Jun 192011

It always amazes me when I hear someone say:  “I need a job.” or “I need to find some work”.  I always ask them why they need a job or why they need to work and the answer is always the same, “I need to make some money!”.  So what you are really saying is you need money, not a job or work.  The problem is your mindset is focused on just that one way to bringing in an income, namely, going out and becoming a member of the zombie workforce.  Most people have a narrow view of the world and believe that the only way to bring in an income is to get a job.  And they wind up a slave to that mindset which is a shame when there are so many opportunities to go out and earn an income on your own.  It rarely occurs to most people that they can earn a living based on their own abilities and skills rather than depend on some faceless company to take care of them.

For the purposes of this post I am going to define a job as any situation where you willingly trade your time and whatever skills you have in exchange for compensation.  Jobs can come in many forms but the most common is to go work for someone else, a person, a company, a corporation.  The problem with this sort of job is while you may make a livable wage or sometimes a really good wage, chances are your employer is reaping the benefits of your labors many times over your compensation.  Now don’t get me wrong here.  I am all for capitalism and turning a buck.  I love making money, I just don’t like making money for someone else.  The problem with a “regular” job is you are forced to sacrifice a lot just to keep that job.  You sell your skills in exchange for money and benefits to be sure but you give up a much more valuable commodity, your time, to earn that income.  Once you agree to a job you also agree to be there for a certain amount of time each day, week, or whatever time is agreed upon.  It doesn’t matter if you have other things to do, you have to be at work at certain times.  It doesn’t matter if you have fulfilled all of your tasks for the day.  You still have to be there.  Then the dreaded “busy work” comes into play.  “We ain’t payin’ you to sit around all day so we will find something for you to do even if it doesn’t accomplish anything”.  Of course if you don’t show up when you are suppose to, at some point, you will have plenty of free time because the job will be gone.

You will also be expected to dress and act in a certain manner for your job.  Now in many cases, it is a matter of safety and decorum.  Nothing wrong with that, as long as you know what is expected up front.  But if you find yourself wearing a gorilla costume while standing on the street corner waving a sign for tax preparation, it may be time to make a career move.  It amazes me how much people will debase themselves for a paycheck and it angers me when I think about how much dignity and self respect I have given up in the past for an income.  (And no, never wore a gorilla suit but I’ve had some moments that I felt like that and I would like to forget them).

Sit back for a moment and think about what you are doing at your job.  Does it feel like it is important?  Can you see the actual results of your labors?  Are you getting any self satisfaction out of your job or do you spend all week wishing it were the weekend so you can go sit in some noisy bar, drink, and bitch about the lousy week you had at work.  Take a look at some of the tasks that are assigned to you.  Stocking shelves, waiting tables, counting inventory.  I used to sell motorcycle parts.  Lots of them.  I probably sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of motorcycle parts over the years.  Do you think it made a difference in my life?  Sure I knew just about every part that fit on a motorcycle there was but does anyone give a shit?  I’m sure if I wanted to get a job back behind a parts counter again I could make it happen.  But all those parts, on all those motorcycles, and all time I spent selling, stocking, etc., doesn’t mean a damn thing.  Most of the motorcycles are not even on the road anymore.  The people who I sold parts too wouldn’t remember me if they tripped over me.  Sure, I made an income, but all I did was make the dealerships rich.  And they sure as hell don’t care.  Not much to show for 20 years of service.

Probably one of the most worthless tasks I can remember from those days was folding t-shirts.  T-shirts are a big business in motorcycle dealerships.  They, meaning the dealers, make a huge profit on t-shirts that are essentially walking billboards.  So they would hire girls, mostly, to handle t-shirt sales.  These shirts were always displayed a certain way, folded on a shelf or counter.  So these girls, and myself now and then when parts was slow, would spend hours and hours, folding t-shirts.  In fact, the company held training seminars on how to correctly fold a t-shirt and even had t-shirt folding contraptions to ensure they were folded correctly.  (These same people insist on the dollar bills be stacked face up in the same direction but you’ve heard that story).  I cringe when I think how much of my life was wasted doing mindless tasks like folding t-shirts.  I wonder if those girls thought the same way.   I don’t think I want to be remembered as a great t-shirt folder.

One of my first posts was about a woman who died at her desk in a cubicle.  She died in her cubicle at her job and nobody noticed for a full day.  Ask yourself.  If you died at your job would anyone notice?  After how long?  I quit one job once, the famous dollar bill episode, and never went back.  I never said I was quitting.  I didn’t feel the company earned a phone call.  Apparently they felt the same way as they called me finally after three days to see if I was coming in or not.  Never asked if I was ok.  It’s crap like this that has given me the incentive to strike out on my own and try to earn something without having to rely on someone else or sell my life to a faceless corporation for a paycheck.

The whole point of the rambling rant is to try to get you to realize that while you may need money, you don’t necessarily need a job.  Ask the right questions first.  What do you need and how can you get it?  Are you willing to try something new and different or will it be back in the same old rut again.  Another pointless job with a company that doesn’t care, doing things that really don’t matter.  Maybe it is time to think a little differently about what you need and want, and how to achieve it.

The Fritter