Week 3 | Being a Creative Labourer and the Nature of Contemporary Work

This article discusses the nature of working in the contemporary media industry. Those involved in freeland media production for instance web content creators are often overworked and underpaid. The new freelance writing industry runs off a low pay model where creators are often paid less then a cent per word. This is often for content farms critzized for being ‘digital sweatshops’ that devalues research and professional writing while exploiting freelance workers.

Lobato & Thomas show that today’s most in-demand knowledge workers choose to work in a less routine way than the traditional formal format. Employees often work on move and have flexible hours following an entrepreneurial style of creative work. While this flexibility may seem pleasurable, the informal work style has been criticised for being problematic. This is due to factors such as underemployment, lack of security, self-exploitation, discrimination and unpaid overtime. Game developers are often made to work extensive unpaid overtime when near an important deadline.

As a potential future employee in the media industry it’s important for me to understand the current contemporary labour landscape. Especially with the amount of informal work out there and employers who are willing to take advantage of young graduates, expecting them to work for free or at least cheap. I should only work for free if I believe the experience and contact is worthwhile in terms of advancing my knowledge and advance my chance of future employment.


Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas, 2015, ‘Work’ in The Informal Media Economy, Polity Press, Cambridge UK, ch.3

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