Multiple Careers: Towards a Post-Work Way of Life

Ching Wu Lake Lui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the capacity of college-educated young people who pursue in several careers–“slash workers”–to act independently and to make their own choices about their work and life in capitalist Hong Kong. Numerous studies have assumed an unproblematic link between precarious employment and the exploitation of young people’s labour. This article offers an alternative understanding of this link from the autonomist Marxist perspective of “refusal of work” and the “getting a life” project. While the literature on freelancing has illuminated workers’ potential to maintain a work/life balance, the novel phenomenon of slash work in Hong Kong adds to our understanding of freedom from labour. By having more than one career, slash workers: (i) blur the boundaries of paid work, volunteer work, and personal interests; (ii) anchor work around self, instead of self around work; and (iii) embrace breadth, instead of vertical mobility in their career trajectory. This post-work approach to work and life allows workers to be rule-setters, which inadvertently results in creativity in work.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Early online date16 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • Hong Kong
  • Multiple careers
  • multipotentialities
  • precarity
  • “refusal of work
  • ” subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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