Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

5

[...] Belfort explains to workers before a shift:

So you listen to me and you listen well. Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good, pick up the phone and start dialling! Is your landlord ready to evict you? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialling! Does your girlfriend think you’re a fucking worthless loser? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialling! I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich!

This highlights the individualist subjectivity of sales, the responsibility of the worker to close the sale, and in doing so get rich and solve their own problems.

from wolf of wall street.

—p.5 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

[...] Belfort explains to workers before a shift:

So you listen to me and you listen well. Are you behind on your credit card bills? Good, pick up the phone and start dialling! Is your landlord ready to evict you? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialling! Does your girlfriend think you’re a fucking worthless loser? Good! Pick up the phone and start dialling! I want you to deal with your problems by becoming rich!

This highlights the individualist subjectivity of sales, the responsibility of the worker to close the sale, and in doing so get rich and solve their own problems.

from wolf of wall street.

—p.5 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
17

In sales call centres, particularly those engaged in cold calling, it is relatively easy to calculate the performance of each worker. The computer-enabled telephone system can log each sale and note how long is taken between calls. The extraction of surplus value in the labour process is far more straightforward than in the other types of call centre. This is significant as the worker in cold-calling sales faces sharper pressures and is susceptible to the more aggressive forms of surveillance and control. [...]

on tech as a way of fairly accurately assessing ROI for workers

—p.17 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

In sales call centres, particularly those engaged in cold calling, it is relatively easy to calculate the performance of each worker. The computer-enabled telephone system can log each sale and note how long is taken between calls. The extraction of surplus value in the labour process is far more straightforward than in the other types of call centre. This is significant as the worker in cold-calling sales faces sharper pressures and is susceptible to the more aggressive forms of surveillance and control. [...]

on tech as a way of fairly accurately assessing ROI for workers

—p.17 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
30

[...] As Marx argues in Capital, the ‘worker emerges from the process of pro­duc­tion look­ing dif­fer­ent from when he entered it’. Starting as a seller of their own labour power, the workers come to the conclusion that they ‘have to put their head together . . . as a class’ so ‘they can be pre­vented from sell­ing them­selves and their fam­i­lies into slav­ery and death by vol­un­tary con­tract with cap­i­tal’. For Tronti this is ‘a political leap’, and ‘it is the leap that the pas­sage through pro­duc­tion pro­vokes in what we can call the com­po­si­tion of the work­ing class or even the com­po­si­tion of the class of work­ers’.

—p.30 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

[...] As Marx argues in Capital, the ‘worker emerges from the process of pro­duc­tion look­ing dif­fer­ent from when he entered it’. Starting as a seller of their own labour power, the workers come to the conclusion that they ‘have to put their head together . . . as a class’ so ‘they can be pre­vented from sell­ing them­selves and their fam­i­lies into slav­ery and death by vol­un­tary con­tract with cap­i­tal’. For Tronti this is ‘a political leap’, and ‘it is the leap that the pas­sage through pro­duc­tion pro­vokes in what we can call the com­po­si­tion of the work­ing class or even the com­po­si­tion of the class of work­ers’.

—p.30 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
32

[...] Call centres have become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy and the growth of a neoliberal orthodoxy with widespread programmes of ‘deregulation, privatization, and withdrawal of the state from many areas of social provision’. This transformation of work has not been accompanied by a new wave of worker self-organisation or the development of successful trade union initiatives. It is in this economic environment – and one that is very favourable to capital – that call centres have flourished. However, on the other hand, the rise of call centres also represents the desperation of capital. This relentless drive to sell is a reflection of the struggle for companies to remain profitable, which often involves shifting the burden of selling onto workers who rely on commission.

reminiscent of other gig economy-like forms of work

—p.32 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

[...] Call centres have become emblematic of the shift towards a post-industrial service economy and the growth of a neoliberal orthodoxy with widespread programmes of ‘deregulation, privatization, and withdrawal of the state from many areas of social provision’. This transformation of work has not been accompanied by a new wave of worker self-organisation or the development of successful trade union initiatives. It is in this economic environment – and one that is very favourable to capital – that call centres have flourished. However, on the other hand, the rise of call centres also represents the desperation of capital. This relentless drive to sell is a reflection of the struggle for companies to remain profitable, which often involves shifting the burden of selling onto workers who rely on commission.

