Last week the saw the first in a two part discussion with Francois and Mirjam from the Office for Workspace Studies. Now we return for the second part.
The conversation begins with me relating a relatively personal dilemma about some of the work I’m doing at the moment, specifically, consultancy, where it’s well paid but a bit sell out, since the thing they’re buying is not just my labour but also my cultural capital. Francois quite graciously points out that the money earned creates the opportunity to do other work that would otherwise have no space in the economic realm, although I’m still rather ambivalent about it.
This then provides a foreground to the following discussion, in which we talk about the tendency to choose service work as a second job, this being something which has traditionally required you to give less of your self away, but now in fact increasingly employs people for their cultural capital as well.*
Bringing things full circle, this infiltration of cultural capital into service work is something Francois and Mirjam’s present concern for the term talent represents quite well.
* I make reference to some articles at this point, one in Jacobin by Peter Frase, entitled “In Defence of Soviet Waiters“, and another by Paul Myerscough in the London Review of Books, which this first article links to, on the 17 principles for the ideal Pret-a-Manger worker.