Over the years I have worked in many different jobs, for many different companies, and in many different fields. While my experiences weren’t always negative (I did meet some thoroughly nice people), I can attest to the fact that once I became self-employed, many of my former ‘problems’ diminished or vanished all together.
Perhaps the worst thing about regular employment is the overall expectation to ‘buy in’ to the business ethos – I would struggle to count the large number of times I’ve heard managers or owners say things like ‘We expect excellence from our employees – we want people who go the extra-mile’ or even more classic, ‘We’re looking for rock-stars! People who can do it all!’. These, and many other sickening statements, ultimately translate to mean they want employees who will do more than the job asks, for less than they should be paid and, worst of all, to take on the kind of responsibility that should be reserved for owners or managers.
What can seem at first as a reasonable, and ‘just the way it is’, request quickly reveals itself to be a scam – make the employees feel they need to ‘out-perform’ their own position or else suffer failure and the shame of being labelled ‘not team players’. When viewed from the objective stand-point of outside the work environment, it stands out as what it is – a human resources con-job.
It should be enough to go to work and be paid to do your job well – it used to be enough. Somewhere along the dark road of efficiency, optimisation, outsourcing, marketing, streamlining, rightsizing and human resources we spawned the evils that now characterize our employment environments. Individual contracts which remove the solidarity of numbers, team-leaders who ‘motivate’ the staff on behalf of the of the managers (for much less money), brand ambassadors, usability experts, social media wankers, rebranding specialists, customer experience consultants and of course every type of ‘specialised manager’ who does little more than sweet fuck all. The role of the employee is now to take it from all sides by the over-paid and largely useless ‘management team’ and, whenever asked, completely adopt any and all new bullshit double-speak thought up to ‘better represent’ what the company stands for.
The ultimate goal for employers these days is to hire people who will, like automatons, completely superimpose the company personality over their own. They want people who don’t question or think for themselves and who ‘live to work’ rather than ‘work to live’ It is perhaps one of the most disturbing things about our modern society – this obsession to define ourselves by who we work for and what we do.
Once, not that long ago, we were a people of questioning intellect, who wanted to understand and to improve our experience of humanity, people who were suspicious of authoritarians and highly sensitive to any mode or method that attempted to oppress our innate right to live in honest communion with ourselves, to adhere to the integrity of our own souls and personal beliefs – we were driven to find authenticity and to avoid anything that seemed fake or phony. We once abhorred fakery – now we reward it with promotions and pats on the back.
I must concede that I am the last person who should ever give advice – I am certainly not a blueprint on how to live successfully in the modern age – but if I were to (God help us all) I would suggest that everyone quit their job tomorrow and come venture the world unshackled by the oppression of phony employment.
For myself, eventually I grew tired of these pointless exercises in employment horror and in an act of desperation and protest, became one of the many ‘freelancers’ who now populate the professional landscape. I can happily exclaim with the enthusiasm of a free-man that it has been the best thing I have ever done.
There’s a reason why it’s called ‘free-lancing’.
quit image source: positivesharing.com
mug image source: www.oramboston.com
i hate you image source: www.linkedin.com
camus image source: fivedials.com
satre image source: sacredknowledge.org