Museum Workers Leaving the Field: Survey Results & Solutions

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The conversation often starts with, “I love working in museums, but I don’t think I can do it anymore because of [insert reason here]. I’m thinking about getting out of museums altogether” (Erdman et al. 2017).

Anecdotes from conversations like the above stimulated noted museum bloggers Sarah Erdman, Marieke Van Damme, Claudia Ocello, and Dawn Estabrooks Salerno to carry out an on-line survey in late 2016 to seek answers to the question “why good museum workers are leaving the field” (e.g. see Milldrum 2017). See my comments about this survey exercise in a previous blog post (Thistle 2016).

In light of assorted scuttlebutt concerning significant chronic problems in museum working conditions that lead to drop-out (possibly better described as “push-out”) from our field, the above bloggers were prompted to investigate:

We wanted to know: Are these difficult working conditions enough for dedicated (and highly educated) museum professionals to abandon their years of experience to start over in another working environment (Erdman et al. 2017; cf. Thistle 2014c: 1, 2)?

Although admittedly informal and not a scientific or systematic representative sample, this on-line survey attracted 1,067 self-selected responses from museum workers—29% of whom had already left the field.

The following are aspects of the reported survey results that attracted my attention in light of the focus of this blog. See Ocello et al. (2017) for the entire series of graphics summarising the survey results and the related commentary in Erdman et al. (2017). Notably, the latter is the most widely commented upon American Alliance of Museums’ Alliance Labs blog post since its inception. Obviously, there is intense concern among museum workers about problematic working conditions in our field (e.g. Sullivan 2015).

I also want to bolster some of the suggested solutions to the departure of good workers who are being pushed out of the field because of poor working conditions in museums.

The primary finding of the survey turns out to be a predominant grievance about the shamefully low wages paid in the museum sector. Of those 301 respondents who had left the field, 65% put low pay among their reasons for abandoning museum work. Above and beyond this, 78% of 751 respondents who remain in museum work answered a hypothetical question “What would entice you to leave the field?” by giving poor pay among other reasons mentioned (Ocello et al. 2017: 6, 8).

This emphasis on remuneration—as opposed to task saturation[i] for example—might possibly be an artifact of all the commentary at and context of the original unsanctioned ‘rouge’ sessions on social justice for museum workers at the American Alliance of Museums 2015 and 2016 annual conferences, the latter of which stimulated this survey. See Merritt (2015) for commentary on the AAM’s 2015 “Rogue Session” — How Do We Turn the Social Justice Lens Inward? A Conversation About Internal Museum Labor Practices.”[i]

Here, it also must be noted that poor pay is an essential part of the definition of “precarious work”[ii] in the Ontario Nonprofit Network and Toronto Neighbourhood Centres’ (2016: 3 fn. 2, 7) Decent Work Charter and the related aim to implement Fair Income & Good Benefits, inter alia paying “living wages.”[iii]

It would be of interest to this Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blogger to obtain responses from the 12% of the departed workers who also answered the above open-ended question that ‘Schedule Didn’t Work’ whether this answer meant the overlong hours expected, as opposed to particular shift/time of day, days of the week, or other reason(s) so as to be able to tease out what proportion were referring to the widespread “work-family conflict” dilemma (see Higgins et al. 2007: 6-11; cf. Williams & Boushey 2010).

In the context of this blog, my main concern about the significant result concerning exploitative pay rates in the museum field is that the chronic overwork and typical uncompensated overtime contributed by museum workers make the real rate of pay in our field nothing less than egregious “wage slavery,” i.e. the unethical[iv]—to say nothing about illegal[v]—exploitation of museum workers’ labour. Compare this interpretation with the “willing slave” concept proposed by Madeleine Bunting, Guardian columnist and Director of the London-based think tank Demos, reporting on a major study of workers in the UK in her book Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives (Bunting 2004).

It should be noted however, one third of the departed respondents to this survey also made ‘Poor Work/Life Balance’ one of their multiple responses and ‘Workload’ also was given by 17% of the workers who have found themselves pushed out of museum work. It would be of interest to see how such responses relate to each other, or at least what a forced ranking of multiple choices would show.

