On Quitting and Getting Played by Annie Duke
At The Los Angeles Review of Books.
In the postwar Fordist compromise, employers needed workers to master their jobs and stick around, at predictable rates. The Fordist compromise with labor meant that full-time and long-term contracts were both the ideal and the norm. Since the original dot-com boom and bust in 2001, venture capital and Silicon Valley have been dismantling those norms and ideals.
More and more of the economy is moving away from long-term salaried work. In the platform and gig economy, there is an ideological motivation for capital to encourage workers to think of themselves as flexible and creative independent operators or project-based contractors. Employers encourage this because it gives them a fluid workforce and new ways to get out of providing healthcare benefits. Workers like some aspects of this, even as we all wake up to the new shape of exploitation. In many ways, then, “optimal quitting,” as Duke calls it, is an important part of surviving in the era of flexible work...