Jobs and Working

What a job search custom tells us about the death of free-market egalitarianism

In the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith imagined a pin factory with ten workers, and predicted that capital owners would be on the factory floor doing manual labor alongside their employees. Instead, Amazon packs thousands of workers into each of its warehouses, and some of those workers reportedly pee into plastic bottles for fear of getting disciplined if they “waste time” on bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is a millionaire, 151,000 times over.

In my latest essay for The Outline, I talk about how the custom that job candidates should send thank-you notes to their interviewers fits into a long history of workers being placed socially and culturally beneath management.

This piece was a lot of fun to write. I’ve been very inspired by philosopher Elizabeth Anderson recently, and I’m excited to keep exploring her ideas.