Greedy Jobs and Genericized Jobs

I got to write about Nobellist Claudia Goldin’s Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity for Deseret. The whole book is fascinating, but what I wanted to focus on were the factors that made a certain kind of work a “greedy job” (long hours, pay scales quickly with intensity) or a “genericized job” (more flexible, lower pay). What kinds of jobs serve families and the workplace well?

When workers become more interchangeable, there’s something lost for the customer. I don’t have a relationship with my pharmacist, and I don’t know anyone who does. I see CVS Minute Clinic nurses for flexible care more often than I see my GP, and this helps me get seen quickly while working around my job and child care responsibilities. But if I were seeing a doctor who knew me, I could get antibiotics for an ear infection without having to go through a full medical history each time. And for me, that “getting to know you” means having to detail the lives and deaths of the six children I miscarried every time I go to a new office.

The alternative to greedy jobs looks like genericized jobs, and they’re not necessarily good for either workers or customers and clients. Employees have less leverage with their employer, since they’re replaceable by design. What starts as flex work on the employee’s schedule can easily become short-notice shift scheduling for the employer’s convenience. In a 2022 survey of over 4,400 pharmacists, 75% said their pharmacy was understaffed and overworked to the point of threatening patient safety. On the other side of the counter, patients who get used to seeing pharmacists as pill-dispensers, not people, are more likely to lash out

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