Work & careers

Record numbers of NHS staff quitting due to long hours | Society

Record numbers of burned-out NHS staff are quitting because they are fed up with spending too much time at work and not enough with their families, research reveals. The number of personnel leaving the NHS because of a poor work-life balance has almost trebled in the past seven years, analysis by the Health Foundation thinktank shows. Between June 2010 and June 2011, 3,689 employees cited that as the reason they had decided to stop working for the NHS in England.…

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‘Universities stamp out creativity’: are graduates ready for work? | Education

A few numbers are enough to sum up how far the world of work is changing. More than six million workers fear their jobs could be replaced by machines in the next 10 years. Around 1.1 million people now work in the gig economy, using online platforms to find small, often on-demand, jobs. And a third of graduates find themselves mismatched to the jobs they secure on graduation. What universities can do to prepare their graduates for an unknown future…

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Secret Teacher: I hated teaching – until I realised my school was the problem | Teacher Network

Not so long ago, I was ready to quit teaching. Now, I’ve got my sights on leadership. The difference is my headteacher. Under my previous head, I got the point where I couldn’t go on. I was signed off work with anxiety and stress. At school, we’d been under intense pressure to get more children to expected levels to show the school was improving – and were always on edge thanks to drop-in observations. As a member of the school…

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Free money wouldn’t make people lazy – but it could revolutionise work | Anna Dent | Opinion

The danger of so-called “free money” not only underpins critiques of universal basic income (UBI), but also the incredibly strong narratives that underlie the attitudes to work in the UK (and elsewhere) – and our unemployment benefit system. Paid employment is held up as one of the ultimate markers of being a valuable member of society, with those not in paid work (always described in these narratives as a voluntary position, rather than as the result of issues outside their…

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Four-day working week: share your experiences and views | Money

Moving to a four day week: is it the ideal way to achieve a better work-life balance or simply a luxury incompatible with the modern world? We’re looking to explore questions around the idea and gather your perspectives for an upcoming article. In September, the head of the TUC said advances in technology mean that a four-day week working week is a realistic goal for most people by the end of this century. “We can win a four-day working week,…

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A 4.30am start and three-minute toilet breaks: are you ready for microscheduling? | Life and style

Work is one of the biggest sources of stress in our lives, second only to health problems, according to a survey for the Mental Health Foundation last year. What work and productivity coaches call “overwhelm” is widespread, as notifications, conversations, distractions and interruptions all get in the way of actually getting stuff done. And not getting stuff done because you are overwhelmed is sure only to make matters worse. One response favoured by productivity gurus is microscheduling – creating a…

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Schools staff crisis looms as austerity hits teachers’ pay | Education

Ministers have conceded that teachers’ pay has fallen by thousands of pounds a year since the public spending austerity drive began, amid warnings of a “looming crisis” in attracting and retaining new staff. Classroom pay has fallen by more than £4,000 a year since 2010 in real terms, according to a government assessment. Damian Hinds, the education secretary, warned that only a 2% increase can be expected for the next academic year. The admission comes in the Department for Education’s…

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Who’s going to care about the women being forced out of work? | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

What would drive thousands of people a year out of jobs they love, or need, with no certainty about whether they will ever be able to come back? If you have parents of a certain age, you might already have guessed the answer. About 600 people a day are giving up their jobs to look after elderly or sick relatives, the charity Carers UK estimates, a hidden exodus from working life that we don’t discuss nearly enough. Young women are…

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Work isn’t working – but a four-day week would help fix it | Will Stronge | Opinion

Our current political moment is defined by a state of paralysis. By refusing to face the reality of a broken economic model, reactionary forces are driving us towards a future based on exclusion, continued deregulation and the scrapping of workers’ rights. Instead of conceding to this “inevitable” race to the bottom, progressive forces of all kinds need to meet the crises of the 21st century head-on by putting forward proposals that tangibly improve people’s lives. As Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated…

