Employment Unlocked!
September 19, 2013 12:15 PM   Subscribe

That was thoroughly depressing and all too real.
posted by arcticseal at 12:23 PM on September 19, 2013 [15 favorites]

Distressingly believable. Thanks for posting.
posted by YAMWAK at 12:38 PM on September 19, 2013

Tempin' ain't easy. (Achievement unlocked! Commenting on the Clock badge!)
posted by asperity at 12:43 PM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

The main site for the Future Londoners project.
posted by scdjpowell at 12:57 PM on September 19, 2013

Ouch...this hits way too close to home. :(
posted by Anima Mundi at 1:01 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Funny how Science Fiction for the proletariat reads like real life. Also like the 19th C.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:03 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Achievement unlocked: Thoroughly Depressed.
posted by T.D. Strange at 1:23 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted on medium for the extra irony.

Achievement unlocked!

Freelance Word Artist Pro badge!
posted by ennui.bz at 1:32 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Is this the only story, or can you get to the stories of the other 9? Very interesting.
posted by corb at 1:50 PM on September 19, 2013

Seemed believable, until she had a Blackberry in 2023.
posted by unknownmosquito at 2:06 PM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

-That girl, with the black hair. She took some lipsticks. Put them in an RFID bag.

I once did "temping" back in the 90's for Manpower Canada. Such a dumb experience. I failed the speed-typing test, so they got me a job making photocopies at the Ministry of Attorny General, and the other temps doing that work (one had a withered arm) looked at me like I was some sort of threat. Something happened, because I got walked off the property by the end of the week. The manager was very apologetic. They were trying me out, and I did not make copies fast enough or something.

Another time I got a job as a day labourer for a company doing commercial renovations. We were tearing down a Reitman's shop in the mall, and the contractor would build a new one, so we had to take drywall out to the bin in the mall loading bay.

It was late at night and we could not leave the loading bay doors open, but one of the crew did. "Who did that?" Nobody said anything, but something in my body language must have given the culprit away, because he was gone the next day, and I still feel bad about that.

I eventually got hired to do the build, mostly because I didn't steal pop from the mall food court drink fountains, and I also told the contractor, who had come over from Vancouver, that it was illegal to throw out drywall here - he would get a big fine.

I was blacklisted by Manpower after that, but it didn't matter because I got the fuck out of that mean, miserable town and stayed away for ten fucking years, and I still wonder why I decided to come back.

Japan was good to me, and it was amazing to live someplace where you could phone up someplace and get a job. I had schools, actual real schools and colleges, phoning me up to work. Such a difference from hardscrabble Canada in the 90's where I had worked as a dishwasher and a furniture mover. Can you type 50 words a minute? Do you know how to set up tabs using Microsoft Word? Do you have steel-toed boots? If you are lucky we will find you a job at the JDS Uniphase plant assembling things, but that is for our top-performing associatates.

Back to temping... one of the guys on the crew came back for the build, and he invited a buddy on-site with him late at night. It was obvious they were going to steal the tools (working for my father during university I had had this happen to me).

It was so very harsh back in the 90's, unless you lived in Alberta or maybe Vancouver or Ontario.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:33 PM on September 19, 2013

Perhaps a Raspberry Pi open-source smartphone cobbled together by a friends' brother would be more believable?
posted by KokuRyu at 2:41 PM on September 19, 2013

Reminds me a bit of the Black Mirror episode 15 Million Merits.
posted by MillMan at 2:48 PM on September 19, 2013

You guys are forgetting - in 2020, the Blackberry trademark and OS was sold at a bankruptcy auction to a consortium of North African and Javanese smartphone makers who used them on remaindered G-Trap phones that'd been wiped when Jemaah Islamiyah set off that EMP just down the street from their old factory in Jakarta. The phones were momentarily trendy because the metal parts would all glow an eerie blue in the dark, fun in the new blackout clubs popular in Streatham.

Nicki had no idea her phone was still leaching radiation absorbed in the blast, enough to ensure she'd be sterile in six months.
posted by incessant at 3:08 PM on September 19, 2013 [11 favorites]

If you really want to get depressed, watch It's a Free World
posted by KokuRyu at 3:14 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Didn't Neal Stephenson write this in 1992?
posted by schmod at 10:09 PM on September 19, 2013

Only thing this is missing is Nicki reading a MailOnline article on her lunchbreak about zero hours workers, with half of the comments lauding RetailWarrior as a bold step in efficiency and the other half wondering why young people don't apply themselves these days.

Excellent SF, almost certainly somebody's actual vision for how their preferred society might work.

What would be interesting would be to see the strata of people in the middle in this world, the managers who actually have some sense of security. Because the other nine profiles were almost all either grey economy, not economically active or business owners.

What's the story of that manager at Pret or the one at Boots? Are they just as precarious, but with office chairs and company-issued Google Glasses instead of ancient smartphones?
posted by Happy Dave at 5:57 AM on September 20, 2013

And in related news, California legalizes rideshare firms at the state level.

Zero hour employment, here we come!
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:07 AM on September 20, 2013

Loved and hated this story.
posted by RainyJay at 8:51 AM on September 20, 2013

Funny how Science Fiction for the proletariat reads like real life. Also like the 19th C

Didn't Neal Stephenson write this in 1992?

Or Jack London, in 1902.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:38 PM on September 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

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