Of those respondents remaining in the field, 47% gave ‘Work/Life Balance” as one potential reason for quitting their job—among the 3 tied responses with the next lower response rates to the pay issue (Ocello 2017: 8). Such answers obviously reveal ‘task saturation’ problems.

Results of the following survey questions:

  • “At what point do museum workers leave the field?: . . Those who cited “work/life balance” as their reason for leaving were 16-25 years into their museum career and no other group cited this reason” (Erdman et al. 2017).[vi]
    • [I have one hypothesis why younger workers did not choose “work/life balance.” For emerging museum professionals faced by rather precarious work, their prime concern understandably is obtaining a permanent position, full stop (cf. Milldrum 2017). They are willing to work longer hours than paid for so as to make a good impression with employers. In fact, there is atrocious career advice promoted by the American Association of Museums in its journal Museum that screams in a red font caps heading (a highly unusual design feature in this journal): “DO YOUR JOB, AND THEN SOME” (Peña 2012: 48; cf. Thistle 2012a). The AAM’s expectation here obviously is that workers wishing to stay and/or advance in their museum careers ought to overwork.[vii] Of course, this advice is unsustainable and dangerous to a worker’s physical, mental, family, and social health (Posen 2013: 2, 77, 87 passim)—to say nothing about its serious ethical and legal deficiencies (e.g. Bhullar 2007). This unethical advice to work illegally published by AAM should be rejected absolutely by museum workers at any stage in their careers. The AAM must seriously re-evaluate this career advice book (that continues to be advertised as best practice in 2017). I suggest the AAM should ask forgiveness from entry level and all museum workers for advocating the illegal exploitation of employees like Milldrum (2017).]
  • Question on reasons why museum workers have left the field: Some answers comprising the 61% who gave “Other” reasons included: “The work/life balance was not there (more work than life).”. . . “The workload was too intense. No maternity leave/FMLA” (Ocello 2017: 6, 7).
    • [I would be interested in more detail on the proportions among the various responses in this “Other” category.
    • [The survey asked for advice on how to prevent departures from the field. Of 295 responses, 9% answered “improve work/life balance” (Ocello 2017: 15).
    • [How does a museum worker do this? Please consult any of the other posts on this blog for a wide variety of potential solutions (e.g. Thistle 2014b). In the case of individuals, the first step needed is to read and implement the advice of William Ury (2007), Director of the Global Negotiation Project at Harvard. Ury presents a workable plan of action to negotiate unrealistic expectations in his book The Power of a Positive No (see below). I highly recommend it to all fully loaded ‘camels’ working in museums who are attempting to prevent metaphorical ‘broken backs’ on the job due to task saturation.
    • [Regarding what the management of museum institutions must do, first and foremost, act to reduce the serious consequences of: 1) expectation inflation, 2) constantly attempting to ‘do more with less,’ and 3) change the ubiquitous postmodern ‘more, better, faster culture.’ See the 15 May 2015 post “Managing Expectation Inflation & Resulting Stress in Museum Work” on this blog for analysis and solutions.]

The solutions offered by Erdman et al. (2017) can be supported and expanded as follow. This blogger’s comments appear in indented bullets with [square brackets].

“Personally:”

