Friday, November 21, 2008
When work and play are no longer distinguishable
This extraordinary piece of design is the Din-ink pen lid eating set created by Andrea Cingoli, Paolo Emilio Bellisario, Cristian Cellini and Francesca Fontana. It was one of the winners of Design Boom's Dining in 2015 competition. 'Very clever' I thought when I first came across it ... but then I remembered how often I've seen my friends and colleagues working through their lunch hour to keep on top of ridiculous deadlines all designed to make their bosses richer or more successful. And I realised that this design is a perfect metaphor for the skewed work/life balance that many of us accept as the norm.
I see this often with one of my daughters who works for a large supermarket chain as a department head. Sometimes she goes to work at 6.30am and gets home at 10pm. When I ask her why she works such long hours - many of them unpaid - she tells me that 'If I don't do the work, no one else will and I'll have twice as much tomorrow' or similar horror stories. Then I look at her wage compared to the billions of pounds her company makes in annual profit and I become very cross. I believe in working hard, doing your best and becoming good at your job. But I also believe in people being paid a fair wage for the work they do. Large companies (and retail is the worst) prey upon people's natural professionalism and desire for promotion in order to get far more work out of them than is fair. My daughter knows that if she doesn't keep up the pace she's working at the moment, she won't get a further promotion. But she is often working 10, 12, even 14 hour days to keep the quality and quantity of her work so high. The result is that she's permanently exhausted and her social life has become almost non-existent. And now she's so tired and fed up that she's looking for new jobs. So, who's the loser in the end?
Okay, rant over.
If you like good, innovative design then check out GadgetDNA - a great website. I am a regular visitor.