On Small Talk at the Office

Some of what makes office life awkward is that it asks us to tread a fine line between being, on the one hand, efficient and focused, and on the other, genial…

On Falling Apart at the Office

I. Office Victorians In the 19th century, British explorers were famous for not getting stressed. They might – like David Livingstone in his travels in central Africa between 1851 and 1883…

The Sorrows of Competition

At the heart of how modern individuals work, there is a dream of security: security from humiliation, penury, dependence, arbitrary dismissal and uncertainty. At the heart of how a modern capitalist…

What Is That Sunday Evening Feeling?

It descends, normally, between around 5pm and 7.30pm and can be at its height at six, especially when the weather is turning and the last of the daylight has burnished the…

How Parents Get in the Way of Our Career Plans

For most of human history, what we did for a living was decided for us by our families. We would either directly copy what our parents did, or else we would…

Why Modern Work Is So Boring

One of the overriding reasons why modern work is so boring is that we keep having to do more or less the same thing every day. We have to be specialists,…