Bleats

Competitive Office Chair Racing Is The Sport Australia Has Been Waiting For

Reckon you and your officemates have what it takes to turn pro?

There’s a very decent chance that you work in an office, but chances are you don’t train in it. However, if Australia would simply follow the example of the industrious people of Japan then we could be combining the two.

Specifically, for the noble and venerable sport of office chair racing.

This brave contest of feet and casters started in Kyoto in 2009 – which, if you’ve ever been to Kyoto, suggests that negotiating narrow spaces and sharp corners is the key skill required to master the craft of office chair racing – and has now spread to ten different sites around the nation.

It’s basically an endurance race with three-person teams riding the one chair relay-style to complete as many laps as possible around a 200 metre track. Tsuyoshi Tahara, the genius who turned what was presumably a Friday afternoon tradition into a sport, explained that “I wanted to create something no one has made before.”

And… well, he did.

The prize for winning this gruelling and stupid challenge? 90 kilos of rice. So technically even the champions would be amateurs, which leads to the next obvious question:

When oh when will the International Olympic Committee respond to our petition and see this introduced for 2024?

In any case, we’re putting our team together. Reckon your office has what it takes? WE WILL TAKE YOU DOWN.

Job Insecurity Is The New Normal And It's Playing Havoc On Our Mental Health

Modern life, huh? It's out to get us.

Do you have a permanent full time job? If so, congratulations: you’re now officially in the minority.

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work did some tooling about with the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data and came to the startling conclusion that, for the first time ever, the majority of working Australians don’t have full time employment will leave entitlements.

You know, those jobs that give sick leave, time off, a nice regular wage that banks like when approving mortgages? Those ones. They’re getting less common.

It’s been sliding for a while but this is the first time that it’s dipped below half the working population. Specifically, 49.97 per cent of Australians enjoyed that, with part time work (31.7 per cent) on the rise along with self-employment, casual and underemployed workers.

In other words, insecure work is on the rise – even in places like universities which used to be a source of good, reliable jobs and now have the majority of their workforce casualised in Victoria, according to the Age.

And this is the case in similar countries like the US where jobs like “food delivery person” and “taxi driver” have been phased out for self-employed contractors who shoulder all their own costs – petrol, insurance and so forth – while getting no benefits like sick leave or guaranteed hours.

This is obviously super-great for companies who don’t have to actually employ people and can enjoy total flexibility in their hiring. And it’s super-terrible for human beings because uncertainty and insecurity plays utter havoc on people’s brain-meat.

And also, this guy.

It turns out that people like having answers to things like “can I make rent?” and “will my card be refused at the supermarket?” and “can I make plans for tomorrow night without having to cancel because I get called into work and/or will I spend all day tomorrow waiting for a call into work that never comes?”

For example, take a look at the situation in the US where the rise of insecure work has coincided with an explosion in mental heath issues, including suicide. (Fun fact: if you’re not in a full time job with health insurance benefits in the US, chances are you couldn’t afford mental health care in any case. So that’s a thing.)

And the Journal of Occupational Medicine has called for urgent research into some of the most visible problems with the gig economy in the UK, saying that it “has engaged many workers who are highly educated and might previously have been in traditional employer–employee relationships, and appears to increase their vulnerability to wage theft, independent contractor misclassification, job insecurity, and lack of occupational health protections.”

UK researcher Joanna Wilde has described the conditions of the gig economy and its isolation, insecure work hours and unpredictable pay as “absolute recipe for a stress-related illness… You couldn’t treat a human being in a way that is more guaranteed to generate some sort of mental health problem.”

And that’s what Australia is apparently signing up for in ever-greater numbers.

So what do we do? Well, oddly enough, the election might help.

 

The future of work is a key battleground for this poll, whether that’s the Coalition plumping for mining jobs in central Queensland or Labor fighting to reverse penalty rate cuts and legislate pay rises in the child care sector.

And it’s a battle better fought now, before we’re all app-driven gig-drones hoping to hear that ding that means we might cover our expenses this week.

When The AFLW Is Attracting Bigger Crowds Than The NRL, It Deserves A Proper Competition

53,000 AFLW fans can't be wrong.

So, on Sunday night the grand final of the Women’s AFL season happened in Adelaide before a record-breaking crowd of 53,034 people, and viewed by a ratings smashing 400,000+ people across Australia.

And as the official Adelaide correspondent for the GOAT empire I can confirm that the town was abuzz about the game. Kids were super excited. Adults were super excited. Blokes in the office had spirited conversations about the form of Erin Phillips and whether the Crows would make it two grand finals.

And spoiler: they totally did, playing a hell of a game against Carlton for a 10.3 (63) to 2.6 (18) victory.

So let’s ask the obvious question: when are we going to stop pretending this is a fad and start taking women’s AFL seriously?

As in, giving the teams a full season rather than the current seven rounds with a final in March before the “proper” boys season begins. As in, paying the players so they’re not fitting this in around their day jobs. As in, take it as seriously as the majority of Australians clearly do.

By comparison the boys’ AFL season is 23 rounds and players earn hundreds of thousands a year (or over a million for some players). That’s… look, that’s something of a discrepancy, really.

No new sport has had the sort of pickup that AFLW has done. In three years it’s gone from nothing to one of the biggest spectator sports in the nation with a huge audience of women, men and kids – and, obviously, a far smaller audience of sad and scared men whining about how dumb it is because that’s how things work for some idiotic reason. Thanks a bunch, patriarchy.

And interest in AFLW is breaking the game in the historically AFL-averse non-southern states. The dudes have failed to usurp rugby so far, so it’s time to give the dames a shot.

Change can’t come soon enough – mind you, when teams like the Adelaide Crows see their female players significantly outperforming their male counterparts there’s a pretty solid incentive to focus on the winning team.

And look, we here at GOAT are totally down with changing Rundle Mall to the Erin Phillips Walkway Of Greatness. It just makes sense.

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