First, some context. I was up too late last night, I’d had a teacher try to volunteer me to help at school on short notice with the jibe “and it’s not as if you have a job”, I’d had the £10 pig phone call, I’d listened to the OH talking about a friend whose husband is at risking of losing his job and so on.
So when I penned the following I had steam coming out my ears and was feeling like the Rajah of Rants, the Nabob of Negativity and the Duke of Declamation.
I had almost decided not to post it, but the Other Half persuaded me to. If you read it, blame her and not me!
“Your boys are both at school now, why don’t you get a job again”, or “isn’t it about time to got a job”, or “why don’t you have a job”, or “it’s not like you have a job or anything”.
All are popular jibes cast in my direction as I effortlessly loaf about with the boys, live off the Other Half, and play crofter with our animals.
I just smile benignly at the afflicted, domesticated and socially conditioned, because it is true. I don’t have a job and life is fun.
The affliction is the one that infects you upon leaving school or university, the one that conditions you to go out and get a job to support your debts, your family and yourself – in that order.
It’s also the affliction that causes you to despise and look down on those who choose to cast aside or reject the affliction so as to support themselves in ways that are more meaningful, more personal and more direct.
It may be a mass affliction, but that doesn’t make it healthy, wise or smart.
In fact, getting a job is one of the worst things you can do to support yourself if you’re intelligent, self-motivated and principled.
Taking on a job to support yourself is no better than being a serf who sells themself into indentured servitude.
You get a roof over your head (but it’s not really yours until the mortgage is repaid), you getting the trappings of success (but they have to be maintained and replaced to maintain and enhance your status), and you escape making real decisions (who really decides what mortgage you can have and on which house?).
But you will always owe someone else for those privileges and signs of status, and you will always be indebted to the system.
Accepting a job is actually about submitting yourself to a human re-education programme.
You are being programmed to be a good pet.
Yes, you are.
Are you really a human who is free to make your own choices, to choose your own surroundings, to choose the people who surround you, and to choose your own direction?
The workplace is a cage for unconscious humans.
Your colleagues are chosen for you, your surroundings are chosen for you, your tasks are chosen for you, your direction is chosen for you, and you have no real choices to make.
All is ordained by policy, procedure, custom and precedent.
What happens when you fail? Does master reward your “good” behavior? And discipline you for the “bad”? Do you do the appointed tasks in the set time when master rings his bell?
Are you are a pet for life, without a spark of free will left?
Is there any spark of free will left inside you? Or has your conditioning made you a pet for life?
Of course, well-conditioned wage slaves will argue they don’t have a master, there’s just the “boss”.
Take down your dictionary and look up “boss”. It’s from the Dutch baas, meaning master. (Concise Oxford Dictionary, 8th Edition.)
Further, the noun “boss” is defined as “a person in charge, an employer, manager or overseer”.
They’re all one and the same in meaning – it’s just that some sound a little nicer and less domineering than “overseer”.
And what’s this? The verb “boss” means “treat domineeringly; give constant peremptory orders to”.
Yes, you have been conditioned and broken to do jobs at the dictates of your masters. Is that really how you want to be?
The well-conditioned jobbing masses will now argue that having a job is the safest, most secure and risk-free way to support themselves.
It is the exact opposite of the truth.
Your masters can turn off the income tap at any point by uttering those immortal words: “you’re fired”.
They can cloak the phrase with dysphemisms such as, “riffing” (reduction in force), “outsourcing”, “outplacement”, “a workplace imbalance correction”, “headcount reduction”, “staff re-engineering”, “downscale”, “downsize”, “a career enhancement opportunity” and more.
But the fact remains the same – you’re out and the money stops.
If you know and accept the risk then, like a professional gambler, you know that you win some and you lose some.
But if you’re one of the mass of dumb, naive suckers who’ve accepted the conditioning, then the reality of being fired is usually devastating. Even the threat is devastating.