reminiscent of other gig economy-like forms of work

—p.32 Introduction (1) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
36

While these introductory talks were going on, I noticed that expressions of the obligatory company values were plastered on the walls: ‘focused, dynamic, pro-active, and committed’. Although these four terms appeared throughout the office in various fonts, they did not seem to mean anything in practice. The trainer pointed up at them and said, ‘We want a culture with these! This is not like other places where they are stuck up on the walls – I mean they are stuck on the walls here too – but we also have them run through everything we do!’ Bizarrely this extended to demanding that workers dressed in a smart/casual uniform in the call centre. Considering none of the customers would ever see a call-centre worker, the stipulation to wear black trousers and smart shoes appeared punitive and not clearly related to any of the four values.

hahaha

—p.36 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

While these introductory talks were going on, I noticed that expressions of the obligatory company values were plastered on the walls: ‘focused, dynamic, pro-active, and committed’. Although these four terms appeared throughout the office in various fonts, they did not seem to mean anything in practice. The trainer pointed up at them and said, ‘We want a culture with these! This is not like other places where they are stuck up on the walls – I mean they are stuck on the walls here too – but we also have them run through everything we do!’ Bizarrely this extended to demanding that workers dressed in a smart/casual uniform in the call centre. Considering none of the customers would ever see a call-centre worker, the stipulation to wear black trousers and smart shoes appeared punitive and not clearly related to any of the four values.

hahaha

—p.36 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
40

The start of each shift at the call centre begins in the break room. The supervisors lead a ‘buzz session’, which is essentially an opportunity for the company to remind workers of the different rules, stress the importance of quality, and then attempt to encourage some kind of enthusiasm for the upcoming shift. The content of these sessions varied, but most involved playing some sort of game. These range from competitions testing product knowledge (perhaps not the most exciting) to word games – for example, each person in turn shouting out the name of a country, following alphabetical order with no repetition, eliminating those who fail to do so until only the winner remains. Although being made to play children’s games was somewhat demeaning, it did offer the benefit of stretching out the time before we had to be on the call-centre floor. Some workers tried to extend these sessions by asking lots of questions and pretending they needed more help than they actually did.

holy shit

—p.40 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

The start of each shift at the call centre begins in the break room. The supervisors lead a ‘buzz session’, which is essentially an opportunity for the company to remind workers of the different rules, stress the importance of quality, and then attempt to encourage some kind of enthusiasm for the upcoming shift. The content of these sessions varied, but most involved playing some sort of game. These range from competitions testing product knowledge (perhaps not the most exciting) to word games – for example, each person in turn shouting out the name of a country, following alphabetical order with no repetition, eliminating those who fail to do so until only the winner remains. Although being made to play children’s games was somewhat demeaning, it did offer the benefit of stretching out the time before we had to be on the call-centre floor. Some workers tried to extend these sessions by asking lots of questions and pretending they needed more help than they actually did.

holy shit

—p.40 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
41

Jokes were also a fundamental part of elaboration on the script. At two points on the script, workers are encouraged to try joking with the customer. The first is during the confirmation of details. There are two eligibility questions where the customer is asked to confirm ‘that you spend seven out of 12 months a year in the UK?’ and ‘that this is where you pay your taxes?’ These questions respectively open the door to two jokes: ‘So no long holidays planned this year then?’ and ‘No escaping that, is there?’ (On a couple of occasions I tried adding to the second question ‘unless you are Vodafone’, but this was quickly discouraged by the supervisors.) The second point where joking is encouraged is later in the script, during the communication of the exclusion ‘that you won’t be covered for death as a result of . . . participation in any illegal acts’, to which almost every worker adds, with feigned laughter, ‘so if you were planning to rob a bank we wouldn’t be able to pay out!’ While this is presumably a new joke for the customer, the workers will get to enjoy it over and over again throughout the day.

—p.41 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

Jokes were also a fundamental part of elaboration on the script. At two points on the script, workers are encouraged to try joking with the customer. The first is during the confirmation of details. There are two eligibility questions where the customer is asked to confirm ‘that you spend seven out of 12 months a year in the UK?’ and ‘that this is where you pay your taxes?’ These questions respectively open the door to two jokes: ‘So no long holidays planned this year then?’ and ‘No escaping that, is there?’ (On a couple of occasions I tried adding to the second question ‘unless you are Vodafone’, but this was quickly discouraged by the supervisors.) The second point where joking is encouraged is later in the script, during the communication of the exclusion ‘that you won’t be covered for death as a result of . . . participation in any illegal acts’, to which almost every worker adds, with feigned laughter, ‘so if you were planning to rob a bank we wouldn’t be able to pay out!’ While this is presumably a new joke for the customer, the workers will get to enjoy it over and over again throughout the day.

