Q1 2021

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11 S P R I N G Q 1 I S S U E G E T T I N G O R G A N I Z E D Remote Odds YES, SHOWS CAN BE ORGANIZED EVEN DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC "There's no place like home," Dorothy avows, willing herself back to the banal comforts of Kansas. Now, as we try to will ourselves out of the shared nightmare of this pandemic, 12 months (at this writ- ing) after Los Angeles issued its initial stay-at-home order, I don't doubt Doro- thy's conviction that there's no place like home. The question now is whether there exists, in fact, anyplace other than home. Home occupies all, being now not merely a domicile, but also simultaneously a bunker, a hermitage, and an office. One year into this catastrophe, I num- ber myself among the fortunate ones: My family and I have avoided falling ill, and I have work. This global ordeal tries my pa- tience and weighs heavily upon my spirit, but I know that I've no personal cause for complaint. It has exacted far more terrible tolls from far too many. Even those of us who remain comparatively unscathed, though, are not unchanged. One of the subtle but significant impacts the pandemic has had upon me is the way in which it has altered my understanding of that place like no other, home. Like a lot of our members who have had employment during the pandemic, Editors Guild staff members have been working from home. Most of the work we do can be performed remotely, and remote work affords obvious advantages in terms of safety. What's less obvious is how working from home affects work-life balance, how it changes our relation- ship to our work and to our coworkers, and even how it challenges our idea of home itself. Yeoman farmers, feudal serfs, or even the traditional artisans who first formed guilds would not have fully shared our def inition of " home." But, since the advent of industrial capitalism, the notion of home has largely come to be understood as a space distinct from the worksite at which we labor for wages. Home is where one lives, sure, but "liv- ing" isn't just about drawing breath. (In pre-pandemic times, many of us would spend the majority of our waking hours in workplaces; we didn't properly "live" there.) Home is the space in which we belong during those periods of time when our time belongs fully to us — that is, when we're not selling our time and talents to an employer. If industrialization helped to define "home" as the place we live when we control our own time, a post-industrial pandemic has upended that understand- ing, perhaps permanently, for those of us with jobs that lend themselves to remote work. That transformation, to be sure, isn't all bad. Obviously, working from home has been instrumental in helping us to remain healthy during a plague. Moreover, it has freed us from the drudgery of daily commutes, and it has given us more opportunity to spend time in proximity to those we most love. I've been relishing the lunches with my wife and kid, and it's great being able to prune tomato plants in my garden at the same time that I'm on a conference call. In many respects, working from home is a luxury. But the collapse of the physical dis- tinction between home and work can make maintaining the equilibrium of work-life balance trickier. I've spoken to many post-production professionals working from home who speak of in- creased pressures, implicit or explicit, to work through breaks, to work irregular hours, or to put in unpaid overtime. When we work where we rest, it gets harder to police the boundaries between time that belongs to our employers and time that we retain for ourselves. More salient to the question of or- ganizing, perhaps, is how remote work affects our relationships with coworkers. E v e n a s o u r w o r k i n g l i v e s n o w e n - croach upon the sanctuary of the home, colleagues are more distant, and connec- tions between coworkers less organic. Our family members are perhaps more like workmates, while our workmates are less like family. Organizing is all about forging soli- darity with coworkers to exercise more power vis-à-vis bosses. With the world of post-production coming increasingly Rob Callahan

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