Are you part of the most stressed-out demographic in America?

Are you a young woman between the ages of 18 and 33 living in the US? Tell us how stress affects you and how you cope

If you happen to be a working woman and below the age of 33, congratulations – you belong to the most stressed-out demographic in America.

According to a new survey from the American Psychological Association, more than a third of US employees are seriously stressed thanks to “low salaries, lack of opportunity for advancement and heavy workloads”. But not everyone feels the effects of stress equally.

Women in the survey reported feeling less valued than their male co-workers, less satisfied with their salaries, less likely to agree that their “employer provides sufficient opportunities for internal career advancement”. They were also less likely to use time off and flexible schedule arrangements to help them balance work and personal responsibilities.

Another recent study from the APA confirmed women were feeling particularly anxious – but it also found that young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 33) are “the most stressed-out generation“.

More than half of young adults surveyed said they had lain awake at night in the past month due to stress, and that they were more likely to engage in “unhealthy behaviors like over-eating, drinking alcohol and smoking to manage stress”.

Sound familiar?

Are you a woman between the ages of 18 and 33? Do you struggle to cope with work-related stress? Tell us about how stress affects you, and the ways you try and cope. We’ll publish your responses (using first names only) in the Guardian:

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vogue’s Alexandra Shulman joins backlash against working from home

Head of British Vogue backs Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, who has told workers they must come into office

Days after Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, demanded Silicon Valley home-workers turned up at the office, British bosses are also questioning just whom flexible working really benefits.

Writing in Saturday’s Guardian, the head of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, admits that her instant reaction to employee requests to work from home is “no”. She argues: “It’s very pleasant and often very constructive, but it is not doing the same job as I do at work and neither is it for anyone else.”

Shulman – like Mayer, a working mother at the top of her profession – said that while Yahoo’s chief might have disappointed many workers, she agreed with her. “We have come to believe that working at home is a completely adequate alternative to showing our face in the office. But it’s not.”

Mayer’s diktat states that all 11,500 Yahoo employees now have to go into the office to ensure better communication. She said working from home meant that “speed and quality are often sacrificed”.

The British online business Mind Candy, the firm behind children’s Moshi Monsters, has also concluded that office space is best, and is moving to a new London office to bring all its employees together. Its chief executive, Michael Acton Smith, said working remotely was not best for business. He told the Evening Standard: “Our preferred setup is everyone being under the same roof.”

Signs of a backlash against homeworking were evident last year. Feared transport chaos at the London Olympics was averted after tube managers persuaded millions to fire up their home computer. But Boris Johnson derided what he called “telecottaging” and told business leaders: “I don’t want to see the Olympics turned into a skivers’ paradise. You should expect your staff to turn up.” Critics of the position held by the London mayor and Mayer believe that the tide is with homeworking: a 2011 CBI survey showed 59% of companies allowed employees to work from home.

The advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell positioned himself “somewhere in the middle”, but said in his industry it was female workers who were best able to take advantage of flexibility.

“You want a bit of both. You need to have flexibility,” the WPP chief executive said in an interview with Reuters. “Women are much better organisers of time in our industry than men. I would argue they’re even better at doing their jobs than men in our industry generally.”

Stefan Stern, visiting professor of management practice at Cass Business School, London, said: “I find it slightly depressing actually – five decades of management thought and research has told us we should be worrying more about what people do and how they do it, and not where they do it.

“In this era of knowledge work, brain power, empowering well-educated, intelligent people to do interesting things – the idea that you need to recreate the classroom ethos, that physically turning up is the answer to creativity and better ideas … I don’t get it.” He added: “Offices can be incredibly unproductive places. But managers do like to supervise and they do like to see people.”

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Amicus brief makes Obama a true friend of gay equality | Jason Farago

It’s astounding how far this administration – and this president – have come in making good the promise on same-sex marriage

In his second inaugural address this past January, Barack Obama laid out an expansive vision of gay equality under the law, doing away with his earlier triangulations and declaring that “if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” For gay Americans, whom the president sometimes disappointed in his first term, it was a stirring moment. But it remained to be seen whether Obama’s actions would match his rhetoric.

Thursday, we got our answer, when the Justice Department filed a brief with the US supreme court to argue that Proposition 8 – the California provision that forbids same-sex marriage – is unconstitutional. After weeks of suggestions that the Obama administration was going to stay silent, they crashed in – just hours before the court’s deadline – and the document (pdf) is breathtaking.

It’s not just the sweep of its argument, in which the federal government argues that gay rights are civil rights. It’s also the speed with which such an argument became inevitable that’s stunning.

Back in 2009, the Obama Justice Department was still arguing against gay equality, with disgusting references to incest laws and child marriage. This time last year, the president would not even say he supported gay couples’ right to wed.

Today, though, his administration endorses a bolder and more aggressive vision of gay equality than the courts have ever allowed. This is an astounding transformation, and one that has more to do with great shifts in public opinion than in any legal argument.

Remember that when the supreme court takes up the question of gay marriage on 26 March, they’ll actually be considering two cases. One is Windsor v US, which aims to void the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), the law denying married gay couples the federal benefits of marriage. That case, brought by a New York woman hit with a massive tax bill after her wife died, is about as open-and-shut as we could ask for: it appeals to both gay rights advocates and to limited-government conservatives who don’t want Washington telling states how to act. Victory is almost assured.

Hollingsworth v Perry, the Prop 8 case, has always been a trickier one – not only because the questions it considers are tougher, but because it’s possible to win but win in the wrong way. The Roberts court likes to play games sometimes, and many legal scholars have opined that Prop 8 could be overturned on a technicality. That would give gays in California the right to wed but fail to say anything about gay rights themselves.

