Nicki is an unskilled worker in 2023 London, and spends her days hopping from hourly job to hourly job after underbidding the competition. Spend a day with Nicki as she tries to work the future employment system.

Arup,Social Life, Re.Work, Commonplace, Tim Maughan, and Nesta collaborated on the Future Londoners project, which envisioned ten London residents in the year 2023, trying to create a realistic sense of how they might live, work, and play. Maughan took one of those imaginary Londoners, 19-year-old retail contractor Nicki, and wrote the story "Zero Hours" about a day in Nicki's life. Nicki begins her day by bidding on contracts for that day's work:

0714, Wanstead

Nicki is awake even before her mum calls her from the other side of the door. She’s sat up in bed, crackly FM radio ebbing from tiny supermarket grade speakers, her fingers flicking across her charity shop grade tablet’s touchscreen. She’s close to shutting down two auctions when a third pushes itself across her screen with it’s familiar white and green branded arrogance. Starbucks. Oxford Circus. 4 hour shift from 1415.

She sighs, dismisses it. She’s not even sure why she still keeps that notification running. Starbucks, the holy fucking grail. But she can’t go there, can’t even try, without that elusive Barista badge.

Which is why she’s been betting like mad on this Pret a Manger auction, dropping her hourly down to near pointless levels. It says it’s in back of house food prep, but she’s seen the forum stories, the other z-contractors who always say take any job where they serve coffee, just in case. That’s how I did it, they say, forced my way in, all bright faces and make up and flirting and ‘this coffee machine looks AMAZING how does it work?’ and then pow, Barista badge.


Read the whole thing at Medium. There's a certain dismal plausibility to it.

Zero Hours [Medium via MetaFilter]