Research on new media work suggests that older, established management
practices have little role in contemporary precarious working lives. In their place, a
different form of management has taken hold a management of self, in which
power operates not through formal, top-down structures or bureaucratic rationalities
but through technologies of selfhood in which a novel form of worker-subjectivity is
incited into being. . .In new media work there is a great deal to take care of --
particularly, but not exclusively, for those freelancing or setting up microbusinesses.
You are required to train yourself; keep up-to-date; find or create your own work;
monitor your progress; compare yourself to others; anticipate what comes next;
maintain your distinct reputation; meet deadlines whatever costs they exert on your
body or relationships; prepare for contingencies such as illness, injury, or old age;
make contacts; network; and socialize and to do all of this is an atmosphere in
which your success or failure is understood in entirely individualistic terms. There is
no time when you can switch it off, because all of life has become a ‘social factor’
(Tronti, 1966), an opportunity for work. . .There is no outside to work, as one of the
interviewees put it: Life itself is a pitch. (Gill as cited in Deuze, 2011, p. 260)
The projects participants echo the sentiments expressed by Rosalind Gill where they not
only must deal with constantly upgrading technological skills, leveraging their time and
energy, finding their work and negotiating deals, developing and maintaining a social
network, and most importantly completing the work in a timely, responsible and personable
manner. In addition, they have the precariousness of tighter budgets and deadlines
precipitated by the dot-com crash, September 11th and heading into the recession. This is
not to say that full-time workers are not reeling in the same manner, but freelancers
completely lack the safety net of unemployment compensation.
Carol E. Beck (Videographer): Post 9/11 Freelance and Flipping Off The Flip
There is also the realization for many of these freelancers of the post September 11th era
that a different kind of expectation is evolving. Carol, a videographer for nationally
recognized corporate clients comments on the new freelance and flippantly says, “We
want you to work for endless hours for no pay freelance work.” Carol discusses the lesson
and high price she paid for holding client expenses post 9/11:
There was a lot of economic fallout from post 9/11. Companies froze their
accounts. I was left holding the bag on thousands of dollars worth of expenses I
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