If you’re new here, there are likely a few things you’d want to know about this newsletter and the bloke who writes it. In other words, why should you give it your time, attention, or, indeed, money? So after a recent break, I’m taking the opportunity this Sunday to re-introduce myself to you and the reason this newsletter exists.
1. A Bit of Background to Sunday Letters
On March 14th 2021, Sunday Letters found a new home here on Substack. Prior to that move, the newsletter was on MailChimp with almost 2,500 subscribers. But engagement with each issue was low (12% to 15%) and was not improving on its own. So I took a deep breath, cut the list to about 1,000 and restarted. That move proved positive because it simplified things, cut the cost of publishing to zero (apart from my time) and began offering a paid subscription option. This is not a money-making exercise, by the way. If it were, I’d have pulled the plug long ago for its dismal commercial performance. Regardless, income is very small and growing. New readers usually find Sunday Letters via my personal site, Substack itself, or social media.
2. About Me & The Sunday Letters Philosophy
I’m Larry Maguire, recovering entrepreneur, Work Psychologist and writer. You can find out more about me here and about my professional work here. I write about life, work, and the human pursuit of happiness, elusive and all as the latter may be. I pursue answers to the question of how we may work free from the burden of hierarchical and financial constraints and take command of our own daily work. Because many of us do not work free – we are under the command of others towards ends of their making, not our own. We are, therefore, tools, objects to be manipulated and pressed for what can be extracted from us. The need to earn a living supersedes the right to choose work that we might actually enjoy doing for its own sake. This is the case for the majority of people.
I am for people, not organisations, and everything I write promotes working and living free. In this sense, my motivations and, by extension, the philosophy of The Sunday Letters Journal is socialist. If I am to be categorised at all, then I am a humanist-socialist. For some, this immediately implies that I am to be despised, especially if they pray to the Gods of Capitalism. More on this dialectic in later essays. Suffice it, for now, consider the possible alternatives to the survival of the fittest Malthusian ideology that is so dominant in the world and, indeed, so destructive to human flourishing.
3. The Structure of The Content You’ll Receive
Over the past few weeks, I had time to take stock. I felt that my writing online was a bit fractured and all over the place. My personal site, The Performatist, Peak, Medium, LinkedIn, and Revue – I had content on all these platforms, but I had no real strategy for how that content should be published. I asked myself, what is Sunday Letters about and what real value am I bringing to people’s lives? Would I subscribe or pay for it? I thought. Maybe not, was the answer. I asked myself; what do I stand for, and why should I continue writing and publishing this material?
The conclusions I came to (while reddening my pale north European skin on the Northwest coast of France) resulted in a few changes and a reframing of the Sunday Letters philosophy(as mentioned above) and content.
First Change – The Sunday Letters Journal is the primary source for all material I will write from here on. If you want to get essays and other material, this is where you’ll get them first. I will then re-publish to LinkedIn, Revue, Medium and so on a week or more later.
Second Change – If you’ve been a reader for a while, you’ll likely notice a slight name change from Sunday Letters to The Sunday Letters Journal. There’s also a bit of a rebrand, although hardly too dramatic.
Third Change – the above name change reflects Sunday Letters as not merely a newsletter but a journal of content published under three individual newsletters to which readers can subscribe separately if they choose. These three newsletters are;
Future Work – reflecting, as the name suggests, an analysis of the future of work and how our work and personal lives are changing due to technological, political and cultural influences.
Unworking – examines how we may change our hegemonic common sense about work, and through the knowledge of the psychology of human behaviour and performance, we may re-write the script on work.
Society – Essays published under this section of The Sunday Letters Journal take a broader look at society than work allows. We’ll also explore aspects of the individual and collective Self.
Accessing All Content Published
Essays published on Sundays will always be free to read, as they have been since the inception of this newsletter and may be under any of the aforementioned three categories. Essays published mid-week will be accessible to paying subscribers only. Excerpts will be sent to all subscribers with an invite to support the newsletter, usually with a discount like the one below.
I work for myself and use my time to explore work-related topics that I believe are important for all human beings to consider. My reach might be small, but that’s not reason enough to cease what I do. So, when you support my work, you support independent thinking, research, and writing. As I said, I am for people, not corporations. So, your subscriptions help me continue my work, research, fact-check, purchase reading material, digital tools and so on. When you go paid, you become a patron of this newsletter.
4. The Work Survey & Other Things
The Work Survey – I’m conducting research for a book, and I’d love to get your input. Unsurprisingly, the book focuses on daily work, its history and future, and how we can take command of it for ourselves. In that sense, everything I write for The Sunday Letters Journal is in preparation for this book. Can you take 3 mins to let me know your feelings about daily work? Your input is incredibly valuable to this research.
Peak – Peak Performer is a community space I quietly launched about two months ago. Peak is for current and aspiring self-employed people dedicated to personal development and peak performance at work. Members can connect to like-minded solo workers and business owners, develop their mental skillset, and help each other find clarity and direction in daily work using the science of psychology. Membership is free (for now) but by invitation only. You can grab an invite here.
Career & Business Coaching – I’m a Work & Organisational Psychologist, and when I’m not writing, my professional work is centred on helping people find clarity and direction in their work. I work with directly-employed workers, the self-employed, business owners, and corporate executives. If you’re somehow at odds with your work, or you’ve got big plans and are unsure how to execute them, book a free 15 mins chat with me here.
A Final Word
Thanks for being a part of Sunday Letters.
In a world that works so impressively hard to gain your attention solely for commercial ends, I appreciate that you would consider placing it here. Whether you choose to support The Sunday Letters Journal financially or not, I’m grateful for your time. Weekly I will bring you reports and commentary on the nature and value of daily work and, critically, how we might take command of it for ourselves.
We live in a society bound by rules, and as such, we may not ever be truly free. But we may find a way to improve things by questioning the status quo and our hegemonic common sense about it. Our success and happiness depend upon it.