Task: Work assignment

Exercise 10 - Text Analysis

Published: 29.06.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017
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Read the text below and answer the questions at the end.

The Death of the Full-Time Job

  1. Today's unemployment numbers are economically uninteresting - but socially
  2. fascinating. They show the jobless numbers stabilising, as you'd expected, but the
  3. really interesting stuff is hidden away in the details. They show what can only be
  4. described as the death of the full-time job. Even as unemployment is stabilising, the
  5. number of full-time jobs is still shrinking - and part-time jobs are very much on the
  6. rise. And not because we want this new flexibility. The number of people saying that
  7. they are working part-time because they couldn't find a full-time job is over 1 million –
  8. an astonishing number. There’s also quite a jump in the numbers simply opting out of
  9. the labour market, especially the young, who self-describe themselves as students.
  10. “Student” may well be a convenient euphemism for “unemployed”, just as “resting”
  11. often is for actors. Whether they will ever get to go on a course or get a job is a moot
  12. point.
  13. This all has long-term consequences for the nation, and I suggest it means an even
  14. more divided, unequal society. Those who have traditional full-time secure jobs with a
  15. pension are increasingly a blessed minority - the rest of the nation is scrabbling away
  16. trying to get work where and when they can, with not even paid holidays, let alone a
  17. final pension scheme. That also, by the way, means that they will be able to build up
  18. less capital over their lives, and banks and building societies will be unwilling or
  19. unable under tougher rules to offer mortgage to the newly casualised British worker.
  20. And the poorer you are, the worse the life chances of your children, so these new,
  21. deeper inequalities will echo down the generations. The Britain that leaves this
  22. recession will look very different from the one that entered it.

Adapted from an article by Sean O'Grady in The Independent, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Questions

  1. In line 2 you find as you’d expected. Write this sentence without using the contraction.
  2. In the first 12-line paragraph, there is a sentence fragment placed between two full stops.  Identify it and turn it into the corresponding complete sentence.
  3. Why are the words student and resting placed within inverted commas in line 10?
  4. What does the author see as the similarity between student and actor (lines 10-11)?
  5. Find the words and expressions in this text that mean the same as: become fewer, increasing, choosing not to work, uncertain, fortunate/holy, move quickly about, downturn.
  6. Explain the meaning of to offer mortgages to the newly casualised British worker in
    simpler language (line 19).
  7. Which word does it (line 22) refer back to?
  8. Write a paragraph, based on this article, in which you explain why ‘the death of the full-time job’ will have important consequences for Britain in the future.  Use your own words.

 

Suggested key

  1.  Here you’d expected = you had expected.
  2.  In line 6 we find: And not because we want this new flexibility. It consists basically of a sub-ordinate clause. The corresponding full clause would have to be something like: And this is not because we want this new flexibility.
  3. The two words appear within inverted commas because they are not real students or actors.  Such designations are used ironically to gloss over the unpleasant facts that they have no work.
  4. Both words students and actors hide the brutal fact of their unemployment behind more acceptable names of categories in official statistics.
  5. become fewer = shrinking; increasing = on the rise; choosing not to work = opting out of the labour market; uncertain = a moot point;  fortunate/holy= a blessed (minority); move quickly about = scrabbling away; downturn = recession.
  6. to offer mortgages to the newly casualised British worker = to offer loans to workers who have recently been laid off, (i.e. suffered that ‘casuality’).
  7. It = this recession. Here is a more explicit version of the last sentence: The Britain that leaves this recession will look very different from the Britain that entered this recession.
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