When everyone is encouraged to think of herself as a business, working for anyone else can only ever be considered training ground.
As companies have divested themselves of long-term obligations to workers (read: pensions, benefits, paths to advancement), employees (read: job-seekers) have developed an in-kind taste for short-term, commitment-free work arrangements. Their aim in landing any given job has since become landing another job elsewhere, using the job as an opportunity to develop transferable skills — and then to go ahead and transfer. The appeal of any given job becomes how lucrative it will be to quit.
At Aeon, Ilana Gershon describes how this calculus of quitting changes workplaces dynamics, management techniques, division of labor, and the nature of being co-workers. “After all,” Gershon writes, “everyone works in the quitting economy, and everyone knows it.”
If you are a white-collar worker, it is simply rational to view yourself first and…