Ready for another millennial rant about how our elders established work system that must be fixed (Because burnouts! Climate! Oohs and aahs!) I’m just gonna assume you just said YES. Stop feeling guilty about not waking up with a grin and being stuck in traffic to your too harshly air-conditioned workplace. Read on, read on.
Am I entitled to an opinion?
I have never really worked a fulltime job. Apart from some internships, I have no first-hand experience with the existential dread of working full-time. Sometimes someone will remind me of my shockingly short resume: ‘’You don’t know what it feels like to wake up at 6 every day and never seeing the sun, your wife, kids or cats!’’ Yeah. I’m fully aware Sharon. And I’m good, thanks.
Rarely do I encounter someone who is genuinely happy to be part of the rat race, so I decided to sit this one out. Instead of slaving 20 years away in an office until eventually I encounter a great turning point in life and start my own pottery cafe (maybe also divorce my balding husband while I’m at it), I just went straight to freelancing after I finished school. How is chasing invoices, pitching ideas and an endless stream of bad briefs easier, you might ask. It isn’t. Easy isn’t the goal.
I hate working, but I love my job. Does this mean I am lazy? No. I love learning, writing, helping others, forming ideas. So, when I work, I make sure to do this as efficiently as possible, not waste a minute of my OR my clients time. I give it all. That, I would call the opposite of lazy. And in fact, I love my job. I get to be creative, play with words, tell stories. It’s just that I also really like sitting on the beach, going on hikes and drinking one to three too many Aperol spritzes on a terrace. I’m not just looking for ways to make a living, I am looking to make a life.*
*(You might have seen this on an 🎀 𝒾𝓃𝓈𝓅𝒾𝓇𝒶𝓉𝒾❤𝓃𝒶𝓁 🎀 Pinterest board and I shamelessly admit that I love this piece of cheese.)
Choose, don’t settle
Many are happy with whatever job they are offered, and that is fine and fair, but it is also the easiest thing you can do. Who would trade financial stability for happiness? Well, surprise surprise, I would, and I think you should too. Taking opportunities is great, but don’t confuse laziness with a well-timed ‘’opportunity’’. What would you do if you hadn’t gotten that offer? If you can’t imagine anything better, go for it. But be skeptical about your own and a potential employers enthusiasm. I am all for avoiding big risks. don’t buy drugs on the street from a stranger with a stab wound. That kind of stuff. If you have mouths to feed, I get it. But there’s a big group of people just hopping on a train because everyone is. And the destination is a real bummer.
But the risk of being unhappy to me is far scarier than not having job stability. What am I gonna do with money if I’m miserable?
If not for you, then for Mother Nature
Now I do realize that if everyone would just get up from their chairs and fuck off to an island to be a freelance virtual dog walker, it would be mayhem. But let’s face it, it already is anyway. The way our economy works is ruining our planet, so what exactly do we secure by keeping our jobs? The future? Which one? Recently VICE published a good read on the degrowth movement:
‘’After a reduction in material and energy consumption, which will constrict the economy, there should also be a redistribution of existing wealth, and a transition from a materialistic society to one in which the values are based on simpler lifestyles and unpaid work and activities.’’
Not long after this article was published, they followed up with a post on *drumrolls* burnout, and it all originates in bullshit jobs that have popped up over the years, and the strange belief that a human being is only as valuable as it is productive. Even if that means that you fill your days with misery and dread and our planet with unnecessary anythings — What else would you do? Art? Explore nature? But…meetings!
“There seems to be a limit to what humans can possibly do in society, and the way work is organized. In fact, it should not be necessary for all of us to work our asses off.” — Torsten H. Voigt, sociologist at RWTH Aachen
Great, so not only are we burning up our world, but also ourselves. Just stop and think: Why? Because we’ve always done it this way.
We’re taught to collectively reach for the stars, but polluted our skies so much we can’t even see those sparkly spots anymore. You are not going to find the meaning of life or recipe for happiness between the beanbags of your office. We need to start agreeing that the way we work is outdated and simply causing unnecessary suffering, for everyone, even the climate.
Stop feeling bad for wanting to go home, wanting to do something that actually contributes to society or the planet, or something that aligns with your beliefs and passions. Collectively accepting that our sole purpose is not merely to be productive would be a big step, no LEAP, towards a happier and healthier planet. And now…Back to work.
This blog was originally posted on my Medium page.