This article provides a theoretical discussion of the concept 'object' within Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). It also introduces some of the methodological considerations that are raised in the study of the formation and transformation of objects of activity. A research project is described in which a theoretical discussion concerning the relations between the object and the subject within an activity system is progressed. The project explores the working lives of individuals in Russia before and after the fall of the soviet regime. It was discovered that school pedagogies that focused more on regulative rather than instructional discourse have succeeded better in preparing students for their working lives. Employing the concept of the object as a temporal trajectory has provided a key to understanding the subjects' personal positions and attitudes to their working lives.