Historian Benjamin Hunnicutt has called the push for more free time the “forgotten American dream"; but somewhere along the way the pursuit of that happiness was replaced by the idea that work and wealth are ends in themselves. This week, we're imagining the utopian and dystopian futures of work. • Brooklyn, USA is produced by Emily Boghossian, Shirin Barghi, Charlie Hoxie, Khyriel Palmer, and Mayumi Sato. If you have something to say and want us to share it on the show, here’s how you can send us a message: https://bit.ly/2Z3pfaW
• Thank you to Alisha Bhagat, Muhammad Floyd, Rob Cameron, Brad Parks, James Earl King, Carlos Luis Delgado, Christopher Lazariuk, and the Kaleidocast podcast.
• Transcript: https://bit.ly/3CH73XL
• Thank you to Alisha Bhagat, Muhammad Floyd, Rob Cameron, Brad Parks, James Earl King, Carlos Luis Delgado, Christopher Lazariuk, and the Kaleidocast podcast.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang is the global programs and research manager for 4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit devoted to advancing the 4-day week. He also offers keynotes about deliberate rest through his own company, Strategy and Rest. Alex's work has been written about in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Guardian, and other venues. Alex is the author of four books, including SHORTER: WORK BETTER, SMARTER, AND LESS– HERE’S HOW (US | UK); REST: WHY YOU GET MORE DONE WHEN YOU WORK LESS (US | UK); and THE DISTRACTION ADDICTION (US).Together, these books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. His op-eds and articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, the South China Morning Post, and many other venues.
Ashley Nelson is the Communications Director at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a global network of over 300 historic sites, museums, and memory initiatives in more than 65 countries dedicated to remembering past struggles and addressing their contemporary legacies. In addition, Ashley has written on culture, politics and women for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The Nation.
Alisha Bhagat is a futurist focusing on the creative use of futures tools to impact long term positive change, particularly around social justice and equality. She utilizes systems thinking, mapping,and speculative futures to engage with stakeholders on strategic visions and the actions needed to achieve them. She has worked with public sector partners on topics such as the future of feminism, neo-nationalism, and the impact of COVID-19.
Carlos Luis Delgado lives with his roommates and a large cat in Brooklyn, New York. He writes speculative fiction early in the morning before the cat wakes up to yowl for breakfast and edits other people’s fiction at night after it’s eaten dinner. In 2016 he won the People’s Telly Award for Outstanding Comedic TV Writing. He holds a BA in English Literature from Rutgers University and wonders when he can let it go. Follow @Delgadowrites.
Christopher Lazariuk is a writer, producer, creator, and sound designer seeking representation for his debut cli-fi thriller novel: THE PYRITE VICTORY. Christopher is a member of the Brooklyn speculative Fiction Writers group, and a contributor to the Kaleidocast Podcast.
Rob Cameron is a teacher, linguist, and writer. He has poetry in Star*Line Poetry Magazine and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. His essays and short fiction have appeared in Foreign Policy Magazine, Tor.com, the New Modality, Solarpunk Magazine, and Clockwork Phoenix Five. His debut middle grade novel Daydreamer is forthcoming from Labyrinth Road, Summer '24. Rob is also lead organizer for the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, a guest host and curator for the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series, and executive producer of Kaleidocast. Follow @cprwords.
The Kaleidocast podcast is an audio literary magazine with a mission to showcase new voices in speculative fiction alongside stories from today’s top writers. The show was created to improve the writing of active Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers members by motivating them towards a tangible goal: Write at a professional level. The show is in its 4th season, and has recently partnered with the Octavia Project to mentor girls and non-binary youth: https://www.kaleidocast.nyc/post/octaviaprojectmentorship. Please support the Kaleidocast's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/kaleidocastnyc.
Muhammad Floyd is an accomplished self-starter with a wide skillset focused on start-to-finish photo/video production from setup to post. Muhammad is adept at photography, camerawork, lighting, and sound, with deep technical knowledge of Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and Blackmagic hardware. He is an end-to-end specialist well-versed in motion graphics, color grading, and other post-production techniques dedicated to delivering under budget and ahead of schedule, while always adhering to the client’s vision.
• MUSIC and CLIPS
This episode featured music from freesound, setuniman, danjfilms, and podcastac. It also featured Harry Partch’s “Delusion of Fury”, used by permission of Innova Recordings and the Harry Partch Foundation.
