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Entries in work (4)

Sunday
Jun262011

Leisure in 2006 A.D. (1906)

What's the biggest problem people thought we'd be facing in the 21st century? Mid-air jetpack collisions? Disobedient robot servants? No, the greatest problem of our futuristic world was supposed to be too much leisure time.

It was believed that a push-button future of automation would bring about a world of unprecedented convenience and leisure. The question was only how to pass the time.

Many imagined a leisure-centric society driven by wholesome degeneracy, jet-setting golfers and sixteen hour work weeks. The mundane nature of such a simple push-button future would even drive people to suicide!

In reality, the amount of time spent on purely enjoyable activities hasn't really changed much in the last hundred years. But to steal a line from one W. Elias Disney, if we can dream it, we can do it! Feel free to leave your comments below about how to push ourselves into such a wondrous dystopia of automated despair.

The March 26, 1906 New Zealand Star told the story of leisure one hundred years into the future, through the lens of a more efficient and time-saving bath. Onward into our freshly scrubbed dystopia!

Probably the speediest dresser of our own day does not consume less than a quarter of an hour over his morning tub and the operation of drying himself. A hundred years hence people will be so avid of every moment of life, life will be so full of busy delight, that time-saving inventions will be at a huge premium. It is not because we shall be hurried in nerve-shattering anxiety, but because we shall value at its true worth the refining and restful influence of leisure, that we shall be impatient of the minor tasks of every day. The bath of the next century will lave the body speedily with oxgenated water, delivered with a force that will render rubbing unnecessary, and beside it will stand the drying cupboard, lined with some quickly moving arrangement of soft brushes, and fed with highly dessiccated air, from which, almost in a moment, the bather will emerge, dried, and with a skin gently stimulated and perhaps electrified, to clothe himself quickly and pass down the lift to his breakfast, which he will eat to the accompaniment of the morning's news, read out for the benefit of the family, or whispered into his ears by a talking machine.

 

Wednesday
Dec302009

Video Resumes of the Future (1989)

Imagine LinkedIn, with fewer networking tools and more VHS tapes of you performing awkward magic tricks. That seems to be the future of job-hunting according to this article from the October, 1989 issue of Omni magazine.

I mean, even Arthur Radebaugh's prediction 40 years earlier of interviews via videophone was closer to the mark.


A standard printed resume suggests little, if anything, about how a job candidate talks, acts, and looks. But now there is a video resume, giving a prospective employer the chance to size up the person before the interview takes place.

Advantages? An employer can judge how well personalities will mesh before subjecting himself or the applicant to the pressure of a face-to-face interview. Just pop the video resume into a VCR.

It's also advantageous for the job seeker. "Paper resumes screen you out. Video resumes get you screen in," says John B. Kelman, president of Res-A-Vue, a video marketing company in Connecticut. "You can really put your best foot forward - no interruptions, no smoke blowing in your face."

Video resumes run about five minutes and cost from several hundred to several thousand dollars. To prepare one, a job seeker tells about his abilities and ambitions before a studio camera. The tape is then edited, complete with on-screen titles and background music.

The video resume can be used to illustrate skills that might seem unimpressive on paper. For example, a human resources vice-president prepared a video resume in which he performed magic tricks. It was shot on location all around the country. The cost: $12,000. In another instance, a scientist gave a video to his boss to prove he was management material. Says Lise Christensen, a public relations executive who recently found a job by using a video resume, "Employers get to meet you. You have an edge over anyone with only a piece of paper."

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Nov042009

16-Hour Work Week by Year 2020 (1967)

The idea that advanced 21st century technology would lead to ridiculously short work weeks was incredibly popular in the 20th century. And why not? Improved efficiency meant we'd obviously be working less, right? Seems like common sense.

I don't need to tell you that things didn't quite work out as the futurists had hoped. You're probably working more hours than ever; that is, if you're lucky enough to have a job at all.

The article below ran in the November 26, 1967 Gastonia Gazette (Gastonia, NC). It assumes that people will be working significantly less and raises concerns that all this free time will lead to "boredom, idleness, immorality, and increased personal violence." The piece even proposes the possibility of a guaranteed wage.

Those who hunger for time off from work may take heart from the forecast of political scientist Sebastian de Grazia that the average work week, by the year 2000, will average 31 hours, and perhaps as few as 21. Twenty years later, on-the-job hours may have dwindled to 26, or even 16.

But what will people do with all that free time? The outlook may not be cheery.

As De Grazia sees it: "There is reason to fear, as some do, that free time, forced free time, will bring on the restless tick of boredom, idleness, immorality, and increased personal violence. If the cause is identified as automation and the preference for higher intelligence, nonautomated jobs may increase, but they will carry the stigma of stupidity. Men will prefer not to work rather than to accept them. Those who do accept will increasingly come to be a politically inferior class."

One possible solution: a separation of income from work; perhaps a guaranteed annual wage to provide "the wherewithal for a life of leisure for all those who think they have the temperament."

1967 Nov 26 Gastonia Gazette - Gastonia NC paleofuture

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Tuesday
Jun302009

One-World Job Market (1959)

The November 29, 1959 edition of Arthur Radebaugh's Closer Than We Think features a job interview of the future. And what job interview of the (paleo)future would be complete without a man from Philadelphia and his entire family chatting via videophone with a potential employer in Buenos Aires?

Until recently, a man limited his job hunting to his home town. Now he sometimes searches the country. Tomorrow's job markets -- and opportunities -- will be world-wide.

Television will make it possible for an employer in Buenos Aires to interview a job seeker in Philadelphia. New Yorker Felix Cuervo has already pioneered in this direction, interviewing applicants for Civil Aeronautics Administration positions over a 2-way closed circuit. Said Cuervo: "Dress, bearing, manner and ability can be gauged over television about as accurately as in personal interviews."

Thanks again to Tom Z. for the color version of this Closer Than We Think panel.

Previously on Paleo-Future