—p.41 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
46

[...] Treatment of people, regardless of their situation, as potential sales that need to be closed is an uncomfortable experience. The retort of the supervisor was that successful sales are made by people who are ‘resilient’ or ‘don’t get put off by hearing no’, as if the responsibility for the sale lies entirely with the call-centre worker, regardless of whether or not the person on the end of the phone actually wants or needs the product.

think about the question of where agency lies more, and why it matters (how does it relate to my post on adtech?)

—p.46 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

[...] Treatment of people, regardless of their situation, as potential sales that need to be closed is an uncomfortable experience. The retort of the supervisor was that successful sales are made by people who are ‘resilient’ or ‘don’t get put off by hearing no’, as if the responsibility for the sale lies entirely with the call-centre worker, regardless of whether or not the person on the end of the phone actually wants or needs the product.

think about the question of where agency lies more, and why it matters (how does it relate to my post on adtech?)

—p.46 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
55

It is therefore possible to identify a shift from the exploitation of the bodies of workers during the Fordist mode of production to exploiting the minds of workers in increasingly larger numbers. These shifts towards the exploitation of mental labour – whether communicative, emotional or affective – forms part of the attempt to increase profitability in contemporary capitalism. Unlike under Fordism, ‘it will no longer be possible to produce large quantities of standardized goods, not to accumulate inventories thinking that they will eventually sell at some future, non entirely predictable moment’. What takes its place is ‘the need to produce limited amounts of differentiated goods’, targeted ‘according to the changing “taste” of consumers that we will need to know as well as possible in order to better reach them, while at the same time trying to find the best ways to realize gains in productivity’. 29 The increased pressure to realise the surplus value embedded in commodities has created new and innovative ways to reach customers and convince them to buy. This has also combined with the introduction of the profit motive further into new areas and subsequently commodifying goods and services that were previously produced or consumed in different ways. The result is an increased emphasis on affective and emotional labour, the drive to convince consumers stemming from the impulse to realise profit in ever more moments.

—p.55 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

It is therefore possible to identify a shift from the exploitation of the bodies of workers during the Fordist mode of production to exploiting the minds of workers in increasingly larger numbers. These shifts towards the exploitation of mental labour – whether communicative, emotional or affective – forms part of the attempt to increase profitability in contemporary capitalism. Unlike under Fordism, ‘it will no longer be possible to produce large quantities of standardized goods, not to accumulate inventories thinking that they will eventually sell at some future, non entirely predictable moment’. What takes its place is ‘the need to produce limited amounts of differentiated goods’, targeted ‘according to the changing “taste” of consumers that we will need to know as well as possible in order to better reach them, while at the same time trying to find the best ways to realize gains in productivity’. 29 The increased pressure to realise the surplus value embedded in commodities has created new and innovative ways to reach customers and convince them to buy. This has also combined with the introduction of the profit motive further into new areas and subsequently commodifying goods and services that were previously produced or consumed in different ways. The result is an increased emphasis on affective and emotional labour, the drive to convince consumers stemming from the impulse to realise profit in ever more moments.

—p.55 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago
56

Within mental labour it is possible to distinguish between ‘brain workers’ and ‘chain workers’. Whereas ‘brain workers’ are harnessed for their ‘communication, invention and creation’, the ‘chain workers’ are those ‘people who sit at their terminals in front of a screen, repeating every day the same operation a thousand times’, and ‘relate to their labor in a way similar to industrial workers’. The call-centre worker – or ‘chain worker’ – is therefore an appendage to a new kind of machine. Not the assembly line with its physical demands, but a complex network of telecommunications technology and, in this case, immaterial financial instruments – not particular movements repeated over and over, but a repetition of a performance aiming to convince people in new and innovative ways to part with their money

—p.56 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago

Within mental labour it is possible to distinguish between ‘brain workers’ and ‘chain workers’. Whereas ‘brain workers’ are harnessed for their ‘communication, invention and creation’, the ‘chain workers’ are those ‘people who sit at their terminals in front of a screen, repeating every day the same operation a thousand times’, and ‘relate to their labor in a way similar to industrial workers’. The call-centre worker – or ‘chain worker’ – is therefore an appendage to a new kind of machine. Not the assembly line with its physical demands, but a complex network of telecommunications technology and, in this case, immaterial financial instruments – not particular movements repeated over and over, but a repetition of a performance aiming to convince people in new and innovative ways to part with their money

—p.56 Working in the Call Centre (34) by Jamie Woodcock 1 month ago