• TRANSCRIPT: https://bit.ly/3CH73XL
• Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @BRICTV
Visit us online at bricartsmedia.org/Brooklyn-USA
What is Brooklyn, USA?
Brooklyn, USA is a podcast that blends short documentary, hyperlocal journalism, personal narratives, sound art and audiovisual experimentation to reflect the diversity and beauty of our borough. We deliver New York stories told by the people who live them, and cover issues that impact our community in its own voice. #BKUSA
65 | Slow Down A Little Bit - Episode Transcript
Brooklyn, USA | December 7, 2022
[MUSIC BED: Drone swells] Khyriel Palmer: You’re listening to the Brooklyn, USA podcast – an occasional audio love letter from Brooklyn to the world.
[CLIP from “Tomorrow's World 1989 Home Office”]
Narrator 1: It's the office worker of the future, who may have to face not only a change of work style, but a change of workplace.
Narrator 2: That's because the office of the future -- already called a workstation -- is so self-contained that it can exist almost anywhere provided there's a telephone and electrical supply...and far more of us could be working from home by 1981.
Khyriel Palmer: That’s a clip from BBC’s 1979 documentary series, “Tomorrow’s World”. While work styles and work places have changed dramatically since 1979, work is still work and it still occupies most of our waking hours.
Khyriel Palmer: Historian Benjamin Hunnicutt has called the push for more free time the “forgotten American dream”. somewhere along the way, the pursuit of that happiness was replaced by the idea that work and wealth are ends in themselves.
Khyriel Palmer: What does the future of work really hold? And who is thinking expansively about how to shape that future with workers in mind? In this episode, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of a New York City bill proposing a four-day workweek, hear a vision of the future from speculative fiction writer Carlos Delgado, and check our answering machine. This week- imagining the utopian and dystopian futures of work.
[FADE OUT MUSIC]
[4-DAY WORK WEEK]
[FADE UP MUSIC: Marimba ] Assemblymember Ken Burgos: In America, we have this culture of work and the need to work until the wheels fall off.
[SOUND EFFECT, Tape rewind and glitch]
[CLIP: from town hall with Jeb Bush]
Jeb Bush: Workforce participation has to rise from its all time lows cuz people need to work longer hours …. longer hours …. longer hours.
[SOUND EFFECT, Tape rewind and glitch]
[CLIP from News segment]
Announcer: Americans already work more than any other industrialized country on average 47 hours a week.
Assemblymember Ken Burgos: We established a five day workweek decades ago. I mean, it's just outdated at this point, right? The five day workweek has come out from the production of vehicles. It's come out of the Industrial Revolution. There was a time in America where you worked six, seven days a week and they said, listen, we need to have a more balanced work life. I think it's time for employees to take a little more power and say, listen, we can provide the same amount of output, we can receive the same amount of wages and still do this in a four-day working on a lower hourly setting.
[FADE OUT MUSIC]
Assemblymember Ken Burgos: My name is Kenny Burgos. I am the New York City Assembly member for the 85th District in the Bronx. Those are the neighborhoods of Carding Park Soundview, Classen Point, Hunts Point. One of the big things that I think came out of Covid-19 was people really reimagining what work looks like, really questioning what it is they want to get out of their job, and also that work life balance. So it prompted me to look to work my team and look into a bill and see how we can really move forward in implementing, you know, what many have deemed the four day workweek here in New York. So my bill would propose changing the overtime law here in New York. It's a creative solution. And trying to push for a four day workweek where we now have overtime gets triggered at 40 hours. Right. Which basically breaks down to five, eight hour workdays. So my bill would push companies and employers to implement a four day, eight hour workday being a 32 hour workweek. The bill right now is still in its infancy, to be honest. I'm also cognizant of the fact that, you know, we can't do this overnight. You have to kind of bring this in slowly. So we're having conversations with tons of people, from unions to employers to employees to other stakeholders to see and make sure we can get this right. But I'm hopeful we can get it done in the next two years.
