The workers of the "creative industries" are paradigmatic subjects of the process of "work fragmentation" in the post-Fordist era. Cutting across any division between life and work, employment and unemployment, performing arts are, in many ways, a laboratory of job flexibility, where innovative contractual arrangements and professional trajectories have been advanced. Empirical data from a combined method based on both a quantitative survey and in-depth interviews with artists, technicians, and organizers working in the fields of theatre, music, dance, and video-making are used to map the multiplicity of these forms of labour, whose hybrid status is epitomized by the paradoxical condition of what we have defined as the "salaried employer". The aim is to provide a multi-layered analysis of the mutual interactions between socioeconomic conditions, career development, and cultural aspects, i.e. expectations, reputation, self-perception and social recognition of these jobs. Accordingly, these patterns of work are studied as self-employment strategies based on diversification of activities and expertise, and at the same time, as attempts to devise new spatial and temporal configurations of labour. From this perspective, precariousness emerges as a generative terrain of ambivalent subjectivities. On the one hand, the workforce is mobilized spontaneously and organized autonomously by the mobilization of desire, expression, and selffulfilment, beyond mere economic rewards. On the other hand, labour becomes increasingly intertwined with life and becomes immeasurable, since time loses its function of measurement unit for compensation (i.e. works are rewarded by fixed rates). This situation frequently leads to a spread of labour into other spheres of life and to the risk of self-exploitation. To conclude, an analysis of quantitative data shows how job and employers diversification is proportionally related to job satisfaction. Precariousness has to be considered, beyond the myth of permanent employment, as a condition of contemporary work.
Keywords: Post-Fordism, precariousness, performing art workers, subjectivities, immeasurable labour, professional career