  • “Take care of yourself. Recognize the signs of burnout and listen to your body.”
    • [Self-preservation and self-diagnosis certainly are crucial in any work sector (cf. Murphy 2000: 139) including museums. David Posen M.D., author of Is Work Killing You? A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress and who has been treating stressed out workers for more than a quarter century, maintains that, in order to avoid physical and mental health problems, workers need to monitor their level of stress and take remedial action when their productivity and non-work life begin to suffer (Posen 2013: 91-92). See the Human Function Curve measurement tool in Posen (2013: 91-92, 112, 118-19, passim). Figure 1. Self-diagnosis tool to help manage stress levels (Posen 2013: 90 ff).
  • [Inter alia, taking better care of oneself involves: i) taking time outs at 90 minute intervals and meals away from your desk, ii) don’t abandon the gym or other physical activity to permit working harder, longer, faster, iii) maintain restorative non- work social interactions with family and friends, and iv) get proper sleep (Posen 2013: 93-95, 116).
  • [Practice a tri-level system of relative priorities by identifying tasks in terms of what might be ‘urgent’ vs. what is actually ‘important.’ Ask: 1) why am I doing this, 2) what need is being fulfilled, 3) who wants it, 4) can it be done by others, and 5) what if I don’t? (Posen 2013: 125).
  • [Also, learn to say ‘No’ to unrealistic expectations—your own and those of others (Ury 2007: 17, 37). First say ‘wait a minute!’ for consideration of the above questions to self. Then say Yes to your own self-interests, needs, and what is important to you. Say No to unrealistic demands based on these circumstances and your own interests. Then negotiate on the basis of the real-world circumstances and present an inviting Yes? Proposal that involves a problem-solving approach, or come to agreement on realistic goals (Ury 2007: 157-160 passim).]
  • “Be realistic about the amount of work you take on, the true toll of your commute, and your work/life fit” (Erdman et al. 2017).
    • [Task saturation that often leads to burnout is dangerous not only to your health, but to your actual productivity as well (Posen 2013: 97). Dedicated museum practitioners who love the work and are committed to excellence—so can be categorised as “occupational devotees”[viii]—must become more sensible and pragmatic about the work volume and velocity expectations we have of ourselves and those accepted from others. Brutally honest reality checks are crucial: workers must ask ourselves is this task: 1) achievable, 2) sustainable, and 3) what are the real costs of going this long, hard, & fast? (Posen 2012: 153).
  • “Grant permission (to yourself, your coworkers) to slow down and be human (Erdman et al. 2017)”
    • [Workers must take control over the things you can manage yourself, e.g.: personality traits, beliefs, and email, etc. (Posen2013: 46, 48-49; Anderson & Wulf n.d.).
    • [Coping Strategies identified in Higgins et al. (2007: 23, 127 & ff.): 1) change the situation (direct action), 2) change the way one thinks about the situation (cognitive reappraisal), 3) focus on the reaction to the stress (symptom management), 4) social support (encouragement from others {including colleagues, family, friends, counsellors}].
    • [NB: It must be emphasised here that “self-care” by the employee—that often has been seen by employers as the first and typically the only approach—is not sufficient to avoid the negative consequences to the individual worker or the organisation’s overall productivity. The evidence is clear that the organization is the primary source of the pressures to overwork and that long hours and overwork actually lead to loss of productivity (Posen 2013: 5, 49; cf. Higgins et al. 2007: 160) to the point of “abuse” of workers by management (Posen 2013: 225-87, 321 passim; Bunting 2004: xxv).]

“Professionally:”

  • “Model reasonable professional expectations. Take your vacation days, don’t answer email on the weekends” (Erdman et al. 2017).
    • [Task saturation, overwork, stress, and burnout are caused by impractically high expectations and ideals. The solution is easily stated: “most importantly, modify unrealistic expectations” (Posen 2013: 112, 153).
    • [Regarding “work extending technologies”[ix] such as email and smartphones: A study by California-based Good Technology (2012) found that more than 80% of working adults in America continue to work after leaving the office for an average of 7 hours a week–just answering their smartphones. See Thistle (2012a) and compare with Duxbury & Higgins (2012: 5, 6, 11).

Adopting a mindset of realistic expectations within an organization is an important step toward creating healthy workplaces and enhancing productivity (Posen 2013: 155 & ff.) [Posen indicates this involves training your ‘clients’ in the business context and I would say the various stakeholders in the museum field. I would strongly suggest, including your supervisors in such training as well.]

    • [Ensure that you take vacations: Canadian workers abandon 34 million of their vacation days while, in the United States, a stunning 436 million paid vacation days remain unused (Posen 2013: 7, 299; Thistle 2014a).]