Alex Pang: Like everybody, I grew up with the assumption that working more meant that you would be more productive, more successful, etc. And you know, we've all grown up in an era in which overwork looks like the norm. It really seems kind of inevitable and inescapable. I'm Alex Pang. I am director at 4 Day Week Global, which is a nonprofit that helps companies move to four day work weeks without cutting salaries or output or customer service. And it's been, I think, increasingly challenging to think about alternatives to it in a world in which all of our captains of industry or, you know, super successful entrepreneurs have these stories about, you know, working 90 hour weeks and sleeping under their desks, etc..
[CLIP from Gayle King Interview with Elon Musk]
Elon Musk Last time I was here, I actually slept literally on the floor because the couch was too narrow.
Gayle King Yeah, I was going to say... and Elon, I have to say, it's not even a comfortable couch either.
Elon Musk No, it's terrible. It's not a good couch.
News anchor The Internet is aghast and maybe even agog at the couch Elon Musk sleeps on when he works late at Tesla….
Alex Pang: And it started me thinking that actually, you know, maybe in order to do really, really good work, the key to it was not to find ways of working ever longer hours, but maybe it was about figuring out how to work less and to make more time for things that seemed unproductive but helped us be creative.
Alex Pang: Richard Nixon of all people in 1956, when he was running for reelection as vice president, gave a speech about the imminent four day week as an example of the great sort of Republican stewardship of the economy and cooperation between capital and labor and the superiority of sort of the capitalist way of life over those overworked socialists in, you know, the Soviet Union..
[CLIP from the archives]
Announcer: The Honorable Richard Nixon as a leader in the Republican Party....
From New York City, the American Broadcasting Company brings you issues and answers.
Alex Pang: Most of our work consists of sort of taking groups of companies and through the process of planning shorter workweeks, planning trials so that they can kind of test it out for a few months and make sure that it works for them, putting them together also with academics who can get inside these organizations, study them, understand the benefits, but also bring them all together so that they can learn from each other about what's working, what's not, how everyone is solving issues with vacation days or HR policy or something else.
[SOUND EFFECT, Announcement Bell]
Alex Pang: The pandemic changed the way that we think about labor in a couple of ways. You know, first of all, simply the fact that there are millions of people now who are no longer with us because of COVID forced a lot of us to take a pause in our busy lives. And, you know, ask, is the way that we're working, giving us the kind of life that we want? And for a lot of people, the answer turned out to be no.
Assemblymember Ken Burgos: You have some people who lost their jobs. You have some people whose job models completely shifted just as a need, and that just opened people's eyes. So I think the pandemic really accelerated what I believe the job market would have would have gotten to, you know, maybe in a few decades. And I think history will look back and see that that was the biggest catalyst for why we are where we are.
Alex Pang: I think also that going remote forced companies to learn how to use collaborative tools, how to communicate better, how to do a whole bunch of things that turned out to enable their shift to a four day week. The four day week is amazing as a tool for solving a whole bunch of problems simultaneously. For giving entrepreneurs and founders themselves permission to slow down a little bit. To have more rest, you know, helps them make their own lives more sustainable, makes their workers lives more sustainable, and makes their companies more sustainable.
Assemblymember Ken Burgos: There are many companies that have taken this to pilot. There have been countries like Ireland, New Zealand, UK has piloted this in some of their sectors, and a lot of them have seen the same results they've seen, if not the same production. A higher production have seen higher morale, higher staff retention. So I think it's a great opportunity to try this. Now, here in America, the five day workweek is just long outdated and it's time to move forward.
[SOUND EFFECT, Vintage phone ringing and answering machine]
[SOUND EFFECT, Answering machine: Friday, 1:24pm... ]
[SOUND EFFECT, Rapid dial tone]
Ashley Nelson: I believe it was in early January 2021, our executive director decided to implement a four day workweek.
Ashley Nelson My name is Ashley Nelson. I'm the director of communications at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, which is the only global network of historic sites, museums, and memory initiatives that used past struggles to address social justice issues today. I've been working here about seven years, and it's a staff, predominantly female staff, it's woman led. And so I think that was a big factor, I think, in deciding to go to the four day week. I think there are a lot of benefits, especially for women, for that schedule. I think our staff felt like many just burned out, like they were just juggling too many things. And in too tight a space, and everything was lacking energy. You know, are enthusiastic for just our general lives, but also our work lives. And I think we we felt burn it out and large negative director Elizabeth Silk's proposed the idea. We did a pilot program and it was a six month pilot. And at the end of that it was just unanimous. We all really saw it and we continued it and it's been great. I mean, on a personal and professional level, I have I have so appreciated it.