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Why we must resist the cult of ‘performative workaholism’ | Money

#ThankGodIt’sMonday! This is the rallying cry of a new movement of work obsessives, according to a widely shared opinion piece on “performative workaholism” in the New York Times. These ergomaniacs encourage each other to “hustle harder”. They drink from water coolers containing floating cucumbers carved with pro-work slogans, such as “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.” “No one ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” Elon Musk, the patron saint of the #TIGM movement announced…

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The Guardian view on teacher shortages: the trouble with data | Editorial | Opinion

The government’s teacher recruitment and retention strategy for England contains much that is sensible and desperately needed. Key recruitment targets have been missed for six years in a row. In some subjects, and some parts of the country, shortages are acute. In physics, for example, the number of trainees last year was just 47% of the number sought. Bursaries trialled on maths graduates appear not to have solved the problem. A third of new teachers give it up within five…

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The Guardian view on working hours: when more means less | Opinion

The poet Philip Larkin, no friend of feminism, wondered why he let “the toad work / Squat on my life? … Six days of the week it soils / With its sickening poison – / Just for paying a few bills! That’s out of proportion.” Six days a week was even then rather old-fashioned: most of the industrial world had moved on to a five-day, 40-hour week by 1970, after more than a century of agitation, and there was an…

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Working mothers ‘up to 40% more stressed’ | Money

They may have had more than a sneaking suspicion that it was the case, but now working mothers have the data to back it up: they are indeed more stressed than other people – 18% more, in fact. And that figure rises to 40% for those with two children, according to a major study that analysed 11 key indicators of chronic stress levels. Professor Tarani Chandola, of Manchester University, and Dr Cara Booker, Professor Meena Kumari and Professor Michaela Benzeval,…

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My colleague is a nerdy know-all who rewrites all my work. What should I do? | Life and style

I am in a line of work where it is standard practice for one’s work to be read over by a colleague in order to spot any mistakes before being submitted to the client. Even though I still have my problems with this after years of it, I can see the point. However, I have one particular colleague who basically rewrites my work. He doesn’t stop at correcting actual errors, he makes stylistic changes too – so many that I’m…

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My toxic supervisor ruined my health – but my university did nothing | Anonymous academic | Education

I arrived in the UK with a highly skilled work visa and a prestigious European grant. I thought I had hit the jackpot: my contract guaranteed enough money to pay the bills and fund high-quality research, my supervisor was a big name in the field, and my project would allow me to pursue big ideas and make a difference. But that’s not how things turned out. The superstar supervisor turned out to represent everything wrong with academia. During one of…

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Manchester led the way with a four-day working week | Letters | Money

It’s good to see that the Wellcome Trust is considering shortening the working week for its head office staff to boost productivity and introduce a better work-life balance (Wellcome Trust considers letting workers move to four-day week, 19 January). As a former BBC journalist, I can attest to the benefits of a four-day week – even though it was introduced in secret, and all of 47 years ago! BBC Radio Manchester was still in its infancy when the station manager…

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Red Bull wants us to leave work at 4pm. I couldn’t agree more | Opinion

I’m not squeamish, except for one small thing: I cannot repeat rhyming couplets. So I can’t tell you exactly what Red Bull’s latest London Underground advert says because it uses this mawkish lyrical form. I can tell you that it was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for promising health benefits that fizzy drinks aren’t allowed to do (nope, not even Shloer). I can even describe that promise, in a roundabout way: Red Bull will make you feel so energetic…

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Wellcome Trust could become first big employer to launch four-day week | UK news

That Friday feeling could soon be switched to Thursday, at one major employer at least. The Wellcome Trust is considering moving all of its 800 head office staff to a four-day week in a bid to boost productivity and improve work-life balance. A trial of the new working week at the £26bn London-based science research foundation could start as soon as this autumn, giving workers Fridays off to do whatever they want with no reduction in pay. Some parts of…

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