Tuesday, 27 May 2014

precarious work

I want to talk a bit about my new job. Now maybe this won't be the type of post you're used to reading here, it shys away from my usual 'play it safe' subject matter, but I think it's an important topic to discuss.

When I first started this blog I was living in London, and engaged in what I would dub 'precarious work'. That means, engaged in a low-paying job with precarious conditions attached to it. These might range from a lack of benefits, lack of sick pay, no job security, no advance notice of shifts to work, working long hours, including evenings and weekends, for low pay. For me, the main factor that determines precarious work is the lack of recognition of your actual humanness from your employer. Expecting you to go above and beyond your job description, be unreflexively flexible, and give everything to a job that offers you nothing more than a bare living wage.

And now, I find myself in my new job, housekeeping in a hotel. The backstory to this is that, as a 'foreigner' in Denmark, or 'udl├Žndinge' (alien) as they so affectionately call us, if you do not speak Danish you cannot work in most sectors. And this is a fact they will tell you quite bluntly, as they are wont to do here. So, cash strapped and looking for some kind of work to tide me over, I once again find myself in the kind of job that's just so easy to get, and luckily for me, is a step up from waitressing in that I don't have to talk to anyone or negotiate the whims and madness of customers on the regular. I do this kind of work mainly because, in the past, I've hated to be tied down to a desk or a fixed contract, so it's always been a choice, and a choice in which the positives outweighed the negatives. I've waitressed, worked in call centres, etc. not because I've had to, but because I've chosen to, for one reason or another.

In subsequent posts I'm going to talk about the nature of the job and how it compares to similar jobs I've done in other European countries. If you're interested in this sort of thing, please keep reading.

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