[MUSIC BED: Ethereal music swells] Ashley Nelson: I'm a single mother of two teenage daughters. We have staff with younger children, older children, but we also have staff with no children, but who still need time to sort of care for themselves or care for older parents. We have staff who are going to school who are attempting to get a master's or a B.A. and that is all part of life. And we need to be able to fulfill those duties to was never lost on us, that we work in human rights. I think for some women, honestly, that feel so torn between taking care of children and work life, that can be the difference, I think, between having a job and not having a job.
Ashley Nelson: At least two Fridays a month, I try to do something fun so I will have lunch with a friend or I'll go to a museum or I will do something that's like very intentionally focused on me or just kind of lightening my load a little bit. And then, you know, other times though, it will be taking the car to get an oil change. I'm doing all of those things or bills that have piled up or, you know, it's just taking care of that stuff that just made life stressful. So now it's very handy to have just like, okay, there's a four or five hour window where I can just take care of stuff.
Assemblymember Ken Burgos: I think the pros highly outweigh the cons at this point. You know, with that time, you're able to make more healthy decisions, maybe get more time outside, go to the gym, spend more time with your family, your kids. There's an environmental impact. You know, when you have one day less of 330 million Americans, you know, potentially not traveling to work, maybe not getting in their car, you know, just lowering their overall carbon footprint, maybe because they stay home that day. And there's cost savings to, you know, for employers themselves. You know, we're seeing some employers now not even opting to take space in office buildings. But let's just think for the fact that they may they may just need less space overall. Right now, employers are doing everything they can to attract talent, to retain talent, because the reality is people are changing careers, changing their jobs because another employer's offering them better salary, better incentives, a better work life balance. So companies have to care and they have to pay attention if they want their company to thrive and to to be prosperous in this capitalist economy.
Ashley Nelson: The subject in labor is wide and deep, and it's not a surprise is that labor in some ways is everything. It is a huge chunk of your life, especially in the United States, when health care and so many benefits are connected to full time, five day a week employment, you should be able to have health care without driving yourself insane with work and work hours and your children should be able to. So it is definitely, I think, a labor rights issue.
Alex Pang: Someone said that the four day week was the personal jetpack of the labor movement, that it's something that people have been talking about for ages but had never come to pass. It's less about what your revenues are or how old your company is or how big it is. Having leadership who is committed to trying this, it's open to doing new things that has a kind of experimental mindset. That's the thing. I think that really is crucial. If you've got that, then you can make everything else work.
[VOICE MEMO - ALISHA Bhagat]
[beep] [voicemail] Alisha Bhagat: Hi. My name is Alsha Bhagat, and I work at an organization called Forum for the Future. We are a global sustainability nonprofit and I am the Futures Lead, so I use Futures and Foresight Tools to help organizations think long term about how to create a more just and regenerative future. When I think about work in the future, one of the things that we in the future community look at are things called signals of change. And signals of change are basically seemingly small changes that are happening today that point to potentially paradigm shifting change that could happen in the future. So I think with the future of work, there's a lot of signals that we are seeing today around things like the great resignation, a greater focus on mental health, the greater focus on work life balance that have kind of come through. And I think we haven't quite worked out all the kinks with the shift towards remote working. And I'm particularly talking about white collar jobs here. I know organizations face a lot of turnover and that is somewhat in crisis as to where all these white collar workers living now if cities are no longer the hubs of those office workers. Automation is huge and we see that. So there's sophisticated ways in which automation can take the place of humans in a variety of jobs, including things that we thought could not be automated, like medical services.
Alisha Bhagat: I think also there is the larger proportion of the population that is aging or doesn't want to work or cannot work that I think in the past where there was a lot younger population and there was this idea that we'd have constantly have far more young workers than we have older people. And that's kind of a flip in a lot of countries in the world. I don't know if it'll be as grim as robots taking our our jobs. I went to a presentation about social robots recently and caregiving robots, post-COVID. And I think that we still have a long way to go before those robots are good enough to take over human caregiver jobs. The Diaspora Futures Collective is a group that I started convening during COVID. It is a group of people who self-identify as people of color and are somehow involved in futures work, be they artists or designers, futurists like myself. That work kind of more on a corporate level or people who work within a corporation as a futurist and might create speculative scenarios and do work internally. So the group was kind of founded to say that, hey, you know, there aren't a lot of people like us who are driving mainstream narratives about the future and how can we kind of form our own group to to do that, to examine those mainstream narratives and to also have kind of a safe space for community building?