Unlike racial minorities, religious groups and women, gays have never – not even once, not even when sodomy laws were struck down – won a supreme court case on the grounds that we merit the equal protection of the law. And this is why the brief yesterday matters: because it loudly, unashamedly proclaims that gays are Americans, and that laws discriminating against gays cannot be justified. Here’s the money paragraph, complete with legalistic parenthetical numbering:

“(1) gay and lesbian people have suffered a significant history of discrimination in this country; (2) sexual orientation generally bears no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society; (3) discrimination against gay and lesbian people is based on an immutable or distinguishing characteristic that defines them as a group; and (4) notwithstanding certain progress, gay and lesbian people – as Proposition 8 itself underscores – are a minority group with limited power to limited power to protect themselves from adverse outcomes in the political process, as Proposition 8 itself indicates.”

In other words, this isn’t just about one marriage law but about the fundamental question of equality itself.

Obama’s team is asking the court to say what it has never yet said, that gays deserve the equal protection of the laws – and if they finally hold as much, the repercussions will be enormous: it will cut down the justification for every kind of discriminatory law in sectors from health to housing to education.

Even if we don’t get that far this time around, it’s already a major victory that our federal government – which, not too long ago, used to drum men and women out of their jobs for being homosexual – is now speaking with such clarity and force.

The brief goes on to argue that if a state offers civil unions to gays, but reserves the designation of marriage only for straight couples, then that’s discrimination and it has to end. If the justices followed the federal government’s logic, same-sex marriage would then become legal not only in California, but in the seven other states that offer civil unions but not marriage to gay couples. (Those are Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.)

The brief stops short of saying that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under the constitution. But as so often with Obama’s gay politics, you have to interpret beyond the surface. If gays are equal under the law, and if laws forbidding gays to marry violate that equality, then every state constitutional amendment that blocks gay marriage has to go.

Saying as much remains a big lift for this conservative court, however, so the Obama administration is trying to position the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage as a two-part affair. First, win this year, with a decision that guarantees gays equality under the law. Then, come back soon with that decision in your pocket, and with public opinion even more firmly at our backs, and take out the rest.

It’s OK to be a little impatient. Impatience is good politics – it’s our impatience that forced the president’s hand last year, and that has led to this stunning governmental about-face. But according to Lyle Denniston, a leading court watcher who writes for SCOTUSBlog, it was the president himself who decided that the government should enter the case when many court-watchers believed it would remain silent. Obama – a constitutional law professor in a previous life – even helped craft the argument.

In the space of less than a year, we’ve pushed our president and his government from wishy-washy compromises to full-throated endorsements of gay equality. Yet what really counts, in yesterday’s historic brief, is how the government says it. Obama’s ringing statement this January that “the love we commit to one another must be equal as well” had its beauty, but now his government has put those words into action, spinning out that one inaugural sentence into a ringing legal document that may have massive implications.

Win or lose this spring, it’s astounding progress – and that’s something of which gay Americans, and everyone who supports us, should be very, very proud.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Sheryl Sandberg is more of a feminist crusader than people give her credit for | Jill Filipovic

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s new book Lean In has plenty for feminists and all women to applaud – and learn from

Before I read her book or heard her speak, I was prepared to hate Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and scoff at her recent leap into feminism. A New Yorker profile of her in 2011 left the impression that she thought women lagged in the workplace because they didn’t work hard enough.

Her small class of female corporate leaders included Hewlett Packard CEO turned Republican politician Carly Fiorina and Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, who just cut telecommuting to the chagrin of many working parents. The US is a country where there is no federally-mandated maternity leave, where legal recourse for unequal pay was only recently enshrined into law and where sexism is folded into our culture, our policies and our homes. And Sandberg is a very wealthy, very privileged woman. What does she know about leveling the gender playing field?

As it turns out, quite a bit. Sandberg’s book Lean In, available on 11 March, is meticulously researched, with Sandberg first addressing the “chicken and egg” problem of gender inequality: the chicken being that “women will get rid of the external barriers once we achieve leadership roles,” and the egg of needing “to eliminate the external barriers to get women into those roles in the first place”. Sandberg declares that both are crucial, and after detailing the many structural impediments women face and saying she supports the efforts of feminist policy-makers, makes clear that the purpose of this book is to address the chicken. She pens a call for women who need policy change but also need to make their lives better now, telling us that we can take a seat at the table, expect more from men, and stop beating ourselves up for not “having it all”.

Sandberg’s book essentially gives us permission to be pushy broads. And the world needs more pushy broads.

But you might not know that if you’ve been reading reviews of Lean In – many of them written, thus far, by people who admit they haven’t even read the book. All the media narratives about how Sandberg is on a “blame women” faux-feminist campaign or that she’s out of touch or that she doesn’t care about necessary policy shifts? They’re largely based on one New York Times article, which featured an out-of-context (and now corrected) quote from Sandberg about how she always wanted to run a social movement. That article also implied that the women and work issue comes down to two camps: Team Sheryl, championing Sandberg’s alleged view that women simply need to advocate for themselves at work, and Team Anne-Marie Slaughter, who has been critical of Sandberg and has argued that we need big systematic policy changes to achieve real equality.

I’m personally a member of Team Both. We need policy change and consciousness shifts. Luckily, that’s precisely what Lean In says. Sandberg just encourages women to work with what we have in the here and now:

In addition to the external barriers erected by society, women are also hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives – the messages that say it’s wrong to be outspoken, aggressive, more powerful than men. We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.

That’s as feminist a message as any, which is why the Lean In backlash from feminists has been so depressing.

There is much to be gleaned from Lean In, although of course women in different spheres will have different takeaways. Some of what Sandberg suggests is helpful to all women – the basics of advocating for yourself, not backing away from opportunities you want because you think they’ll be inconsistent with a family you don’t yet have, feeling entitled to a seat at the table, expecting more from men. And some of her anecdotes and pieces of advice are much more relevant to women who are like her in being “fortunate enough to have choices about how much and when and where to work” than to the many women who don’t have those luxuries.

Like any book, every line is not going to be relevant to every person. Given that it’s written by a professional businesswoman imparting her earned wisdom along with her gender-related research to readers, the book skews toward more educated women who see their work as a career instead of simply a get-the-bills-paid job. And there were many sections such as the emphasis on motherhood and heterosexual relationships that didn’t resonate with me particularly, as a single woman without kids.

