Thursday, 2 April 2009

Working For The Man

Dumb people are attracted to the concept of being an employee and working for a company. It gives them a sense of satisfaction knowing they are working for The Man.

The powerful lie that has been rammed down people's throat is that getting a J-O-B is the way to go if you want stability and purpose in life.

But the fact is that widget factories can’t run themselves. It takes willing employees to keep them going.

Think of it as a big wheel that must be kept turning at all costs, a wheel that mostly produces things people don't need.

But someone must be benefiting greatly from this. And if it's not the employees, who is it?

It's the employers. Also known as the company executives. The CEOs. The big bosses. These are the ones at the top. These are the ones who can fire you in a heartbeat if you don't adhere to company policy in the way they want. These are the ones who can fire you in a heartbeat if the company is experiencing economic problems and needs to downsize. And it doesn't matter if you've been there a long time and worked your ass off for them. From your vantage point all the levers of power are on their side. So even if the company goes under they still come out winners. Early and very generous retirement packages are all the rage for CEOs in these difficult economic times.

Here's food for thought: You, the employee, gets the shaft and the CEO(s) walk away with a fat payout (*cough* Rick Wagoner).

However, it is these CEOs and high-level executives that you, the employee, helped sustain. Remember, although the company paid you, they got more out of the deal than you did. That's why companies make profits. Profits mean that there's still money left over after you (and the rest of the employees) get paid. And where do you think that money goes? Profit sharing? Maybe, but usually in token amounts. For the most part it goes towards making the company bigger, and stronger, as well as going towards inflated CEO and executive salaries. But they are the owners, you might be thinking. The company couldn't run without them. Wrong. If they were gone for a week the company would still be producing as long as the employees are still there. But if the employees were to take off for a week what would the company produce then? Zilch. Therefore, who makes up the essentials of the company? You see, employees as a group don't actually need the company as much as the company needs them. But those at the top make it seem like the opposite is true. And dumb people are sucked right in.

But you're just exchanging value right? You give them something, and they give you something in return. True, but consider this. What you give them has more staying power than what they give you. With the profit the company makes they can invest in equipment and infrastructure, which means they can grow. And as a result they can hire even more people and make even more profit. So basically you are helping the company sustain itself in the present and the future, while they are only helping sustain you for the present. Does the term "living paycheck-to-paycheck" sound familiar?

Why do you think typical companies, especially North American ones, give so little vacation time per year? It's not because they don't want to pay you when you're not working. It's because, if everyone had a long vacation time their production would decrease and they would make less money. So in general, more time off is good for you but bad for the company. But you might be thinking, what if they don't have to pay you when you're on vacation? You just take a leave of absence. That might be better but the problem is that they would still make less money because they wouldn't produce as much. So they usually don’t allow that either.

For the sake of the company it's important the employees are there as much as possible.

Look at it this way. How many people are forced to be at work even though they spend many hours not working? They sit at their desks eight hours a day, five days a week, and for most of that time they shuffle papers around, or scribble things on pieces of paper, trying to look busy. They may also habitually minimize the Internet Explorer window when the boss walks by. I have a word for this type of thing. It's not called "work". It's called "doing nothing". I can stay at home and do that, thank you very much. But the thing is, it's part of company structure. Machines need structure and companies are like machines. They need all the "parts" to be in attendance even when they are not being used. So you have many people sitting at their jobs, on standby most of the time, and bored out of their minds. Imagine how much potential innovation is lost just by all the time people spend sitting idle at their jobs. Office and corporate jobs are the absolute worst for this. It’s a huge waste of brainpower.

The brilliance of this whole scheme is that the longer an employee works at a company the less likely he or she will leave. They become "wage slaves", and (not to mention) slaves to Tim Horton's coffee which by the way would go under without the existence of employees.

These wage slaves slowly become more brain dead as the years go by, losing the creative energy of their youth. Coffee becomes one of their main inspirations. They lose the ability to do anything constructive besides go to work. They are unable to be productive anywhere but the workplace. And if they become jobless they become depressed and feel like their sense of purpose has been taken from them. And even now, in the face of an economic downturn, most employees are that much more grateful to have a job. Personally I think that the economic situation should serve as a wakeup call as to how unstable jobs really are. They can cut you off at any time and your years of dedication and service is no guarantee of continued employment.

What is one definition of a good employee? A dumb person who unquestioningly helps a company prosper, and helps CEOs like Rick Wagoner walk away rich after the company collapses.

Highly educated employees are especially valued in companies. Not only can they help the company prosper but they can do so intelligently, putting all their education to good work. They make great cogs in the machine, these highly educated employees do.

But without jobs, how would anything get made? How could society function? Civilizations got built by people in jobs, didn't they?

As a matter of fact, innovation is never a result of someone working a job, per se. It is always a result of someone thinking outside the box, and then implementing his or her ideas. Microsoft founder Bill Gates started a company based on an idea he had. Markus Frind, the owner of plentyoffish.com is rich because he built his own website. Both these men never intended to work as employees and both men are rich.

Jobs don't foster innovation. Jobs are simply social constructs, which in some ways are borderline psychotic institutions, which have enslaved many people using money and "purpose" as bait.

"But a job gives you valuable experience."

This is true only if you want to work another similar job. I personally value enjoyable experiences, not painful ones. Pain and boredom are not good experiences.

"You have to work a job if you want to be a productive member of society."

Being productive has nothing to do necessarily with being in a job. Work comes in many forms. I can be far more productive taking a few months off, and work on my own hobbies, than I can at a job where they prescribe me tasks.

"But my family expects this of me. All my friends are doing this!"

That's the sheep in you talking. Look at this as an opportunity to lead by example. When you're at a club do you wait for other people to hit the dance floor before you go? Or do you wait until you hear a good song and then go, regardless of what anyone else does?

"What about lost income? The time you spend not working at a job and making steady income is the same as money lost!"

What about lost opportunity to follow your interests? What about lost opportunities to invest time in something you are passionate about, and which could give you financial independence one day?

"If you don't work at a job you're a wimp!"

Most people are followers. Most people aren't very courageous. And most people are in jobs. It takes more guts to go against the grain.

Besides, do you really want to work for someone called "your boss" whom you have to obey just because he's the guy who signs your paycheck? You may as well ask me to obey someone because he has a whip or is carrying a gun. This premise is fear-based and is generally not rational. How could you work under someone if there comes a time when you don't agree with the way they are doing things, but you are still "obliged" to do things their way? In this case it's not about doing the correct thing. It's about keeping your job. Cowards use this line on fellow co-workers all the time: "If you want to keep your job you better do as the boss says". They relish holding the word "fired" over your head like some sort of nose-ring.

The more prestigious the company the bigger the nose-ring. Working for a prestigious company in some ways is like passing obedience training with flying colors. Other companies may want you more but for the wrong reasons.

It’s fine to do work for someone else, such as freelancing or contract work. But where the power dynamic is boss/subordinate that truly sucks!

"But I have bills to pay! A mortgage! A car!"

If this is the case, why didn't you take preventive steps before locking yourself into a difficult financial situation? It makes no sense to complain about your situation when it is so clearly happening to other people around you. All you have to do is say: "Uh-uh... that's not gonna happen to me". It's like sheep going to slaughter, and knowing about it!

"I'm climbing the corporate ladder, and it's slowly paying off."

Climbing the corporate ladder is like a carrot and stick. The higher up you go the worse it will feel if you get cut off. So all the work it took to get to that point will be for nothing. Risk actually increases the further up you go. And the "top" is only an illusion. It's just a lure to keep people employed. The true people at the top have to know someone or be incredibly lucky.

"You can become recognized and well-known."

Maybe at the company Christmas party, but to the rest of the world you don't exist. Look at the pyramids in Egypt. After thousands of years the only people getting credit for their construction are the pharaohs. It was their "vision". The thousands of people who actually built them don't get mentioned at all. Maybe there's a tablet somewhere with all their names listed, but I don't think so. Think about your legacy as an employee. As a modern example, consider the Airbus A380. Despite all the different contributions by all the people involved, the only people who get recognition in the media are the handful of CEOs and executives at the top (who didn’t so much as screw on a bolt). Although I'm not one to get caught up in prestige for its own sake, this does add evidence to the fact that when working for a company as an employee, you are behind the scenes.

"But you can pursue your hobbies and passions on your free time, when you're not working at your job."

Great. So I have to use my leftover energy to do what I really want. And the best part of my day should be spent doing what I don't really enjoy. This is the brilliant solution dumb people have come up with to address the hobbies issue.

It's much better to invest a larger portion of your time and energy in something that belongs to YOU, even if you aren't making money. This investment will produce tangible results and will not be like gas through a funnel (like money). It will have staying power. It can be nurtured. It can grow. And it all belongs to you. And best of all it can't be cut off by anyone.

But the dumb person would argue that it's stupid to work on something you love if you're not making money. This is just more evidence of brainwashing. All that money gives you is the means to pay off bills and buy things. Now, if you can invest that money for a rainy day so that you can take time off and do what you like that's a better approach. But most people are too dumb to do this. They prefer to rack up debt when they have more money to spend. Even squirrels are smarter than this. They don't let extra nuts go to waste. They eat some and stash away the rest for the future.

The education system caters to this mentality. This is why so many graduates jump headfirst into jobs after they're done school. Gotta put that schooling to good use and make my parents proud! God forbid you take some time to discover where your true passions and interests lie.

"But how many people who actually follow their passions get rich?"

The more important question to ask is: How many people who don't do this get rich?

It makes absolutely no sense to spend all this time and energy at a job and have little or no energy left over for your own interests. The typical pattern is, when you get home you're too tired to do anything else, and your creative potential is drained. And weekends are just recovery time. It's utter foolishness!

Oh sure, technically speaking there are many hours outside of the 40 hour work week, in which you can pursue your interests. It's a great idea if you don't need sleep. I relish the idea of working 80 hours a week between a job and my own interests. It's not like I would burn out or anything! Great solution. But unfortunately, the traditional 40 hour work week as it stands, is the time window in which people have the most energy and are the most productive in general.

But I'll admit, not everyone can just quit their jobs and follow their dreams.

The solution is to take part time jobs. This allows you the opportunity to pay your bills and invest serious time in your interests.

But what if you can't even do this?

You got me there. But I have to wonder what could be so important to you and worth keeping that you can't even make time for you. Are the shackles really on that tight? Or do you have some limiting beliefs about what you can and can't do?

If you've never had the opportunity to follow your passions and have always been too busy with work, why the heck is that? If you can't take time off because you might get fired and replaced doesn't that make you a slave? If you have to keep yourself working in order to keep yourself working doesn't that make you a slave? Just how smart are you for doing this? That degree probably doesn't seem so great now, does it? It's more a certification to serve as a cog – “I am hereby certified to be a cog. I will perform this function flawlessly according to my specifications.”

At least Europe is sort of on the right track with their much longer vacation time per year. And in many ways they do seem smarter and more forward thinking than North Americans in general.

But at least you're making lots of money right? The funny thing is that money is not really a measure of anything tangible, especially given that someone (*cough* Rick Wagoner) can make more money in a day than a hard working Joe makes in a year. So using money as a justification for all your hard work is nonsense. It's an irrelevant measuring stick.

But doing something for yourself, investing in something for you, something that has staying power, that isn't like gas through a funnel. It doesn't belong to anyone else. No one else has ownership over it.

But you might be thinking, I do get to be creative at my job. Great, but who owns the copyright to your work? I'll give you a hint. It's not you! Your company has all claims over your work. This way, after you're gone it belongs to them. Nice huh! And some companies even go so far as legislating limits on the jobs you can do right after you leave. We wouldn't want the competition benefiting would we? So the only thing you can leave with is the knowledge in your head, and even that gets censored by some. And god forbid you go into business for yourself after having worked for a company, using what you learned. You might face a lawsuit for stealing clients from them!

To finish this off I want to address the common trap that many people get caught up in. The trap is: If I give this up now I am a failure, and all that effort I put in up to now will be for nothing. So I can't just quit!

My response: Would you rather live a lie and be unhappy just to save face?? What's that I hear? It’s a clock. Tick-tick-tick-tick-tick.

But it's never too late to get your soul back! It's never too late to break out of the line leading to slaughter. And with luck others will follow.

3 comments:

Tight Banana said...

Sorry meant to ask here what you do for a living?

artista42 said...

You act as though everyone working for a company is a sheep who hates their job. I doubt anyone aspires to work as a throw-away employee at a boring job; most of these people probably get stuck doing that because it's what's available. I don't know what fantasy world you're living in where you don't have to worry about health care, rent/mortgage, groceries, bills and other expenses that always pop up, but the majority of us need full-time jobs to pay for all these things, even if we're living as frugally as possible. You might say that people who have to work crappy jobs to pay for these things should have planned better, but how could they if they were to follow your advice and take an unspecified period of time after college to "explore"? Hate to break it to you, but people need money to survive in this world. And what about people who actually like their jobs? Consider some of those who work for the biggest "man" of all- the government. That includes scientists doing cutting-edge research, health care professionals, teachers, you name it. Working for the man isn't necessarily bad, and neither is having a fulfilling full-time job.

Vittorio said...

People who have government jobs or any public service job are usually better off. It's not always that great either though, but it tends to be better than most. And those jobs are usually more fulfilling since they tend to fulfill public needs (e.g. teacher, police officer, paramedic).

The Man I'm referring to is primarily any corporate entity which is profit-based, which tends to render its employees as wage-slaves. These are the jobs that suck the most.

You said:

"You might say that people who have to work crappy jobs to pay for these things should have planned better, but how could they if they were to follow your advice and take an unspecified period of time after college to "explore"?"

This doesn't even make sense. If you take time off then it affords you the time to plan. And if you have college debt to pay off then deal with that of course, maybe by taking a part time job, while still leaving time to devote to a long-term strategy for livelihood that doesn't involve a "job".