accounts

Unemployment, the JobCentre, and the imposition of labour discipline

Having been gainfully unemployed for a number of months, I’ve recently returned to take a swim in the shark-infested, soul-destroying, disease-ridden hell hole that is the job market. It’s also the first time I’ve been, ehhem, lucky enough to be able to claim dole. This means applying for jobs and making a fortnightly trip to the JobCentre. And it sucks.

And I thought my contract couldn't get any shitter...

Sometimes, when you think your contract is already pretty bad, you can end up putting your guard down, thinking it can't get any worse. This, as I've recently discovered in my job as a TEFL teacher, is not the case.

Who’s in charge here?

John O’Reilly discusses the ways that organizing campaigns make themselves and others see them as legitimate.

Lest we forget: in tribute to the pioneers of the great Flint sit down strike - Ronda Hauben

Retrospective look at conditions workers endured prior to the Flint sit down strike of 1937-38, and how they went on to win.

We'll let you know when to come back - Kermit Johnson

First hand account of Kermit Johnson, rank and file chairman for the strike committee during the Flint sit down strike of 1936-37.

Striking agreement: How one neighborhood school sees CPS’ attempt at a deal

CTU members on strike

A first-hand account from the Chicago Teachers Union strike, from education worker Agnieszka Karoluk.

My first job – what was yours?

Recomposition started at the end of August, 2010. We’re pleased with what’s happened in the last two years, and we hope you are as well. It seems appropriate to celebrate the two year mark with a work story and by getting more more interactive for a change. Below, Siobhan writes about her first job. In the comments, please tell us what your first job was, how old you were when you got it, and what that job was it like.

Rivethead - Ben Hamper

Down and out memoirs of a line assembly worker for GM Motors over the 1980s. In amongst co-workers going postal in the local bar, drinking on the job and witnessing mental breakdowns, Hamper wrote the book during his shifts on the shop floor.

Self-employment, or the illusion of freedom

An account of 'freelancing' and the attitude this has promoted within the author's co-workers.

Factotum - Charles Bukowski

The only person to have made a writing career about yo-yoing in and out of employment, Bukowski accounts the conditions in 1944 having faced rejection from the draft. Although racist, incredibly misogynistic and generally prejudiced to anyone including himself, this is an honest look at the tedium of work.