Like nearly every feminist tome before it, it’s not a perfect book. But it’s a very good one, and it’s a crucial call to action.

It’s also coming from an unlikely place. There are very few women at the top, and many of them got there by figuring out how to play nice with the boys. Penning a feminist manifesto is not exactly the way to win friends on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. Sandberg did what feminists are always asking powerful women in business and politics to do – stand up for gender equality – which is why it’s so disappointing to see many in the feminist camp essentially telling her to shut up and sit down.

Will more women at the tippy-top of our institutions of power and influence mean more woman-friendly policies and increased gender equality generally, as Sandberg suggests? I don’t know. There are so few women in positions of power that all of them are by definition outliers, and their actions aren’t indicative of much. But the more powerful women exist, the more normalized female power becomes. And the normalization of female authority and influence is good for all women.

Which is why I’m glad Sandberg is speaking out. I’m glad she’s using her platform to help give women the tools to succeed, and to encourage all of us to go out and get what we want. The real strength of Lean In is in its Rosie the Riveter 2.0 message: “You can do it! Here’s how.”

There has to be that balance between You Go Girl cheerleading and clear-eyed assessment of the challenges women face. Women today receive startlingly mixed messages about success. Barbie might be a doctor, but women can’t “have it all”. We should be good smart girls who work hard in school, but everyone hates Tracy Flick. We can be whatever we want to be, but if we enter the professional world we’re treated to endless female-centric panels on “work-life balance” – as if balancing work and life is solely a women’s issue. We should achieve highly, but we shouldn’t be ambitious or self-promotional or competitive with men. We need to perform better than our male peers, but we can’t be too threatening – smile, sister, and wear a more feminine suit.

In the real world, women are under-payed at every level of employment. We’re disproportionately concentrated in poorly-compensated “pink collar” jobs that often involve care work. Americans live in the only developed nation that offers no federally mandated maternity leave, not to mention sick days or vacation. Federally-funded childcare seems like a pipe dream; livable wages, comprehensive benefits and collective bargaining arrangements for all workers feel similarly far off.

Men gain innumerable benefits simply by virtue of being men. They’re perceived as more competent and more hirable, are offered higher starting salaries than identical female candidates, and tend to be promoted on the basis of their perceived potential, while women need to show past accomplishments. As women become more successful, they’re perceived as less likable; for men, it’s the opposite. Only 9% of dual-earner households report equal sharing of childcare and household responsibilities, and full-time working mothers do 30% more house work and 40% more childcare than their husbands.

Almost all of the above paragraph, by the way, is culled from information in Sandberg’s book; some issues, like the likability gap and the lack of parity on the domestic front, get their own chapters.

Women face very real barriers, men are given very real unearned benefits, and these are collective social problems. This isn’t all in our heads, and it can’t be fixed with an individual attitude adjustment. But on an individual level, we can take steps that both better our own lives and help pave the way for institutional changes. We do need to focus on our own completely logical but ultimately self-defeating internal responses to all the external cues we receive. Advocating for ourselves, taking risks and staying in the game may not always work out in exactly the way we want, but it’s better than shrugging our shoulders and waiting for The System to change itself.

Sandberg writes in Lean In, “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” She’s right. To get there, we need to take a lot of different paths. Lean In isn’t a treasure map to the feminist utopia, but it offers a few good roadsigns to the goal of equality.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Watered-down Budweiser? Pick up a real beer instead

It’s not shocking that Anheuser-Busch might be watering down beers. The good news is the rich choice of craft alternatives

Allegations are flying around the web, news sites and social media that Anheuser-Busch InBev is watering down Budweiser in the US. Labels stating the strength of Budweiser are inaccurate, the lawsuit states. Anheuser-Busch InBev has denied these accusations, but that does not stop a suit where ex-employees of Anheuser-Busch have come forward to the plaintiff’s attorneys and said that Budweiser is watered down. Personally, I’m not sure anyone can tell what watered down water tastes like but, that aside, I like to deal in facts, not rumor and speculation.

Is Anheuser-Busch watering down Budweiser? I would say the answer is, more than likely, yes. Should that be shocking to you? No, and let me tell you why. I think Anheuser-Busch might add water, to water down Budweiser or any of the other beers named in the lawsuit, at the end of the brewing process to achieve the desired and labelled ABV (alcohol by volume). In brewing, there will always be inconsistencies. Raw ingredients will vary from year to year and field to field no matter how detailed and specific you are in sourcing these ingredients.

Common sense tells me, if I want a consistent 5% ABV beer, then I should brew a beer that is consistently stronger than 5% ABV and add a little water to each batch to achieve the desired and labelled 5% ABV. This is how distilleries achieve their desired ABV – or proof – on a bottle of whiskey or vodka.

Attorney Josh Boxer of San Rafael, California, who represents plaintiff Nina Giampaoli of Sonoma County, is privy to a lot more of the facts than we currently are, but for every winning lawsuit, there is another that is a loss. We have yet to see any proof. Former Anheuser-Busch employees stating that it is corporate practice to water down their beer sounds damning, but lets wait on the facts. How come there was not an attorney saying,

“We have tested cans and bottles of Budweiser, randomly selected from different stores throughout the state of California, and found that, of those cans and bottles tested, a significant percentage of them showed a lower alcohol by volume than as advertised on the product’s label.”

That would put more weight in the plaintiff’s claim. It would make me feel like the lawsuit had teeth.

Should the allegations prove to be true, Anheuser-Busch InBev will lose in court. They will pay monetarily and might be fined by the government but does a company that is buying the remaining portion of Grupo Modelo for $20.1 bn care that they lost a lawsuit for a few million dollars? Anheuser-Busch InBev’s reputation will be tarnished, they will lose a few dollars, stockholders will be upset, but the average beer drinker is still going to buy his or her 6-pack, 12-pack or case of Budweiser at the grocery store on Friday. This same consumer probably cannot tell the difference between 4% ABV Budweiser and 5% ABV Budweiser. I’m not sure even I could.

