Wednesday 4 July 2007

Wage Slavery

'We work to live, not live to work.'

That's the maxim of today. How often do we hear it?
Certainly it's true of me.
Probably it's true of many of you.

We sell our blood, toil, sweat and tears forty hours a week. The best hours.
To earn tokens to exchange for material goods.

Most of it simply pays for us to live. The rest goes on the odd luxuries that we can enjoy in the time we're allowed off.

Would we do if it if we didn't get the tokens?
For most of us, no.

The only good thing most of us can say we actually acheive, is that we get paid.

In a societal sense, most of the jobs most of us do, are completely useless.
We see the modern world of work in 'The Office', and we all see ourselves. That's why the comedy works.

Being paid is great, to be sure. It's great knowing you can support the life to which you have become accustomed.

But do you actually like and respect the people you ultimately work for?
Do you admire their ethics?
Do you think your employeers are making the world a better place overall for their existence?

Or is it just about the paycheck?

I know we all have to do it, we have no choice, but isn't it terrible we have to waste our lives in such pointless labours?


Anonymous said...

you only live once, don't waste your time doing something you hate. there are plenty of things to do that you would enjoy.

If you enjoy it you will be good at it and thus likely to do well and make money.

Anonymous said...

The whole world is mad if you ask me...meaningless gibberish everywhere..

Anonymous said...

I've worked for others and it strangled my Soul so much that I HAD to just work for myself and find my own joy in this life. I have never looked back. It wasn't easy and I understand the struggle for most people to survive. There in lies the rub -- surviving to live or living to survive. We have to have joy somewhere in the middle.

I actually had a similar topic in mind that I didn't get to post yet.

Anonymous said...

My attitude to work is quite well documented. Give me my money and leave me the fuck alone.

Anonymous said...

Said many times: "You work to have a life, you don't have a life to work"

(by me)

Anonymous said...

we don't have to do anything. if you don't work though, you don't make money, and then you'll probably be homeless... or on disability, unemployment, etc. some people just scrape by and are happy... i wish i could be like that. but, i love material and need the cash to make the dash.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, I would do the work I do (writing, not waitressing) even if I didn't get paid for it.

Deadlines are a pain, people don't always want to talk to me, and it's a lot of effort, but I find it immensely rewarding.

I suppose not everyone is that lucky.

Anonymous said...

I want a career, but for now, I settle for enough in the pay envelope to keep me afloat.

Anonymous said...

I do like work and the people I'm with. In fact they are often the only people I come into contact with, so that's good really. I've always got on with my colleagues and most people just want to get through the day with as little fuss as possible. Work also gives you a frame from which to hang the rest of your life from and I would still work in some capacity even if I won the lottery. Being needed is a great feeling and I've left well paid jobs where they weren't using me enough. Also work provides a comparison so that you appreciate the value of leisure time - and have the money to spend in it !

Anonymous said...

It’s a hardknock life for ya. My work doesn’t define me, but it sure does effect me. Like many people I’m working just because the other alternatives aren’t that appealing. Not a daredevil, and can’t leave the safety cocoon to pursue my dream.. whatever it might be.

Anonymous said...

You are right that this is a different mode of slavery. At every turn the object is more and more monetary gain. As a collective we've stopped encouraging pursuits and/or employment that are fulfilling and meaningful. I was going to bring it up with regards to your post yesterday, but much of this disconnect does relate to this idea of proprietary right. The need to own, control, and defend.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. Office work seems pointless (unless you're doing something that is somehow going to better the world or community)- that's why I'm choosing a career that can be said to make a difference to people's lives. On the other hand, making money to spend on yourself is very practical too....;-)
But ah, if you could enjoy what you do, like Ruthie, then you're blessed among all mortal men, I'd say...:-)

Anonymous said...

I have a good job but like they say the best job is still work and work is a four letter word!I am lucky that I do love what I do most of the time. If I werenot a nurse I don't know what I would do! it does define me!

Anonymous said...

It's true of me too, but shows you why it is important you enjoy your job.

Anonymous said...

I love work...I blog all day! Ha!

Anonymous said...