The fact is that you can’t have security if you don’t have control, and employees not only have the least control of anyone but they also bear the brunt of the risk. The system is designed like that.
Now, should you be lucky enough to hang onto your job, what happens when you’d like to have a little more than you have already, when you’d like to take a more expensive holiday than usual, when you’d like to buy a bigger house, and when you some extra cash.
You have to go to your master and show him all the new tricks you’ve learned.
Not only do you have to roll over hot coals, jump through blazing hoops and operate six infernal contraptions at once, but you’re expected to sit up and beg for your master’s amusement until he decides you can have an extra doggy choc.
What about your freedom to say “no, I won’t jump through that hoop”.
If you have a job and a customer says “do this”, “give me that”, then your master will often expect you to to make the sacrifices necessary to keep the customer. The business never really makes the sacrifice, it just shifts the costs to the employees.
But if you’re free to make your own choices, when someone comes to you and says “I want that for this”, you’re free to accept or free to say “no, next please” as it suits you. Or “p*** off”, as I am known to do…
Even better, you’re free to reject them socially as well.
For the jobbing masses, jobs are the primary social outlet, and all too often the only one.
Employees socialise with people working with the same employer, in the same field and with customer’s employees who are on the same level.
Like incest, such relationships are dead ends. Do you really want to discuss the rollout of the new content management system today, tomorrow and the next day?
Do you really want to talk about how Sally in accounts is doing it with Brian in sales, while Kim in IT is also doing it with Brian, who doesn’t know about Sally, but everyone else does?
Do you really want to continue the office conversation about the new order processing system over lunch, and then in the pub at the end of the day? And if you’re Brian, in bed the next morning with Sally – or Kim?
What happens when one of your fellow serfs has their indenture transferred to a new master? Has your friendship also been sold? Is it terminated?
How does you job conditioning affect your view of others?
If you work in a job environment dominated by white professionals, how do you interact with black or Asian people above the level of cleaners as you never meet them?
If you work in a job environment dominated by men, how do you interact with women above the level of receptionist as you never meet them?
If you work in a job environment that is entirely female, except for the boss, do you treat all men as the master?
Of course, it is much safer to let the master decide who you associate with. There’s less risk and it’s less threatening to your unconcious, non-thinking conditioned self.
If you meet and engage with the jobless, they could infect you with crazy notions of freedom.
And that’s the big one. Freedom.
Freedom is the antithesis of job bondage and a major threat to the corporate direction of consumer capitalism, which needs tame employees who are also good consumers.
Theoretically, it takes a great deal of effort to break a human being against their will but as sadists and torturers know all too well, if you can persuade them to co-operate in their breaking and taming then you’re pretty much there.
And so it is with creating an employee.
The first thing to do is to give you a detailed contract that you must agree to before you get their job. Even better, get you to sign off on all the key points individually.
Next, present you with several bulky manuals of policies, procedures and regulations, then remind you that you have just agreed to all of them – no matter how nonsensical, inimical, ill-thought out or just plain daft.
Then inform you of the company dress code, which further reinforces uniformity of action and thought. You look the same, you act the same, you are the same.
Then, once you’ve signed up to all that, you will be reminded of the consequences of stepping out of line – punishments that range from ritual humiliation, to loss of privileges and status, to the the ultimate – loss of your job.
All of this leads you to become more pliable, more obedient, more obsequious and more fearful.
Obey the master no matter what and all will be well, oh puny serf.
Something else is needed though. Even the most dullard wage slave needs an occasional thrill, a taste of power and a sense of control. Office politics meet that need.
Put it all together and you become a willing and obedient wage slave.
It might be daft to have a corporate recycling policy while simultaneously keeping 30 ancient fax machines that churn out reams of blurred and smeared pieces of dadaist art.
It may be illogical to ban kettles and mug from people’s desks while requiring them to walk up three flights of stairs to the coffee machine, then walk back down clutching their plastic cup of boiling poison.