What I will say to those that continually buy Budweiser, Miller or Coors is that watered-down, flavorless beer is not a new invention. Eighty percent of American beer drinkers drink it as their beer of choice. Put back the case of Budweiser or Bud Light (aka Macro Beer or Big Beer) and buy a craft beer that is made locally. Load Google or Bing or Yahoo in your web browser and search for a local brewery in your town.

On average, everyone in the US lives within 10 miles of a craft brewery so, more than likely, you will find a local brewery within a short drive of your home or place of work. Some of these craft breweries will bottle their beer, others will sell only draft beer but they may sell 64-ounce growlers of fresh, local beer for you to take home. Start out with one of their lighter craft beers, which will be stronger and taste better than macro beer you’re used to. A pale ale, cream ale or kölsch style ale would be a good starting point.

You’ll find a whole new world of beer is out there, and it is called craft beer. We have over 2,000 craft breweries in the US that brew up a wonderful product day in and day out. Buy local, fresh craft beer that is made by breweries who employ local people. It won’t taste like water.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Banking while poor: how banks profit from predatory payday lending | Sadhbh Walshe

If you’re rich in America, banks will waive charges for you. But if you’re struggling, what they see is an indecent profit opportunity

I have a friend who is quite rich. Like a lot of rich people, he’s very careful with his money, by which I mean that he’s constantly shifting it around to make sure it’s maximizing its potential.

Sometimes, all this shifting about will mean his checking account will be overdrawn and his bills that are on direct debit should, in theory, not be paid. This, he laughingly assures me, “will never happen”. His bank will not only cover his error, but they will apologize to him for the inconvenience.

Such is the privilege of banking while rich in America. Banking while poor, however, is a very different matter.

Money will still be shifted around – but not in a way that benefits the account holder. It’s no secret that bankers love to enrich themselves off the backs of their poorest customers – the subprime mortgage scandal being a prime example of this. The latest scam the banks have wrapped their tentacles around is exploitative payday lending schemes that virtually guarantee their poorest customers will become poorer still.

Why bankers would want to treat rich and poor clients differently is obvious. What is less so is why, in the post taxpayer bailout era, bankers still appear to be making their own rules.

The New York Times reported recently on how the major banks are enabling payday lenders to give out short-term loans with interest rates sometimes in excess of 500%. These kinds of loans are banned in 15 states (and should be immediately banned in all 50), but thanks to the banks’ facilitatory efforts, lenders have been able to bypass the regulations that are in place. That enables them conveniently to withdraw payments automatically from customers’ accounts even in states where the loans are outlawed. Customers who try to stop the withdrawals, or even close their accounts, more often than not find themselves banging their heads against a wall – all the while, getting poorer.

Needless to say, the kind of customer who takes out a payday loan is not someone with pennies to spare to pay fees and fines they had not anticipated. The Pew Center on the states has compiled several studies on how payday lending works and found that over 69% of borrowers take out a loan to cover day-to-day expenses rather than one-of-a-kind emergencies. The average loan is $375 and the entire loan plus interest is due to be paid back within two weeks. The thing is, if you are so broke that you have to borrow a couple of hundred dollars to keep yourself going until your next (meager) paycheck, then naturally, it will be impossible for you to pay back the entire loan plus interest within that two weeks.

The lenders know this, of course, and that is why they structure the loans in such a way that will maximize their profits when the debtor is unable to pay on time. According to the Pew Center’s Alex Horowitz, the average borrower can only afford around $50 from a two-week paycheck to pay towards a loan. In these cases, the loan will be extended and interest fees and/or any penalties will be automatically withdrawn from the borrower’s bank account. Over the course of a year, the borrower will typically repay the original loan four times over. And that is before the banks get their cut.

The National Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP) has brought a lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase on behalf of two borrowers who allege they incurred excessive bank fees on top of the interest and fines imposed by the lenders. The plaintiffs, Subrina Baptiste and Iva Brodsky, both tried to have their bank stop the withdrawals, but were allegedly told by Chase that they would have to contact the lender, even though federal law allows the customer to stop any automatic withdrawals. Brodsky went to her branch and tried to close her account, but according to her deposition, Chase left it open and she ended up incurring $1,523 in bank fees, for extended overdrafts and insufficient funds. In Ms Baptiste’s case, Chase allegedly charged her $812 in fees and recouped $600 from her child support payments to defray those charges.

Responding to the New York Times’ reporting at an investors’ meeting this week, JP Morgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, called his bank’s involvement with the practice “terrible”. He pledged to reform Chase’s business relationship with payday lenders.

The banks would like people to think that they have no part in this sickening scheme beyond processing fees their customers should be aware of. As it happens, they are not only involved at the back end of these shady deals, but also up front and somewhere in the middle. A report issued by the National People’s Action (pdf) titled “How the Biggest Banks are Bankrolling the Payday Loan Industry” details the cosy arrangement between payday loan sharks and their respectable allies in the banks. They found that while “some banks do not lend to payday lenders due to ‘reputational risks’ associated with the industry”, several of the major banks do. In addition to lending to the lenders, some banks make payday loans of their own, called direct deposit advances, with the entire loan, plus interest, due (and duly withdrawn) on the borrower’s next payday.

So, the banks are mean and nasty and we know they are mean and nasty, but the question is why we let them get away with it. Well, their paid-off friends in Congress have a lot to do with that. Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote recently about how Senate Republicans, in particular, are doing everything in their power to kill off the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, despite the fact that – or, more likely, because – it is one of the few good things to have been emerged from the 2008 financial crisis. It must be clear to everyone by now that banks will never behave morally as a matter of course and that tough regulations and penalties are the only way to keep them in check.

Until we have those in place (and don’t hold your breath), all I can suggest is that if you need a loan, try to borrow from a friend. And unless you are loaded, don’t assume your banker is one of them.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Yahoo chief bans working from home

Marissa Mayer has ordered an end to ‘remote’ work as all staff are told to be in the office as part of a new era of collaboration

Surfing the web from at home might be just what Yahoo’s chief Marissa Mayer wants her audience to do – but she has banned employees of the company itself from working “remotely”, in an edict sent out last Friday to Yahoo’s thousands of staff.

