"I still hope to make it to my grave without ever getting a job job — showing up for eight or more hours a day to a place with fluorescent lighting where I’m expected to feign bushido devotion to a company that could fire me tomorrow and someone’s allowed to yell at you but you’re not allowed to yell back."— From “It’s Time to Stop Living the American Scam”
"I still hope to make it to my grave without ever getting a job job — showing up for eight or more hours a day to a place with fluorescent lighting where I’m expected to feign bushido devotion to a company that could fire me tomorrow and someone’s allowed to yell at you but you’re not allowed to yell back."
— From “It’s Time to Stop Living the American Scam”
Have people been so focused on the 9-5 grind and being good consumers that we’re not solving the real problems that will make our world better?
Let me just say, I love the expression "bushido devotion."
Robert Glazer recently wrote about this in his weekly Friday Forward newsletter (which I can confidently recommend): https://www.robertglazer.com/friday-forward/bs-busy/
Busyness is glorified quite often in America. If you are busy, you must be a person with mettle, a resilient and responsible contributor, a responsible person, right?
But the harsh reality is that even as technology and automation was developed, which always promised to ease the burden on the worker, we have worked as hard or harder than we ever did before. Companies soak up the profits from technological efficiencies and demand the same of workers as they did before.
For those of us in "white collar" roles, we deify the "hustle," the "grind," and "pounding the pavement," but only in the last couple of years (likely thanks in large part to covid, I believe), have workers started to realize that there is a possibility of finding a more equitable balance.
In my opinion, we should be fighting to normalize a 4-day work week, because even if employers find the idea distasteful, it's unlikely that the majority if office workers are even working five full days anyway. We're long overdue for a recalibration of ROI on work.
My wife, Juliet, and I were visiting family in Kentucky recently and we visited Claiborne Farms. Our guide, Kevin, showed us the stallions and in particular, the two that he cared for. Seeing the look of pure joy on his face as he interacted with his "clients" (the horses), I'm guessing that he thought he had the best job in the world even though he worked for someone else. His father and grandfather probably thought so too, Kevin is the 3rd generation to work at Claiborne.
Regardless of whether you are an employee or in charge of your own company, I think what makes for a great job, at least in part, is being part of a great team. Kevin most likely had a really good boss who supported him and trusted him to do his job. His clients only nagged him when they wanted peppermint candies.
Juliet and I have the privilege of co-leading a team at our church who distribute, in partnership with CityTeam, groceries to food-insecure households. Recently one of the team members gave me high praise: "Go away, you're interfering". I don't remember who it was, but I think it was Juliet. You know you have a great team when they don't need supervision.
If you are a solopreneur as I am, your team are your clients. I find it very satisfying to meet their needs and get feedback on what to work on next as I do my best to deliver a great product.
Too many senior managers and executives love to stick their heads out of their plush offices and gaze at the assembled minions. Somehow it contributes to their self-image. It's because the focus is on head count and hours spent, which is certainly not the same as accomplishment (productivity).