I've been lucky as I've always had interesting jobs that I've been fully involved in. But my last school was a nightmare and there were some very ruthless people there. Work gives us a social context to operate in which we don't usually even think about. When I got a job as an interpreter and went from the public to the private sector, it was quite an eye opener: eg., watching people phone family abroad on an office phone. [In a school at that time you could have been sacked for making a personal call.] Then I realised that they all intended to take as many days' "sickies" as they were allowed! I was flabbergasted. "The Office" works because it is so spot on and we've all met the Blanes, in whatever sector we work in. I later had several years of working full time but in a lot of different places - so I could be teaching / interpreting in 3 - 4 venues a day and that's hard. It's also hard to make sure they all pay you in a decent time! So I say, if you know that salary cheque is going in regularly, don't knock it! Though I realise there's no real job security any more.

Anonymous said...

We all but stuff we don't really need and could manage without then call them necessities and work like crazy to pay for them...

Anonymous said...

Unless of course you live in Russia, where you work to survive.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say I've been lucky to have found a job that I enjoy and am motivated to put all my energy into... but I can't: It took many years of soul searching and effort, and it was even harder to see friends getting on and making a career and life for themselves whilst I was still trying to find the path that I knew was right for me.

But in the end the effort was worth it. I know I'm like a broken record on this but it all comes down to personal responsibility and recognising the huge power that comes with it. If you don't have faith in yourself, why should anyone else.

Only one thing can make a person become a slave and that's a person's ability to either accept it or reject it.

Slaves of the world unite!

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Anonymous said...

Have you worked out what someone on the minimum wage earns? Then its taxed, and they pay council tax.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on that. When I initially started watching "The Office" I remember thinking to myself "What a dumb concept for a sitcom." Ironically, I found myself waiting for the show every week!!! I think it's cuz the show hit a bit too close to home... and that we can all relate to it somehow. I think that's also the reason why I'm addicted to "Dilbert" too ;)

Anonymous said...

Cityunslicker- This is what I have been thinking of late.

Mutley- This is true. Still, at heast we're here to bring a breath of sanity.

Alexys- It's taking the plunge though. It's something that I probably should face, but I don't know where to start.

Phish- Yes, mine too. But socially, it's sad that what we do all day is so pointless. We only do it for money.

Lord N- But wouldn't it be more rewarding if your work WAS your life? Like a calling.

Raffi- I like the good things in life. Therefore I prostitute myself to Capitalism for forty hours a week.

Ruthie- Well, if I was paid to write, that'd be great. I'm not.
You are very lucky, but your writing deserves it.

Heart- And meanwhile, life ticks by.

Anonymous said...

E-K- Yes, but you get to lose trains and cause random chaos across the public transport network daily.
I'd enjoy that!
It is the doing something socially useful that is the crunch point.
Most business to business stuff isn't.

Crashdummie- People do often define you by your job, though. I'm often simply described as 'salesman'. Is that how I want to be seen when I'm gone?

Helen- You've hit the point, bang on. Our energy is wasted.

Eve- We move assets around from one companty to another all day. That's all we actually do. A sort of musical chairs of resources.

Poody- Well, at least you see something positive come out of what you do.
Stressful but rewarding, I'd imagine.

Ellee- Which you clearly do. It's the value factor.

Jenny- Is that what they actually pay you to do???

Anonymous said...

Welshcakes- Taking time off sick, is so much part of our work culture, it says a lot. Morale in most companies is low.
The Office was bang on.

Perfect representation of modern working life. But it's a shame, we can't all be doing something more productive.

Mutley- We work for the Fridge Freezers and forty channel TV. Conditioned like lab rats.

Lord SD- You remind me of someone else. Hmmm.
I think the proportion of us who DON'T work to surive is small.

David- I agree, but what about all the other wasted folk ouit there, who could be doing something more rewarding and useful.
In a social sense, it's tragic.

Judd- Thanks, glad you like it. You chose a controversial post, but I'm honoured.

Mutley- On the minimum wage, peole literally just get to live as payment for their work.

Prinve Banter- I have met so many David Brents. It's the office politics as well, that we all have to play along with and which use up so much of our brainpower.

Anonymous said...

I love my job and if I didn't need the money would still do it for nothing.
Sure some of the dicks I work with need to be punched in the groin and I do get stressed at times, but I realise I'm luckier than most in that I enjoy what I do.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky, Steph.

If I didn't get paid, then my work would have no wider purpose. It only benefits profiteers.