Several hundred staff must now relocate their home offices to Yahoo’s nearest office outpost by June – or quit, as the former Google chief gets serious about getting the company’s staff back into “meat space” so it can be a contender in the web space.

The memo from human resources chief Jackie Reses – but driven by Mayer – says that “to become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

But the mood of Yahoo’s 11,500 employees – down from 14,100 at the end of 2011 – can be guessed from the fact that the memo is marked: “PROPRIETARY AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION – DO NOT FORWARD” and that it has been forwarded to the news site AllThingsD by “a plethora” of staff, according to senior editor Kara Swisher, who broke the story.

The memo points out that even those who only work one or two days in the office will have to submit to the new regime. But it seems that what Mayer has in mind is the provision of more water coolers and coffee machines: “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings,” it says. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”

Mayer was hired in secret and took over in July 2012, and soon afterwards announced that she would be having her first child – which was duly born in October. Mayer however eschewed maternity leave to go straight back to work.

Having won a number of awards – including being ranked in the “Top 50 Best Places to Work” by Business Insider in 2013, and “Top 500 Green Companies” by Newsweek in 2010 – Yahoo may find itself winning another, for “biggest group of suddenly annoyed professionals”. Although the memo says that “Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job”, a number are now wondering if it might be exactly that.

One former Yahoo worker commenting at AllThingsD said that working from home made them far more productive than being in the office: “Why? I didn’t have to put up with numbskull self-important programmers constantly yakking to each other LOUDLY from the next set of cubicles about non-work-related stuff, and I wasn’t being distracted every 20 minutes by some bored soul coming over to my desk to go for coffee or foosball, or just to talk about the spreading ennui of knowing we were working for a company whose glory days were long over.”

The UK press office declined to say whether staff here will be affected: “we do not comment on internal matters,” a spokesman said.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Frank Lloyd Wright house for sale – if you can get it home

Once upon a time, America bought buildings from around Europe and rebuilt them across the Atlantic. But now it is selling off its own architectural treasures

If the idea of moving house fills you with anxiety, pity Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino. This architect couple are literally moving their house – as in, putting it somewhere else. It’s quite a property: a restored, mid-century modernist jewel designed by the great Frank Lloyd Wright, in the aptly named town of Millstone, New Jersey. The trouble is, it’s situated near a river that often floods, necessitating regular repairs.

So they have put it up for sale, with the proviso that the new owner moves it somewhere safer. The asking price is $950,000, plus relocation costs. And they’ve found a prospective buyer: an Italian architect wants to bring it to Fiesole, a hilltop town near Florence, where Frank Lloyd Wright once lived.

Moving entire buildings is a radical property solution, but where there’s a will and a wallet, there’s always a way, especially in America. In the 20th century, Americans with more money than history made a habit of buying up bits of old Europe and bringing them home, the most famous example being London Bridge, which now stands in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. They even built a lake for it to cross.

There’s a Tudor manor from Lancashire in Richmond, Virginia. There’s also the magnificent Cloisters Museum in Manhattan – incorporating elements from five French medieval monasteries. And William Randolph Hearst snapped up two Spanish monasteries in 1925, though he never rebuilt them. One of them is still under reconstruction in northern California; the other is now in Florida, where it was painstakingly reassembled from 11,000 unlabelled packing crates.

This Frank Lloyd Wright house’s concrete-and-mahogany structure would be relatively easy to dismantle and reassemble. And bringing it to Italy could represent some kind of karmic payback for America’s past architecture-shopping. Then again, the house is a fine example of Wright’s pioneering “Usonian” style, which sought to forge a specifically American identity, distinct from European precedents. Wright would doubtless be spinning in his grave at the irony. Except Wright’s official grave is actually empty. His body was stolen from it, 26 years after his death, cremated, and his ashes “relocated” to Arizona in accordance with the wishes of his third wife, Olgivanna.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

The four-day week: less is more

More free time, fewer carbon emissions and an answer to our economic woes. Why aren’t we all working a four-day week?

In 2008, when much of the western world was reeling from the aftermath of the banking collapse, the US state of Utah quietly came up with a radical solution. The recession had hit hard, worsened by rapidly rising energy prices. Queues lengthened at food banks; unemployment and mortgage foreclosures rose dramatically. Money needed to be saved. The task fell to Jon Huntsman, the Republican governor. Instead of simply bringing a knife to public spending and pushing austerity measures, he surprised people with a new approach.

Back in 1970, an American management consultant called Riva Poor wrote a book advocating a revolution in work and leisure called 4 Days, 40 Hours. It caused a stir at the time, arguing that great benefits would flow from taking a longer weekend and working fewer but longer days. Then the issue went away. Quietly, though, a four-day week became a common option for public employees at city and county level. As a public administrator, Huntsman knew this, and he saw the opportunity to go further.

He realised that if swaths of public sector workers all worked a shorter week in unison, he’d be able to close public buildings on the extra day, so saving money. But something like this hadn’t been tried state-wide before. All kinds of problems might emerge, from childcare to public anger over lack of access to services. “I thought, we can study this for another six months or we can do it, and figure it out as we go,” Huntsman recalls.

At only a month’s notice, 18,000 of the state’s 25,000 workforce were put on a four-day week. Around 900 public buildings closed on Fridays, with even more partially closing. Many of the state’s vehicles were left in their garages on the extra day, travelling 3m fewer miles. Only essential safety services and a few other staff were exempt. You might expect such a quick and significant change to cause turmoil.

“It started with a one-year test period, and there were hiccups at the beginning,” says Professor Rex Facer, from Brigham Young University, an adviser on the initiative who also analysed its impact. “Some businesses complained about access to public officials on the day departments closed. But the agencies figured out the problems, the state communicated what it was doing better, and in six months complaints dropped to zero.”

