Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Contractors, by Lisa Ko

Amazon Original Stories, September 2020

Sandra Guzman in New Jersey, and Sandie Guzman in Manila, get accidentally connected by a careless journalist. Soon they are exchanging emails, seeing each other's problems and advantages--and changing their lives.

The two women are contractors working as contract moderators for "the largest social media company in the world." As contractors, not direct employees, they don't get the company salaries, don't get the company benefits, and are overworked and struggling to make ends meet.

As content moderators, they have to look at a lot of really vile stuff.

Sandra is a single mother, living with a boyfriend who isn't a bad guy but whom at this point she'd rather leave if either of them could afford it. 

Sandie is a few years younger, with the university degree Sandra never got, living with her family in an apartment smaller than she grew up in. 
Sandra's mother is in Manilla, having moved back after Sandra's father died. Sandra, when she can, is sending her mother money to help cover her expenses.

Initially, the two women look at each other's lives, and are a bit resentful. Sandra looks at Sandie in Manila, and thinks of the lower cost of living, and having all her family around her. Sandie looks at Sandra in New Jersey, with higher pay, not smothered by family all around, and surely able to afford a plane ticket to visit her mother anytime she wants.

The more they exchange information about their lives and work, though, the more they realize they're both being exploited.

And then they start thinking, and making decisions to take their lives back.


I got this book as part of the Amazon Prime Reading program, and am reading it voluntarily.

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