“Institutionally:”

  • “Look critically at benefits, pay and work/life fit to make sure it is meeting the needs of your employees. Buy the latest salary survey and bring it to a board meeting” (Erdman et al. 2017) [emphasis in original].
    • [All well & good; however, I argue that museum institutions and professional museum organisations must go farther by seriously attending to the ethical obligation to “protect” their human resources (International Council of Museums 2004: 1; American Association of Museums 2000: 2). I believe strongly that this includes avoiding the health hazards of overwork-related stress and must include abandoning the default—or deliberate—exploitation of their employees’ love for our work. Museums must make it firm policy that the institution shall not allow employees to work unpaid hours illegally without compensation—even if they wish to do so (cf. Bhullar 2007).]

Conclusion:

Erdman et al. (2017) end their survey summary by stating:

“Finding ways to make real, sustainable change in our field is going to be a group effort. We need a foundation of real support to keep the museum workforce strong. . . To keep our field strong, we need to look beyond the passion and see what really is needed to help professionals join and stay in the museum workforce.”

Clearly, anecdotal evidence from Milldrum (2017) and many other occupational devotee museum workers like her can be found in scattered sources. However, as I have recommended for many years, what we truly need is formal research on these matters so rational evidence-based strategies to address the problems identified can be developed by all stakeholders involved—from volunteers through government policy-makers.

I am steadfast in my belief that it is now time for museum workers to attend annual meetings and pass resolutions that instruct our professional museum organisations to carry out formal research on these matters to see if all the anecdotes and the findings of Ocello et al. (2017) can be validated. If so, we can begin to identify exactly what requires actionable strategies to solve, or at least begin to ameliorate, the problems of pushing out and or burning out committed professionals from our sector.

A comment by @Museumptnrs on Erdman et al. (2017) called for collaboration on such research and action between the American Alliance of Museums and the American Association for State & Local History. Because of the similarities and significant cross-fertilization that has and will continue to occur across the 49th parallel border with Canada, I would suggest the Canadian Museums Association also should be included in a continent-wide undertaking. Museum workers need to press rather hard on all these national and regional museum organisations as well as museum management and governing bodies that evidence reluctance to acknowledge the reality of the “decent work” deficits in museum practice.

National professional museum organisations tend to hold their annual meetings in the spring while regional groups often meet in the fall. This means we have only a limited time to organise advocating for effective research and subsequent action to implement solutions. May I suggest that collecting suggestions regarding the way forward on this and the other blogs referenced above [such as encouraged by Erdman et al. (2017)] is a first step toward concerted action planning that is necessary in the near future.

We don’t necessarily need a huge ground-swelling among museum workers. As I have stated several times previously, even though we cannot prove for certain that Margaret Mead ever stated “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has[,]” the quality of this wisdom remains beyond dispute.

The time for action to improve the conditions of museum work is now.

References Cited:

Anderson, Chris & Wulf, Jane. n.d. “Email Charter: Save Our Inboxes!” http://www.emailcharter.org/ (accessed 13 November 2017).

American Association of Museums. 2000. Code of Ethics for Museums. Washington: American Association of Museums [unpagenated version available at http://www.aam-us.org/resources/ethics-standards-and-best-practices/code-of-ethics ].

Bhullar, Charan [Early Resolution Officer, Canada HRSDC Federal Labour Program]. 2007. “Overtime entitlements.” Personal communication via email to Paul C. Thistle, 18 June posted on Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog https://solvetasksaturation.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/canada-labour-code-overtime.pdf (accessed 13 November 2017).

Bunting, Madeline. 2004. Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives. London: HarperCollins Publishers.

Duxbury, Linda and Higgins, Christopher. 2012. Revisiting Work-Life Issues in Canada: The 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada. Ottawa: Carleton University and the University of Western Ontario http://newsroom.carleton.ca/wp-content/files/2012-National-Work-Long-Summary.pdf  (accessed14 November 2017).

Erdman, Sarah et al. 2017. “Leaving the Museum Field.” Alliance Labs blog [American Alliance of Museums] posted 22 September http://labs.aam-us.org/blog/leaving-the-museum-field/ (accessed 25 October 2017).

Good Technology. 2012. “Good Technology Survey Reveals Americans are Working More, but on their Own Schedule.” Sunnydale, CA: Good Technology, Inc. https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/content/news/good-technology-survey-reveals-americans-are-working-more-their-own-schedule (accessed 3 November 2017).