Facer looked into how the public and state employees responded. Eight out of 10 employees liked the four-day week and wanted it to continue. Nearly two-thirds said it made them more productive and many said it reduced conflict at home and work. Only 3% said it made childcare harder. Workplaces across the state reported higher staff morale and lower absenteeism. There were other surprises, too. One in three among the public thought the new arrangements actually improved access to services. “The programme achieved exactly what was intended,” Facer says. “The public and businesses adapted to it. The extended opening times on the four days when employees worked were actually preferred by many. It was more convenient for them being able to contact public bodies before and after conventional working hours.”

Falling energy prices reduced the expected economies, but the change still saved the state millions. Staff wellbeing went up with the longer weekend and with shorter, easier commuting outside the normal rush hour, which benefited other commuters, too, by reducing congestion. It wasn’t the objective, but at a stroke the four-day week cut carbon emissions by 14%.

Then President Obama made Governor Huntsman his ambassador to China. In autumn 2011 the state-wide four-day week ended. Not because it had failed, but because it fell victim to a power struggle between the state legislature and the new, less committed governor’s office.

Yet in spite of the repeal, the popularity of the shorter week meant it was kept by the state’s larger cities, such as West Valley City and Provo, and was copied elsewhere, for example by the forestry department in Virginia. Far from being an evolutionary dead end for the workplace, the idea of changing the conventional five-day, 9am-5pm working week to reap a range of social, economic and environmental benefits is catching on.

Just weeks ago, Gambia announced a four-day week for public sector workers – not through economic necessity, but to allow more time for “prayer and farming”. In Ghana there are calls to follow Gambia’s example, to allow time for attending funerals on a Friday.

Yet mention shorter hours in Europe and people tend to think of the French 35-hour week, written off as a failure and largely repealed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy. Never mind that many French businesses kept their shorter week in spite of the change in the law – or that, quietly, over the last couple of decades, working less has also become the norm in the Netherlands. The Dutch seem to have found answers to all the practical problems that might come up. As in Utah, the public sector led the way in response to recession, this time in the early 1990s, by hiring new staff on 80% contracts.

Job-sharing in health and education is now standard. There are part-time bankers, surgeons and engineers. One in three Dutch men either works part-time or compresses his hours, as in Utah, introducing the term “daddy days” to the language. Many more women – three-quarters – work part-time. Polling suggests that almost all Dutch part-time workers do not want to increase their hours. The approach, backed by decent state childcare provision, allows for high levels of female employment.

But could it work in Britain, where we have the third longest working hours in Europe (behind only Austria and Greece)? The message from David Cameron and George Osborne appears to be that we can all expect to work longer and later in life, and very probably for lower pay. The state pension is being delayed until 68 for many, and if Britain renegotiates its relationship with the EU, as Cameron promises, even the current assurance of a maximum 48-hour week could disappear.

The last place you might expect a new, more progressive work culture to take root is in the bonus-fuelled City of London. But listening to 49-year-old Nick Robins, who analyses climate risks and challenges for HSBC, it seems the City could be hiding a little secret. “There’s not much discussion of it,” Robins says, “but if you want to work less, it seems to be quite open.” He turned his back on the City’s conventional long hours for a four-day week. “You may get 20% less pay but you get 50% more free time,” he says. Other City workers are doing the same, Robins says, but without drawing attention to the fact. He finds the lack of discussion peculiar. “It is a strange thing that in the UK we haven’t thought in a cultural sense about time. The debate is oddly absent, and then it comes up only to do with family – in other words, swapping one type of work for another.”

Some businesses, though, are less shy about the benefits of a shorter week. Michael Pawlyn is one of the architects who worked on the Eden Project in Cornwall, and has gone on to become a world expert on biomimicry, taking lessons from nature on how to make things better. He’ll explain how a beetle can teach you to harvest water in the desert or make fire detectors more sensitive. A big lesson from nature is the importance of fallow time: no ecosystem can be 100% productive all the time. Pawlyn gives staff at his own company “exploration days”, when people can just go away and think. “It helps you to distinguish the things that are important from the things that are merely urgent,” he says.

Jane MacCuish is a former colleague of Pawlyn’s who works for Meadowcroft Griffin, an architecture firm where part-time working is the norm. Along with the company’s directors and several of her colleagues, she works an unconventional shorter week. “I work only during school term time and the school day, from 9.30am-3pm,” she says. “I work the same hours as my children, and I am efficient and productive in the time I have. The studio benefits from experienced people who need to balance their lives re-entering work, and you can’t underestimate the value to society of having parents there after school for children.”

The apparent indispensability of key professionals, in the health sector for example, is often used as an argument against shorter weeks. But Caroline Thould, a 39-year-old radiographer, found her employer, University College London Hospital, was open to the idea. She and her husband Peter both decided to go part-time after the birth of their second child, to share childcare.

“We’d both been full-time,” Thould says, “and it was hard to lose the equivalent of a full-time salary, but we save on childcare. We still manage a holiday each year, and I think the children will benefit in the long run.” In the time they claimed back, the couple helped build gardens at their children’s nursery in Flitwick, Bedfordshire.

It’s not only well-paid professionals who can afford to work less. Kathleen Cassidy is a 26-year-old community organiser on a low income who chose to work a 25-hour week. “I didn’t have huge outgoings,” she says. “Rent, food, not much on travel. I’ve never been much of a spendthrift, never really spent on holidays, cars or things like that. It simplifies life, having less money.”

In her spare time, Cassidy has helped former prisoners with their rehabilitation, built a community garden for a housing association and been an activist with the campaign group UK Uncut. “It’s about balance and having a passion,” she says. “Also not being on a treadmill, where you just work, eat and sleep. I felt I wanted to produce things rather than consume all the time.”

These people made choices to work less and adapt their lives. They are pioneers in a country like Britain, which does little to make it easier for people to work less. Choice matters, too. Research by the New Economics Foundation shows that voluntarily working less is positive for our wellbeing, but compulsion, especially in the context of an economy not designed to support part-time work, ruins the benefit.

There are, though, now several reasons we might all want and need to adapt. A recent report from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research suggested a worldwide shift to shorter working hours could reduce carbon emissions enough to halve additional expected global warming between now and 2100.

