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Shadow work: the unpaid job you didn't know you were doing

Shadow work: the unpaid job you didn't know you were doing
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Do you remember when gas stations had attendants to pump your gas (assuming you don't live in New Jersey or Oregon)? How about the time before ATMs when you had to go inside the bank and wait in line to see a teller?

Has your grocery store or local pharmacy put in self-checkout machines? Do you print out your airplane boarding pass online? Did you throw away your own trash the last time you went to the coffee shop?

If you've pumped your own gas, used an ATM, gone through self-checkout, printed your own boarding pass or cleaned up your own table, then you're performing "shadow work." Sounds ominous, doesn't it?

Shadow work is a new concept gaining traction in economic circles, and it basically means that companies are shifting work from their employees to you, the customer. That's a potential problem for a number of reasons.

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