Shadow Work: The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day - Craig Lambert

In a discussion of his new book, former Harvard Magazine deputy editor Craig Lambert examines the myriad small tasks we perform – from grocery store checkouts to filling our cars with gas – that others once did for pay. It comes at a cost.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
6:30 pm
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Think about some of the little tasks you routinely perform. Scanning and bagging your own groceries. Filling your car with gas. Assembling the bedroom wardrobe you lugged home from IKEA.

Craig Lambert calls it “shadow work” – things you take time to do for free, often via automated tools, that once were done by others for pay. In a discussion of his new book, the former Harvard Magazine deputy editor examines the roots and consequences of the modern-day phenomenon. There’s a cost in face-to-face human contact, in personal service, in entry-level jobs.

Fueled by the twin forces of technology and skyrocketing personnel costs, shadow work has taken a foothold in our society. Lambert terms its prevalence as "middle-class serfdom."