Then there’s the fact that some people in Britain work very long hours, with often involuntary unpaid overtime. The TUC calculates that five million workers give the equivalent of a day’s worth of free overtime to their employers every week. Yet we also have high unemployment, making for a divided country burdened with related social costs.

Nick Robins, whose work is all about horizon gazing, thinks we face a long-term future of low to no growth, meaning we might all have to reconsider how we work. “I think we could have to recognise that the norm of a five-day week for everyone is not possible or desirable,” he says. Even when economists recall periods of so-called full employment in Britain, they refer to periods when women were homebound, providing the free maintenance of a mostly male paid workforce. Big changes will be needed to make shorter working weeks viable for low-income families.

Faced with systemic economic and environmental threats, we’ve been told we all have to work harder and find new technological fixes. Could it be that, instead, the best solution might be a simple, social innovation, an option we’ve had all along? If working less and better can reduce pressure on public services, create a healthier society and cut greenhouse gas emissions, is it time for national “gardening leave” for all? “I wish I’d spent more time at the office” are words few would carve on their headstones

• Andrew Simms is author of Cancel The Apocalypse: The New Path To Prosperity, published by Little Brown at £13.99 on 28 February. To order a copy for £10.99, go to guardian.co.uk.

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Guardian readers’ worst jobs ever – highlights from the open thread

Yesterday we asked you about the worst job you’ve ever had and what you were paid for it. Here we present ‘the best of the worst’

‘I used to test poo for the water board’

I looked after a machine that made the cardboard tubes inside toilet rolls for £5 an hour … I also had a job that meant I used to test poo for the water board for £120 per week … And I’ve also tested woman’s wee on a testing panel for a new pregnancy testing device for £30,000 a year – Helen Wilson MK

‘I won’t go in to the jibes I got’

Paid about $3 an hour back in 1975, plus a slice of pizza.

I had to stand at the corner below the pizza shop and hawk their pizza – sold by the slice. My shirt and sign had the question: “Have you had a piece lately?” It was horrible. I won’t go into the comments and jibes I got, but the worst were the sailors when the navy was in town. I quit after a month. – JennM

‘Hanging off the side in a bosun’s chair’

I used to work on an ocean rig off the coast of Sable Island, known as the “graveyard of the Atlantic”. The moment I got off the chopper they were pulling a dead diver out of the water in a cargo net. My first task was to go up to the drill deck and “clean” underneath what was 4ft of drill mud and oil. The next day we started throwing 150lb sand bags off the side; we would do that for 12 hours. The reason we did that is because it was a jack-up rig, with four giant legs that sat on the ocean floor.

Because of currents and tidal action, the sand was constantly washing away from under the legs. If we lost too much the rig would tip over. The divers would then put the bags around the legs on mats which they would then screw down. That’s how the diver died: he had a heart attack slugging those bags around underwater. When I wasn’t throwing sandbags I was hanging off the side 150ft above the water chipping paint in a bosun’s chair. That was my worst job. I lasted about six months. – BillOwen

‘I would then dissect the muscles’

Anesthetizing rats with a rag soaked in ether, which caused them to evacuate their bowels and bladder all over my forearm; then, cutting off their hind legs with a scissors. I would then dissect certain muscles out of their hind legs. Baby and fetal rats, whose muscles were also needed, did not get the benefit of the ether. This is my personal benchmark for horrible jobs. – Nogodsnomasters

‘Crying. Crying your eyes out’

Standing in a freezing cold factory putting cold tomato & cucumber slices on slices of bread that whizz pass you on a conveyor belt. For eight hours.

If you were lucky you got to work on the vegetable slicing machines, which meant pouring huge boxes of onions into a shredder and collecting the end product. Crying. Crying your eyes out. That was in 1995. For six months. Hell. –
Bert Reacher

‘Dead animals, broken glass, used syringes’

Sorting recycling by hand for minimum wage. In a giant warehouse that was freezing in the winter. Although that was preferable to summer, because in summer there were maggots in the recycling. I also saw dead animals, broken glass, used syringes … you name it, someone has stuck it in a recycling bin in mid-Wales. – Alyssa Heath

‘Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of strawberrries’

Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pounds of strawberries. Paid about £2 an hour and all the strawberries I could eat. Which, after the first couple of days, was none, ever again, not as long as I live. So next time you have strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, or the races, or any-bloody-where, just remember the poor teenager hunched over the crates of the ghastly red things, wishing she’d never been born, or at least been born rich. – Calaeno

‘Bloodstains and bullet holes’

In Richmond, California, in 1991, along with another fresh Berkeley graduate, I had a temp job doing a stove and refrigerator inventory in the Richmond public housing projects, to see if the residents had sold theirs. One of the walls had bloodstains and bullet holes in it, no exaggeration. Most people were fine and normal, but there were also gangsters with the blinds pulled, guns on the table and babes massaging their shoulders.

There were also crack apartments, meaning vacants that the addicts used, keeping them unlivable by ripping everything out of the wall every time they tried to repair them. On the plus side, we got to drink beer at lunch. The wage? Just above minimum, but there were no jobs to be had at that point … – KKGdansk

‘Caps on tubes’

Three summers working at a cosmetics factory. Summer #1 was spent putting the caps on tubes of denture tablets all day every day. Summer #2 was largely watching aerosol cans going through a tank of water which cooled them down after filling. My job was to make sure none of them fell over and to pick them up if they did.

Summer #3 was much more fun. I was picking orders in the warehouse and using a machine which wrapped palettes of merchandise in 6ft wide sheets of clingfilm. Compared to that, working at bars and hotels and waiting tables was rather fun. – DebW

‘I have never eaten a mushroom since’

Weekend job while I was still at school picking mushrooms on a mushroom farm was my worst. Now, don’t let this conjure up images of early morning romps through lush green pasture. No: this was sweating like a pig in dark plastic sheds crammed with beds made of railway sleepers full of chicken shit upon which the mushrooms grew. And it was piece work so you were paid on how many you picked. Some of the older workers were evil bullies and would kick your trays over at brew time.
I have never eaten a mushroom since. I’d advise everyone to always wash mushrooms. They really do grow in shit. – mabrow

‘So. Tedious.’

