To put it another way, we’re living in “a once-in-a-technology ‘take this process and push it’ second,” according to hard labor economist Lawrence Katz, which gives people a once-in-a-technology upper hand. This cultural second’s power isn’t limited to the 2.9 percent of workers who have left their employment in the last few months. As CEOs strive to maintain retention rates, those who have kept their positions can express solidarity with those who are departing and contribute to the cultural shift by decreasing productivity.
What I’m highlighting isn’t always a “slowdown,” but rather a “sluggish-up.” Traditionally, a slowdown is a striking technique in which workers continue to work despite low productivity in order to negotiate for a specific goal, such as higher salaries. A slowdown is, in this sense, a very confined and transitory effort. A sluggish-up, on the other hand, should be universal and everlasting. It may necessitate a grassroots redefining of job standards – and, to be honest, it’s been a long time coming.
In 2020, 80 percent of Americans reported having too many things to do and no longer having enough time to do them—a situation known as time poverty. It’s no surprise that “pace up” and “sluggish down” demonstrate a cultural reputation in which a swift tempo moves you up the organizational ladder while a slower tempo moves you down. Instead, a slow up (deliberately rhymes with “light up”) indicates that slowing down can improve people’s quality of life. The goal isn’t always to drive down profits (though that could happen), but to maintain the right that everyone deserves a life of dignity, which includes rest and separation from pain.
Certainly, some may argue that advocating for a slowdown ignores people’s daily reality or the racialized and gendered dynamics of the workplace, in which people of color are still expected to work twice as hard to be identified and women are still expected to undertake unpaid work. Furthermore, this type of criticism purposefully ignores the work of black activists and artists who clearly call for a shift in painting rhythms. So, although it’s true that firms that bear the brunt of wage gaps may be taking the greatest risks in a slowdown, it’s also true that we’d have the most to gain. We could be effective.
Although a sluggish-up isn’t always a striking tactic, it does provoke many of the same difficulties as people’s strikes in terms of a “prisoners’ dilemma.” Because our economic situation pits people against one another on a daily basis, an employee who slows the pace risks losing an opportunity, a promotion, or even their job. The sluggishness necessitates collaboration, adaptability, and ingenuity. Attending to a slower pace can also help us be more aware in the face of corporate attempts to rebrand fast-paced exploitation. While more than 70% of CEOs anticipate that labor shortages will disrupt their businesses within the next 12 months, the primary solutions they’re enforcing across the board – more flexible hours and accelerated variety – fall short of the policy changes that people want, such as accelerated vacations and paid time off.
It’s not usually that flexible schedules or an emphasis on variety and inclusiveness are bad for employees; rather, each of those retention tactics is easily subsumed into the traditional rat race. More flexible hours result in more painting hours, according to studies — specifically, 2.5 more hours of labor each day. Similarly, company-driven diversity efforts quickly exceed their capacity, owing to the fact that most begin and end with “we ought to see greater diversity in our worker base and… our leadership.”
In the spirit of sluggish-up, we may ask: What would it mean, instead, if employee-led diversity, equality, and inclusion practices were supposed to identify hard work practices that could engage with relaxing as a crucial component of reparations and last the sleep gap? Or what if “equity” (defined as fairness and justice in how humans are treated) responded to the countless reports indicating that the United States remains an anomaly in terms of overwork? The Great Resignation is a ready game, just like any other hard-working movement.
To be honest, you don’t have to be idealistic to participate in the sluggish-up. You should think about the important issues that would occupy your day and imagine what it would feel like to work more leisurely and feel more refreshed – then strategically act as if it were already feasible.
The Great Resignation Has Employers Sweating. It’s Time To Escalate the Pressure | Erika Rodriguez. (2021, November 1). the Guardian.