Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Time to Give Up the Day Job

More people quit their jobs after the winter holiday break that at any other time. I heartily endorse this practise. Apparently, the summer holiday gives some perspective, then the dreary slog up to New Year confirms it - YOU ARE INDEED WASTING YOUR TIME.

So quit. They don't need you - they have in fact stolen your life, and in return for what ? Money ? The general rule is: there's better money for less effort/humiliation/shoe leather elsewhere. I don't precisely know where your new glittering future is, of course, that's for you to look out for, from your singular perspective at the point where you now cling nervously to the greasy pole they call employment.

My experience taught me well. Being lucky enough to be born into the most unemployed generation ever (we suffered record unemployment and bankruptcy in the 80s and 90s, and enjoyed our own unique, proudly British economic recessions under Thatcher) and having been educated so that I was almost completely unemployable, I have spent the last 20 years masterfully workshy and have now raised it to something of a consummate art form. Which is what my art training (completely free, fully funded, no fees to pay, with a single-parent family, living-away-from-home grant) expertly equipped me for. While you were learning management, media, and mortuary manners, I was reading Rimbaud, eating mushrooms, and saving the planet. While you were busting a gut to get your first puny bonus to pay the phone bill, I was signing on the dole with my livelihood written down as "deep sea fisherman". When they made me change that after a year, I wrote "samba dancer". After another year, I wrote "poet".

Don't get me wrong - 50 quid a week in London didn't get you very far at all - Thursday, to be precise - and the vagaries of the system meant that your precious financial lifeline could be removed by the flick of whimsical ballpoint. Just like work, in fact. Substitute lunch queue for dole queue. But in the delicious freedom of the in-between days, we found clarity, we saw the huge con of employment and the machinations of capital. Politicians lamented the destruction of a generation, but this was our saviour, this idleness. We were slack before Slack. Except we weren't slack at all, we did a lot of observing and we read a lot and accessed the parts of our culture that were available to us and we fed our souls and our young minds. We watched the drones scuttling to and from work like cutting-room floor scenes left out of the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, seemingly drained of all hope and personality. Actually, we just watched them come home - we always slept through the morning rush hour.

After a decent combination of creative freelance jobs started to make me money, one day, I decided to start a business. Pretty soon I was employing people. So that's my second point to make - business people generally don't give a fuck about you. They really don't. It's the bottom line they are watching, not your stress levels. I don't think I was a very horrible boss, but then, I wouldn't, would I ? To be a boss, you have to have a peculiar insensitivity to personal pain, your own included, as this testimonial by top executive Genesis Q. Masochist so beautifully puts it: "Work until you bleed." Somehow, heirarchies always make me think of Egypt and the pyramids, slaves, 4000 years of the same civilisation, and the enormous desert that followed.

I can't remember who said, "when I die, I'm not going to wish I spent more time at work" but whoever he was (think it was a he) he clearly didn't spend enough time at work. The corporate and peer-pressure to maintain the lie of the value of work IN ITSELF thankfully didn't work in his case. This sad Puritan ethic we still carry with us, despite the fact that we are exhausting ourselves and our precious earth with over-production. It's not as if you get anything but the crumbs of the crumbs of the crumbs of the crumbs that fall from the very smallest plate of the small man's tiny table...

We need to work less and care less about work, as in, paid employment. We need to rescue the good words "enterprise" and "industry" from the jaws of capital, where they glint like jewels in carrion, and re-establish them as personal qualities. We need to assert that amateurs should be far higher in our esteem than professionals - they do what they do for love, not pay, often with an attendant care and skill which professionals seem to lack. OK, so I don't want an amateur brain surgeon; but spare me the night out with professional dancers. What I am saying is that, unless you are exceptionally lucky, employment simply drains your days away, your weeks, your years, it drains your life away for some meagre profit that has nothing to do with value whatsoever.

Dear worker, I'm not sorry if I have depressed you. Depression isn't so bad. It's better to be decently depressed than pointlessly occupied. As your day grinds to an end, in your mind's eye, substitute the second hand of the clock you watch with an intensive-care cardio bleeper. That's YOUR life, ticking down, and each heartbeat happens only once and will never be repeated.

Quit your job.

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At 1:11 PM, Blogger Alex quoth...

Hi - you don't know me, but your blogshit blog was featured in The Independent last week; just thought I'd let you know.

There's a scan of it here which you can see; http://www.big-red.myby.co.uk/blogimages/independent.jpg


At 8:59 AM, Blogger transience quoth...

bwahahaha! i feel like a bottom feeder already. i love this post--it just makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. holy crapola.

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Boo & Izzy quoth...

Well, I can at least find solace in the fact that I have time to read blogs such as yours while at work. That's something.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Chromatin quoth...

And then what would I have to complain about?

At 8:42 PM, Blogger Distillerium quoth...

Here ! Here! In stitches reading this...but because it is so true. And it took me so long to get over caring wtf those socalled peers thought. They hate you if you work-they hate you if you don't...so!
They certainly don't respect you, as the capitalist mythology has it lol The only people who enjoy work are those who have learnt the art of sciving there and getting paid for it lol I know this, as I was taken for a mug by plenty of them until I wised up.
Then it was bye bye job...bye bye 'friends-I-didn't-have -anyway'...lol
Now i do what a pal of mine does and what you refer to here...i play the artist-in-tha-garret- thing lol
Yep...i tried it for about 10 years...got me NOWHERE! working like a good mug that is.
All it got me was the sack over some made up accusation...I had trouble pretending to be upset when they got me out. lol
I also got severe repetitive strain injuries that leave me all but crippled in no small measure...not that any of the gits believe it. But I just don't care...hate them! I'm not believed of course, because I don't make a big gig of it-like they would. All the phony gits and such...I'm just so glad to be out of the slaveholes. When I left I didn't care if i died the week after...I swore I'd never work for any userous cunt again.
I get a titter or ten over the trying to ride me over not working now...when really speaking I'm working for real now...for me! not for some using git! lol I just smile at them as they go apeshit when i laugh at their attempts to propagandize me back into some sucker job like them. Hilarious! The Triffids go such funny colours when laughed at hahahahaha
I guess it shows I was just about to start a Blog myself about my times in the slaveholes lol
As you can see...LOVE what you say here and delighted you are getting plenty of recog over this.
More power to ya m8 :-D

At 11:36 AM, Blogger I.:.S.:. quoth...

You see I'm trawling your archives now for stuff I missed in one or another of my regular blank episodes...

Very good, very good... Yes, the system they have set up here, if you play it all by the rules, will bleed you bleed you of everything... You will be a slave to your boss and to your landlord...

There has to be a better way... Like my way... And, my friend, you have inspired me considerably on it... Keep living lucky...


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