We made frisbees, golf tees, and so on. So. Tedious. Sitting at machine for eight hours a day. Taking the boiling hot new plastic item out the machine and leaving it on a shelf to cool. Then once you had enough you’d box them up.

By the end I could put my fingers 5cm from a candle and it wouldn’t hurt for ages. All for £200 a week. Admitedly I was 16, but four weeks there aged me, quickly. – goalstrieswickets

“I was paid 8.5¢ per tree”:

Planting trees in northern Ontario. Every 2 metres I had to plant a tree in what little soil I could find. And for that I was paid 8.5¢ per tree. On a good day I planted 2,000 trees. Unfortunately the bad days far outnumbered the good and so many days the money was quite poor. We were up at 5.30am and back at camp for around 6pm. Not only did you have to fight off a constant swarm of black flies and mosquitoes, but you had to be very wary of bears. Being left in a clear cut all day with nothing but insects that bite for company made for a lonely and frustrating existence. – HoggTownVillan

‘The cost was my dignity’

I once worked for the council spraying weeds on the pavement. I can’t remember the pay, but the cost was my dignity. In order to protect yourself from the spray, you had to be dressed head to toe in a white paper suit with the hood up, then a canister was strapped to your back before being sent into the roughest part of town. It didn’t take long to decide it probably wasn’t the career path for me, so I quit, but in order to get back to my car I had to walk through the town centre at lunchtime looking like an extra from a bio-hazard movie. (I thought Ghostbusters, but it may have been wishful thinking). –
manfrommunkle

‘I nearly got rickets from lack of sunlight’

Working nightshifts in a cheescake factory standing next to a machine that squirts a dollop of cream atop a freshly made cheescake. Alas! The cream has not covered said cheescake entirely! Reach out your hash-stained fingers and give the little bugger a ‘jiggle’ until the cream settles over the entire surface area, creating a cream-covered cheescake fit for a king! The most mind numbing experience that was the equivalent of going to a Mumford & Sons concert for eight hours a night, six days a week. Lasted seven months, mental scarring remains, nearly got rickets from lack of sunlight. – CaughtJesting

‘It was like a scene out of I Love Lucy’

Working in an orange packing plant in a tin shed in Florida, sticky with orange juice, reeking of orange juice, with the oranges rolling down the conveyor belt, and having to grab them in a special way depending on their size, bend over, and put them in a box on the floor. Straighten up, grab the next two handfuls, bend over, put them in the box, and repeat. Endlessly. I felt I was in a scene out of “I Love Lucy.” Lucy and Ethel should have been on the line with those relentless oranges, not me. I don’t remember what it was supposed to pay because I didn’t stick around long enough to get paid. Left at noon the first day, hitchhiked home and never went back. – nvmitch

‘I could still smell the goose under my fingernails’

Killing geese. A friend’s brother-in-law had given up a top City job to raise organic geese in the country, but a week before Christmas still hadn’t found anyone to help him slaughter them. I was broke and stupid enough to agree to drive down from London with with him to help out.

We got there at 7am and were shown the ropes. You could tell the geese had had a happy life as when you went to fetch them from the trailer they would trustingly (and a bit depressingly) wander into your arms. We electrocuted them and slit their throats before plucking the feathers in an industrial sized epilator. If it were a chicken that would be it, but geese have to dunked in a near boiling tub of wax which is then peeled to remove the down.

A 14-hour day in minus 5 degrees celsius with half-burnt half-numb fingers, waxing dozens of geese whilst being glared and gobbled at by a thousand doomed turkeys in the neighbouring pen. We’d half-jokingly brought along a quarter of a bottle of whiskey to help us towards the end of the day. It was finished by 9am. I could still smell the goose under my fingernails at Christmas. £40 for the day. – anglefield

‘I then had to kill it by bashing its head in’

Packing eels to be used as fishing bait. The job entailed reaching into a large vat of water to grab an eel, I then had to kill it by bashing its head in. Upon death I had to pack the dead eel (alongside four other unfortunates) into a zip-lock bag, making sure all the while that they were packaged in an easy on the eye shape so as people would want to buy them.

I lasted all of one week and was paid the princely sum of £40 (1988 summer job) – weedavie

‘That’s two weeks wages you’ve just lost’

Working as a milk delivery boy at the age of 12 in Manchester during the winter of 1939-40. I was given a bike with a steel milk crate welded on the front that held 20 pint bottles with half pint bottles inserted in between. Started work 5.30am and delivered until 8.30 am, then washed dirty bottles until 2pm, then ‘capped’ the filled bottles until 7pm. Did this seven days a week. All schools were still closed due to evacuation.

On Saturdays and Sundays, worked from 5.30 until 8.30 each night. My pay? Five shillings a week. The boss wouldn’t allow me to go to the toilet while washing bottles and ‘capping’. ‘Tie a knot on it’, he used to say. Once I accidentally dropped a heavy crate of filled milk bottles’ causing most to break, spilling milk and broken glass over the floor. “That’s two weeks wages you’ve just lost,” snapped the boss. That winter it was so cold the snow froze and turned to grey ice covering the roads. I had to push the loaded bike up hill – and it always slipped sideways so I was forced to take the full weight of the bike and the load and drag the lot uphill. – Roseveears

‘I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for’

Cleaning the underground stations (U-bahns) in Berlin while I was living there as a 19-year-old student. The pay was not so bad (20 marks an hour, I think, which is probably the equivalent of about $20 today) but the work was awful. The shift started at midnight and ended at 6am. The job involved dragging around a huge bucket of filthy water and a mop under glaring lights that were on at full blast to highlight all the dirt. I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for when I took the job (at the student job office). The hours just kind of suited my schedule at that time. I think I just about made it through one shift and then never went back.

They say these kind of jobs build character, but I’d say they are more likely to build resentment among those who have no choice but to do them. – SadhbhWalshe

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds