You know those surveys of job roles and relevant pay scales? And then those other articles about how and why domestic housework is never included in those surveys and any pay scale? Well we now have a new kind of housework: data housework. This is where we as users or customers do all the admin grunt work for services and companies, or even employers. Personal admin records, preferences, histories or managed data permissions. Records of subordinates, of customer feedback, all are Data Housework. Keeping things ship shape, at low or no cost.
We are all now employees of platform society and lean capitalism thinking. I do your (the company) work to update my records because you basically are too lazy and tight to do it yourself. But that’s part of the exchange for using your device or service. Is it a fair exchange? Probably, in the case of free apps and website services. I don’t know. But the problem is compounded. This mentality has spread into more conventional aspects of the world of work. Academics complain about the relentless march of admin into their job roles. Previously left to teach and research, seeding new ideas and fostering the best minds of the future, highly qualified specialists are now required to spend their time filling in attendance sheets, record outcomes of key performance indicators, make sure their young charges take part in mind numbing market research exercises. At no extra pay, with no leeway for time required. Consequently, jobs are then lost in the admin sector (at lower pay and qualification scales), in the name of lean efficiency. Everyone loses except the management and stakeholder investors, who on paper see KPI gains and overall cost cutting.
Self employed persons will recognise the flexibility required for running their own business – they must indeed do all the record and inventory checking, the selling, the planning, the marketing, the hiring and firing, but they have the pleasure of it being their own company. In large institutions and big company employers this is obviously not the case, the situation is completely different, yet the principle is the same. I myself spend more and more time updating my own platform and account data, my archiving, my records, my permissions, my updated services. And this is while I’m not even employed or self-employed.
This is the modern world. Suck it up.