Alisha Bhagat: Decolonizing the Future is about examining the power imbalances left by colonial legacies in major global systems and trying to identify those with the idea of creating preferred futures. So creating futures that you know, where we can take out the things that no longer serve us and the kind of more just and regenerative world that we're trying to build and and really think thoughtfully about if we're replicating those power imbalances or if we are actively fighting against them. One of the first projects I worked on was around Sustainable Sector. So looking at, you know, there's a number of certifications for tea around organic tea or trade certified tea. And so looking at that and kind of addressing some of these, you know, what is the future of the sector? What do consumers want in the future and where the trend is headed? But then also taking a step back and saying, wait a minute, this whole sector is created on a plantation labor system in which people are generational workers. How could this sector be sustainable if this is how the labor system is organized? So thinking about what? What would that mean? Would we even have tea in the future if we didn't have plantations providing tea? And would it be automated? Unearthing some of those questions is kind of key to the idea of of decolonizing that particular sector. But that's just an example to show what kind of the idea of decolonizing is when applied to the future and how we might think about it.
[SOUND EFFECT, NYC subway announcer] Stand clear of the closing doors, please.
[MUSIC BED: Beat with space-y melody] James Earl King: This is the Kaleidocast. Hello midnight, James Earl King here. The only one wringing the speculative fiction stories that eat, sleep and dream of Brooklyn. This is dangerous, hungry work that doesn't get easier no matter how long I've been at the game. And I'm like everybody else out chasing that paper, trying to carve a little happiness into space time and everybody's got to eat. So I just ordered a fresh story. Special deliveries from Carlos Delgado's a new place opened up on Flatbush and Lincoln a couple of months ago. Let's see what's in the bag…
James Earl Kin Mm hmm.
James Earl King A future flavor, but with a touch of that old school spice. The kind of magic you won't find on the other side of the Washington Bridge. I kind of wish you could be in the studio with me so you can smell what I smell. Taste what I taste. Best I could do is let you listen.
Wilson Fowley: Special Deliveries by Carlos Luis Delgado. Narrated by Wilson Fowley.
Wilson Fowley, Narration: The Epicurious app dispatched Juan Lazaro all over Brooklyn. Of all the delivery zones, he tried avoiding East Bush-Sty the most. Bad traffic, worse tips and blinding e-murals advertising eight, nine and ten bedroom lofts available today. But some nights, disappointment was the only thing on the menu. His customers seem to agree.
Wilson Fowley as an angry customer: "This is unacceptable," she said the moment she opened the door.
Wilson Fowley as an angry customer: "You're late. Is the food even warm?"
Wilson Fowley, narration: Juan wasn't late and the e-bike storage kept deliveries warm. But there was no point arguing with all those fast fashion wood elf mods, pointed ears and golden hair vines included. She didn't look like much of a tipper. Still, he handed her a bag of Lembas and hummus from Elrond's Middle-terranean restaurant and said,
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: "Order for [eo-leo-thanathel]?" Juan's smartwatch buzzed against his wrist. He stifled a yawn. Another customer wanting an overpriced fantasy themed meal in the middle of the night. How long since he last slept? It was micro-hurricane-ing and it was 3 a.m.. And Juan had a wife, Marta, waiting for him. a wife, with three rounds of antivirals left and 20 credits short of covering the next one. Juan tapped accept and turned as wish-dot-come Galadriel slammed her door shut. Of course, no tip. His sigh threatened to drag him to the floor. But Juan shook it off, made the sign of the cross, and headed out into the night. Rain pelted his plastic poncho as Juan pulled up to a medieval revivalist condo overlooking the East River. Lightning split the sky and he wondered how a stone tower was considered luxurious. Concern only crept in the moment. His customer answered the door. Sickly sweet fumes filled the hallway. Juan didn't understand why some people were obsessed with death. His cousin Anna was goth, but she only went as far as wearing black wedding dresses every day. But this customer must have paid a fortune to weather himself down a jerky.
