Would you like to write about your working life? Send us 200 words about your job and we'll publish the best here! Email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life is open until 9 March. For more information on the exhibition, please visit the Time & Motion project page.