Higgins, Chris, Duxbury, Linda, & Lyons, Sean. 2007. Reducing Work-Life Conflict: What Works? What Doesn’t. Report 5. Ottawa: Health Canada posted 2008 https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/environmental-workplace-health/reports-publications/occupational-health-safety/reducing-work-life-conflict-what-works-what-doesn.html (accessed 1 November 2017).

International Council of Museums. 2004. ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. Paris: International Council of Museums [PDF version] http://icom.museum/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Codes/ICOM-code-En-web.pdf (accessed 15 November 2017).

Merritt, Elizabeth. 2015. “Unsafe Ideas: Building Museum Worker Solidarity for Social Justice.” Center for the Future of Museums Blog posted June 2 at http://futureofmuseums.blogspot.ca/2015/06/unsafe-ideas-building-museum-worker.html (accessed 15 November 2017) [re AAM 2015 “Rogue Session” — How Do We Turn the Social Justice Lens Inward? A Conversation About Internal Museum Labor Practices].

Milldrum, Claire. 2017. “Why I Left The Museum Field: A Guest Post By Claire Milldrum.” ExhibiTricks: A Museum/Exhibit/Design Blog posted 11 September http://blog.orselli.net/2017/09/why-i-left-museum-field-guest-post-by.html (accessed 24 October 2017).

Murphy, James D. 2008. “How to Overcome Task Saturation for Flawless Execution www.myarticlearchive.com/articles/5/071.htm (accessed 13 November 2017).

Murphy, James D. 2000. Business is Combat: A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Winning in Modern Business Warfare. New York: Regan Books.

Museum Workers Speak. 2016. [Storify-like collection of comments on Facebook] https://www.facebook.com/MuseumWorkersSpeak (accessed 9 November 2016).

Ocello, Claudia et al. 2017. “Why are Great Museum Workers Leaving the Field? Survey by Claudia Ocello, Dawn Salerno, Sarah Erdman, & Marieke Van Damme.”  https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1_aHdxmG0Jdb4deqsjyhH9eoDUIPXz_EdkU-7gWuXDwE/edit?usp=sharing (accessed 25 October 2017).

Ontario Nonprofit Network & Toronto Neighbourhood Centres. 2016. Decent Work Charter. Toronto: Ontario Nonprofit Network & Toronto Neighbourhood Centres.

Peña, Elizabeth S. 2012. “Leadership at All Levels.” Museum 91 (3): 44-9 [reprinted from Stevens, Greg & Luke, Wendy ed. 2012. A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums].

Posen, David. 2013. Is Work Killing You? A Doctor’s Prescription for Treating Workplace Stress. Toronto: House of Anansi Press Inc.

Stebbins, Robert A. 2004. Between Work and Leisure: The Common Ground of Two Separate Worlds. New Brunswick, USA: Transaction Publishers.

Sullivan, Nicola. 2015. “Museum Professionals Have to Meet Higher Demands Due to Cuts.” Museums Journal (Museums Association, UK) http://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/06052015-staff-stress (accessed 13 November 2017)

Thistle, Paul C. 2016. “New Research on Retention of Museum Workers.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog posted 22 September https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/new-research-on-retention-of-museum-workers/ (accessed 1 November 2017).

Thistle, Paul C. 2014a. “Vacations ‘Empty of Work’ Essential for Task Saturated Museum Workers.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog posted 7 October https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/vacations-empty-of-work-essential-for-task-saturated-museum-workers/ (accessed 3 November 2017).

Thistle, Paul C. 2014b. “Solutions! Shared Working Document.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog https://solvetasksaturation.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/solutions-copy-post-cma-revised-2014.pdf (accessed 13 November 2017).

Thistle, Paul C. 2014c. “Museum Worker Overload & the Ethics of Exploitation, CMA, Toronto, 9 April 2014: Audience Participant Comments Report” posted on Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog at https://solvetasksaturation.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/museum-worker-overload-session-round-table-report.pdf (accessed 13 November 2017).

Thistle, Paul C. 2013. “Expectation Inflation: “DO YOUR JOB, AND THEN SOME.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum workers blog posted 14 January https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/expectation-inflation-do-your-job-and-then-some/ (accessed 6 November 2016).