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: "Order for Chad-Thul?" Juan asked. Chad Thul glared with eyes made to look like two green flames burning in empty sockets. His voice rasp as if he'd swallowed a pound of sand. The few words Juan caught weren't English or Spanish. Juan held out the bag.
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: "garlic crumble, Phoenix wings?" The aroma of garlic and herbs pouring from the hot bag didn't mix well with the rancid hallway stench. The skeletal customer hissed, recoiling from the outstretched bag, the hollow torches lining the hallway dimmed and a sudden chill bit through Juan Lazaro.
Willson Fowley as Chad Thul: "oooooh", his customer said. "I have a phoenix allergy."
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: Juan's lizard brain screamed for him to run. He eyed the distance between him and the elevator. "I'm sorry?".
Willson Fowley asChad Thul: "I did not order this. I ordered Rat tar tar on Bedford Avenue.".
Wilson Fowley: The restaurant bought, packed the wrong order, and now Juan had a pissed off customer and no tip. Another wasted night instead of spending it with his sick wife. What the hell was the point of working yourself to death?
Willson Fowley as Chad Thul” "Are you all right?" Chad-Thul rasp. Juan looked up from the stone floor, unclenching his shaking fist.
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: "Yes." He lied. "I'm sorry for the mix up. If you contact the app, they'll refund your money. Do you still want the order?" He held out the bag.
Willson Fowley as Chad Thul: "No." Chad-Thul said. "That's okay. I was really looking forward to the rat." Juan considered the disappointment crinkling Chad-Thul's face.
Willson Fowley as Juan Lazaro: "You know, if you like rat," Juan whispered. "You'll die for Bordeaux's bounty on Metropolitan. Nobody roasts rodents like them. I'll put an order in for you. They deliver. I'll make sure they give you a discount." Chad-Thul's modded eyes flared with hope. Then he disappeared around the door. The app on Juan's phone flashed, delivery complete and a hefty tip. Enough to cover Marta's next round of antivirals. Juan gasped, collected himself and shouted, "Hey, thank you so much." Chad-Thul reappeared. The slightest trails of smoke trickled out from his green flaming eyes. "I love the mods", Juan added. "Very spooky", Chad-Thul, smiled, and what must have been artisanally sharpened teeth gleamed yellow.
Willson Fowley as Chad Thul: "I apologize for my previous outburst," he said. "Phoenix meat cures wounds and well, look at me. But Rat." Someone or something groaned from inside the penthouse. "You can keep the wings," Chad-Thul said, then slammed the door shut. Juan Lazaro shuddered and turned to leave. In Brooklyn, the later it gets, the weirder it gets. But staying out for that last delivery had been worth it. Juan Lazaro called his sister in law at Ambrose Bounty and put in the rich goth's order. Chad-Thul thought he was getting rat delivered, but really it was guinea pig, an Ecuadorian specialty.
Wilson Fowley: Carlos Luis Delgado is a Brooklyn based speculative fiction writer and editor. He leads workshops for the Brooklyn speculative fiction writers and is always looking for new classes to take. He's been previously published as part of My Father's Files, a mystery horror podcast. This is his second publication. Wilson family lives in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada, and has been reading aloud since the age of four. His life has changed recently. He lost his wife to cancer, and he changed jobs from programing to recording voiceovers for instructional videos, which he loves doing, but not as much as he loved Heather.
James Earl King: Thank you for listening to the collider cast at Dot NYC, a production of the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers. This episode was produced by Rob Cameron and engineered by Christopher Lesser. Our intro music is used by permission of Enigma recordings and the Harry Potter Foundation. If you like what you hear, please leave a message on iTunes or our website.