It may be a complete waste of time to require someone to spend eight hours of their 10-hour shift writing up what they did in the other two hours.
But you know it is not your place to question. The masters have said it shall be so, and so it shall be.
Free-thinkers know such rules and regulations are silly, petty and stupid, of course. That’s why they have to be isolated, broken, marginalised or forced out.
But that’s fine because free-thinkers only have to deal with five policies:
1. Think smart.
2. Think nice.
3. Think free.
4. Do what you love.
5. Have fun.
What about supporting yourself and your family, I hear the broken masses cry.
Look, having a job is a really stupid way of supporting yourself.
You only get money when you’re working. If you want more money, you have to work more.
And why is money the only means of supporting yourself? Because you’re told it’s the only means of supporting yourself, so if you want more, work more!
Personally, I’d rather support myself and my family 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – not just in the hours when I’m in a job.
I’d rather support them by doing things with them and for them, then by earning money from a job to which I’m indebted for life.
To put it another way, does a tree only grow when you’re feeding and watering it? No, it grows constantly.
It’s the same with humans. If you want your life to grow, then you have to stop relying on the job to feed you, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Apart from the drones around you, who cares how many hours you work? Who, apart from the master and his cronies, cares that it took you three hours to do the job instead of four? Or four instead of three?
Don’t get me wrong, money is useful as a means of exchange but it’s stupid to trade your time and value simply to earn money to spend in the company store, which is effectively what consumer capitalism is about.
You sign yourself over for a lifetime of debt and tokens to spend on the things the masters tell you that you need.
Don’t overlook a simple fact, the money you earn is not the money you are paid.
I worked in an industry where the average revenue per employee in 2006 was around £175,000 (depending on exchange rates) while the typical wage of the employees in my field was around £20,000.
In other words, the employees were paid 11.4 per cent of what they earned the company.
But that’s nothing compared to the really big corporate sharks in the US Fortune 500, where the leading companies have revenues per employee of between $1.5 and $5 million.
A handful are even higher -$11.8 million, $13.5 million and $15.6 million in revenues per employee. I wonder what percentage of those sums finds its way to the employees?
Then there’s the taxman, who takes not only the employee’s direct taxes but also the corporate taxes that also get bumped down to the employee – either directly though lower pay or indirectly by encouraging them to consume more, thus generating more sales revenue for the corporations.
I can hear the snarling and whining intensify at this point as you start to become restless about this rant.
Have you noticed wage slaves have an endless capacity to whine about problems, challenges, hurdles, change or innovation? You need to vent your spleen in a safe way and make excuses.
You’ve become cowards who have to to turn on the free. You belong to your master so totally that even though you hate him deep down, you can’t acknowledge it and so have to turn your hatred elsewhere.
After all, if you rebel against the master you will be fired and then where will you and your family be?
Where was I? Listening to the sounds of whining and spluttering rage.
First, you become cowards. Then you become dishonest. Then you lose your integrity and principles. Then you lose their will and your independence. And then you are gone, sunken into the mire.
That’s not a reality you want to face though. You don’t want to face the fact that your entire being is held face down in the muck by the master’s boot and that you are compliant in your servitude.
Instead of throwing off the boot, you blow bubbles in the muck and occasionally try to splash those who haven’t succumbed or who have rejected voluntary servitude.
What are the alternatives to a job, I hear you ask?
Support yourself through other means and join the happily jobless.
If you’re money oriented, start a business of your own and sell value, not time.
If you’re creative, an artisan or a maker, then create, build and make things that both satisfy you and are valued by others. If you don’t like the selling and money side, find an equal partner who does.
If you’re a nurturer, rearer or grower, then take small things and help them to become bigger, better and more valued. Find other like-minded people to work with and find partners who value the tasks you don’t.
And most importantly, share.
Share your experiences, share your time, share your skills, share your values, share your happiness and share your support.
The more you support others, the more they will support you. The more value you supply, the more value will return to you.
Do you still want a job? I certainly don’t.