Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Work is just work

This article does a pretty good job of talking about the problem of life in the 'trep age.  The root of it is the ego-driven bullshit that bubbles up from people when they are expected to "compete" to demonstrate their own virtue or worth.  But it's precisely this scam that allows employers to take advantage of people. It's also a ready excuse for individuals to be dismissive or cruel to one another.. even in the name of "doing good." The way to combat this, I think, is to stop running around expecting to derive self-worth from your job.

This doesn't mean you should fester forever in a job that makes you hate yourself.  If you find you are working in a kitten abattoir, for example, or worse, a French Quarter hotel, do what you can to get out of that as soon as you can.  But generally speaking, if you allow your job to bleed into the package of things that define you as a human being, you're setting yourself up to be manipulated. Like this:
One of the central problems with THINX is its low pay and substandard benefits. Former workers recount Agrawal calling them “ungrateful” and “selfish” when they asked for pay raises commensurate with additional responsibilities. Agrawal’s language may seem extreme, but it isn’t surprising given “do-good” capitalism’s obsession with “purpose” and “doing what you love.”

In the universe of benevolent capitalism, workers are assumed to be motivated more by mission and purpose than by their paycheck. But under capitalism, ethical or otherwise, work is what you have to do to survive. Even in the most inspiring workplace, work is still just that: work.

When capitalists like Agrawal ignore this reality and insist on reframing “work” as “purpose,” they are using their mission as a tool to extract labor-on-the-cheap. Workers may even feel guilty about asking for more money, because doing so makes it seem like they are showing up for the paycheck, rather than the cause.

But inspiration doesn’t pay the bills.

In New Orleans, home of "Entrepreneur Week," we like to celebrate this kind of exploitative nonsense basically every day. Our entire non-profit sector is dedicated to shit like this.   But, in practice, all that serves to do is glorify an enrich a narrow circle of grifters and oligarchs. For the great majority of us it's malevolent gibberish.

Jobs suck. They aren't supposed to define you or make you happy. By that same token, you aren't there to serve the greater glory of your employer. Fuckabuncha work. You don't owe your job any piece of yourself or your soul. You only owe the work and time you've agreed to be compensated for. Do that and then get the hell out of there and go live your life.

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