[VOICE MEMO - M FLOYD]
[voicemail] [beep] Muhammad Floyd: Hey, what's up? My name is Muhammad Floyd. I'm 30 years old from Mt. Vernon, New York. I'm a digital media mentor at a nonprofit. And when I'm not doing that, I'm a freelance filmmaker and photographer. And my main job, what I do is create curriculum, teach and mentor young black and brown youth who want to get careers in the creative industry. And when I'm not doing that, I'm working in the commercial documentary and sports spaces as a photographer and filmmaker. So this is the first time ever I've been in a full time job where they implemented a four day workweek. The only real adjusting that I had to do was making sure that I finished all deliverables at work within those four days because I definitely didn't want it to spill into my nice three day weekend. Instead of, like, getting a project or getting an assignment and just like making it last an entire five days for no reason, it forces me to make sure I use my time wisely. I don't know about other people. Sometimes, you know, people take work home because they need to finish it and they couldn't finish it at work. I don't like doing that. So knowing that I have only four days to do everything, it makes me want to finish everything faster, honestly, but also on another end. With Friday almost acting like a buffer to the weekend. Sometimes I'll take that Friday because I work salary. I'll take that Friday and actually work on stuff before the week starts because I work a salary, so it's five days or four days. I get paid the same amount regardless. It definitely does save the money in a way of like upkeep and maintenance of a physical space. So because we're not all in an office on that Friday, save money on electricity, water, gas, maintenance and cleaning. One less day, that's not going to be a regular thing for every kind of job out there. Recognize my privilege. I work in a small nonprofit that deals in a space of creativity. It's convenient for us and we're allowed to do that. My bosses are really great people that care about us as humans. Not every job is like that. Know, I don't think there's any disadvantage to the employer with a four day work week because if you look at productivity from workers, people do most of the work in a day, within a few hours instead of the whole 8 hours. Because of our society, we're able to do more work in less time. When compared to decades ago. So an eight hour work day or 40 hour work week isn't really efficient. After a certain amount of time, people are going to create more work if you give them more time. They're really just twiddling their thumbs or talking by the water fountain and or just bugging people at work because they have literally time to kill. What's great about a four day workweek is that people can actually live their life. And my job, they do things to support the employees as humans and not just support the employees to keep them happy, to keep working at some place. Because I'm off, I can run errands and hang out with friends. So it's really helpful to my work life balance, which is helpful for my mental health. I'm able to easily work on creative projects that fuel me as a creative. I get to talk to my family more because I'm not super exhausted. You know, you have your family coming home from work, don't want to talk to anybody. So I actually get to just hang out with my mom more now because I have the Friday off. They may never experience or have the opportunity for a four day workweek. That's because living in a capitalistic society where capitalists are making profit off of humans in the human lives, a four day workweek doesn't make sense to them. I want to see people actually have a work life balance. I want to see ways where employers are not exploiting their employees. And unfortunately, in a capitalist society, it's promoted for employers to exploit their employees. So for the future, I hope to see there's a different system for us as a people. The four day workweek is a larger conversation to how we are treated as humans within the workplace. There's always a conversation and as a conversation that needs to continuously happen until people are given the rights that they are owed at the workplace and not treated as commodities to just make money off of them and then discard them when they're unusable. That just doesn't make sense. And it's not right.
[MUSIC BED: Beat with space-y melody] Khyriel Palmer: Brooklyn, USA is produced by me, Khyriel Palmer…
Emily Boghossian: and me Emily Boghossian,
Shirin Barghi: and me Shirin Barghi
Charlie Hoxie: and me, Charlie Hoxie
Mayumi Sato: and me, Mayumi Sato
Khyriel Palmer: …with help this week from Alisha Bhagat, Muhammad Floyd, Rob Cameron, Brad Parks, James Earl King, Carlos Luis Delgado, Christopher Lazariuk, and the Kaleidocast podcast.
Khyriel Palmer: Alex Pang is the author of the books SHORTER, REST, and DISTRACTION ADDICTION.You can follow him on Twitter @askpang.
Khyriel Palmer: The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience is a global network of historic sites connecting the past to today’s movements. Check them out on Instagram @sitesofconscience.
Khyriel Palmer: You can follow Alisha Bhagat on twitter @AlishaBhagat and learn about the Diaspora Futures Collective on her website https://www.alishabhagat.com/
Khyriel Palmer: To learn more about Kaleidocast – a podcast from the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers Group – visit www.Kaleidocast.nyc. And check the show notes for a link to support their patreon.
Khyriel Palmer: To view Muhammad Floyd’s photography and videos, visit www.mfloyd.work.
Khyriel Palmer: If you want to tell us a story, or somehow end up on the podcast, check the show notes for a link to our guide on recording a voice memo on your mobile phone and sending it to us on the internet. And if you like what you hear or think we missed something, comment, like, share and subscribe, and follow @BRICTV on twitter and instagram, for updates.
Khyriel Palmer: For more information on this and all BRIC Radio podcasts, visit www.bricartsmedia.org/radio.
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