Thistle, Paul C. 2012a. “Smartphones & Unpaid Overtime.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog posted 6 August https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/smartphones-unpaid-overtime/ (accessed 3 November 2017). [Also see related items listed or search the blog for “smartphone”]

Thistle, Paul C. 2012b. “Overloading of Entry Level Workers: Forewarned Is Forearmed.” Solving Task Saturation for Museum Workers blog 21 August https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/overloading-of-entry-level-workers-forewarned-is-forearmed/ (accessed 6 November 2017).

Towers, Ian, Duxbury, Linda, & Thomas, John. 2005. “Time Thieves and Space Invaders: Technology, Work and the Organisation.” Paper presented to the 4th Annual Critical Management Studies Conference, July 2005, Cambridge https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiXspLmpb7XAhWX0YMKHe6mDpwQFggmMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fciteseerx.ist.psu.edu%2Fviewdoc%2Fdownload%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.98.9879%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&usg=AOvVaw1zR6kwdxu9gAkQ6jveETRx (accessed 14 November 2017).

Ury, William. 2007. The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes. New York: Bantam Dell [see this blog’s review at https://solvetasksaturation.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/review-of-best-book-for-fully-loaded-camels/ ].

Williams, Joan C. & Boushey, Heather. 2010. The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict: The Poor, the Professionals, and the Missing Middle. [Washington, DC: Center for American Progress & Center for WorkLife Law https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2010/01/25/7194/the-three-faces-of-work-family-conflict/ (accessed 2 November 2017).

Endnotes:

[i] Murphy (2008; 2000) defines task saturation as an overload situation caused by the lack of time, tools, and resources to effectively complete the objective that results in ‘shutting down or quitting.’

[i] Also see Museum Workers Speak (2016) for a miscellaneous, rather disjointed, and thus somewhat difficult to follow collection of social media comments arising from this session.

[ii] The definition of ‘precarious work’ based on that espoused by the International Labour Organisation is: “non-standard employment that is poorly paid, insecure [your blogger strongly recommends that this characterisation should add here: ‘for any reason including causing physical or stress-related mental illness’], unprotected, and cannot support a household (Ontario Nonprofit Network & Toronto Neighbourhood Centres 2016: 3, note 2).

[iii] Search this blog for “Decent Work Charter” to see my critical analyses of this document.

[iv] According to the International Council of Museums (2004: 1) ICOM Code of Ethics First Principle, “museums have a primary responsibility to protect and promote this heritage as well as the human, physical and financial resources made available for that purpose” [emphasis added] (cf. American Association of Museums 2000: 2). It can well be argued that this principle extends beyond just protection from physical injury to include overwork and stress-related outcomes.

[v] For example Ontario- and Canadian federally-regulated organisations are prohibited by law from allowing employees to work uncompensated hours. See Bhullar (2007) for the Canadian federal proscription and any state or provincial labour legislation.

[vi] I plan a future blog post on some recent criticism of “boomer” museum workers. Stay tuned.

[vii] See Thistle (2012b) for a full critique of the AAM staff’s lack of concern regarding the exploitation of entry level museum workers.

[viii] According to sociologist Robert A. Stebbins (2004, ix, 10), museum, library, and archives workers occupy a unique category of people referred to as “occupational devotees:” Occupational devotion is a strong and positive attachment to a form of self-enhancing work, where the sense of achievement is high and the core activity (set of tasks) is endowed with such intense appeal that the line between the work and leisure is virtually erased. Stebbins argues that occupational devotees work with a high value commitment and a “profound love for the job” that, significantly, is regarded as “socially important, highly challenging, intensely absorbing, immensely appealing . . . rewarded by self-actualisation or self-development” (Stebbins 2004: 10, cf. 17, 76).

[ix] Defined  as apparatuses that increase the number of possible work locations [e.g. home, coffee shop, vacation setting] allowing a knowledge worker to perform work outside traditional hours and locations, meaning that work is extended in the dimensions of time and space (Towers, Duxbury, & Thomas 2005: 8-9 ff.).

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