Monday, August 18, 2008

So you think you want to work at home

…Sue Shellenbarger writes about how Big Bro cannot leave home workers well enough alone (WSJ, July 30, 2008).

…Companies are hiring independent contractors, then stripping them of their independence by spying on them with webcams and keystroke counters.

…They take screen shots at random times (better not be the horoscope onscreen), count mouse clicks, and snap photos of the workers to see if they look alert.

…As gas gets more expensive, more poor fools will find themselves on an electronic leash.

…Can’t go to the john without fear and guilt, how much coffee are you drinking?, why do you look pale, were you out late? This stuff is not healthful, either.

…A big culprit in the spy biz is oDesk, a bidding company in which freelancers are invited to ax each other and race to the bottom of the pay scale—only to be spied on.

…Supposedly oDesk workers put up with this because the company pays promptly. Freelancers are such a wretched lot—sell out for this!

…Other companies ask workers to schedule bathroom breaks—unpaid, of course—ahead of time.

…And if you are a customer service rep working from home, heaven forbid the boss tunes in and your dog barks.

..The dog is fired immediately.

…One woman’s little pet knows that and clams up when she starts talking on the phone.

…It’s a bitch.


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