Take a close look at the picture below:
Click on the picture and it’s going to take you to a link. But be forewarned, said link is not pretty. And after reading it, if you are not offended, sickened, nor disgusted, then you probably work as management.
The picture you see is of an Amazon Warehouse. They call it a, “Fulfillment Center”. One of those godawful euphemisms corporations like to use such as barrista, or sales associate. Words that hide the ugly truth of what it really is, a warehouse, a coffee server, a sales person. These cute buzzwords sound pretty to the consumer and make the jobs themselves seem like something special, rather than the mundane tedious worker bee jobs that they really are.
By now, if you have clicked the link you will have seen some testimonials of people who chose, of their own free will I might add, to actually work in a place like this. Pickers and packers. They flit about the aisles of this monstrosity filling orders that you, yes you, the consuming public have just got to have, and have purchased. Said orders are filled here and shipped out so you can “fulfill” your need to have more crap. Did you read any of the stories? How about these horror stories from my favorite, wallymart? Take some time and read these things. Stephen King should put out something this scary.
My question is very simple: Why in the name of Darwin would you want to take a job like this?
And please, do not insult me nor the other readers with the same tired excuses:
“I need a job.”
“I need the benefits.”
“I couldn’t find anything else.”
You are going to sit there and tell me, and everyone else, that on this planet of wonder and excitement, with all that it has to offer, that you settled for being a fucking picker in a lifeless warehouse? That’s what you aspired to? That’s what you settled for? Really?
Sit down, we need to talk.
We all have had dreams at sometime in our life of a bright and exciting future. We are all going to do wonderful things, and experience all life has to offer. When we were very young, said dreams may not have been too realistic. “I’m gonna be a cowboy, or a pirate, or astronaut, or super hero”. Well, in my case, the pirate thing is working out pretty well, but still, we had dreams. As we got older, the realities of the world came by and started kicking us in the ass. Then we went to school and the ass kickings got harder and more frequent. By the time we got out of high school, we had been so indoctrinated into the worker bee society that any real dreams we had when we were younger were long gone. “Go forth and get thee employment so that thou might obtain new conveyances, modern appliances, and thine own castle, (with a variable interest mortgage and no prepayment penalty).” Our individualism was beaten out of us. Dress codes, school uniforms, be in class at the bell, 30 minutes for lunch, no talking out of turn, respect and obey authority without question. At some point we were no longer told that we could do whatever we thought we could, that anything was possible, if we tried. Nope, it was get through school, find your place in the hive, shut up and work, and consume. And it worked. We have a huge worker bee society now where we mindlessly move from meaningless job to meaningless job. We wear the company uniform of the day. We punch a time clock. We obey those above us. And we spend our pittance on junk. And this month, another group of happy graduates are about to join the hive and find out very quickly how useless their education was.
Lemme ask you, on your day off, do you punch a time clock? Do you take two 15 minute breaks and ½ hour lunch when you are at home on your own time? Life is not meant to be lived by a time clock. I know, you get paid by the hour. Every hour you are on the clock you get some credit in the form of money. Let’s say you get paid, $15.00 an hour, just to be generous. That means that when you signed on for your job, you set a monetary value on your life. One hour of your life is worth $15. What would you say if at the end of your life, somebody came up to you and said, “We were going to let you live another 30 years, but you traded out those years for $15 an hour so sorry, your time is up.” If you are being paid by the hour, that is exactly what is happening. You are trading out your life, which you only get one, there is no reboot, no do over, no try again, for a small monetary value. In exchange for some paper that has less and less value because those who rule, control said paper, you agreed to do things for somebody. You gave up huge swaths of your life, to perform functions for somebody. So why would said functions be so meaningless and useless? And why would you trade the one commodity that has the most value and cannot be refunded, your life, for so small of a return?
Go read those stories again. The pickers have to perform at a some sort of “pick rate” where a certain amount of orders must be filled per hour. Failure to do so means a face to face with some useless manager who will tell them how they are failures. Beating the pick rate might gain some minor praise or a plastic token or a gold star. But the pick rate will increase to make them work harder and faster. Or how about the infamous wallymart cheer. Imagine having to go into work everyday and start out with that. If I wanted to debase my employees that’s what I would do.
These jobs are dehumanizing, menial, boring, and above all, totally and completely meaningless. Nothing you will do at one of these jobs will have any effect on anything in the world. You will not get financial gain. You will learn nothing. You will not brag about what you do to that hot chick at the bar, mainly because you will be too depressed and busy becoming an alcoholic to even strike up a conversation. The constant pressure to perform better, the nagging from management, and the stress will kill you, if not for real, at least on the inside. All those dreams you will have had when you were younger, will be crushed under the weight of depression as you get up in the morning and realize you have another week of this misery to look forward too.
I won’t compare any of this bullshit to slavery because there is one major difference. You have the ability to get out of this lifestyle and go do something else. Yes, you can escape. No, don’t give me the excuses. You, and only you, have the ability to get the fuck out of the worker bee life and go do something with your life.
How do I know all this and why would I tell people to give up what they settled for? Because I went through it too. 30 wasted years in retail, shilling t-shirts, oil, and other useless crap. Endless inventories, piles of paperwork and reports, blind obedience to management. 30 years down the shitter and absolutely nothing to show for it. No riches, no fame, no fortune, and there ain’t one person alive, other than myself who remembers what I did. (No witnesses, hehehe. Ahem…) I discovered nothing. I experienced nothing. I accomplished nothing. I did nothing that I was proud of, and a lot I’m not proud of.
But I escaped, never to return.
I have no monetary savings, but more importantly, nothing to hold me back. I may be coming up on 60 years of age, but my future looks a heluva lot brighter now than it did when I was working a parts counter and trying to pay a mortgage. Somewhere along the road, not too long ago, my dreams crawled out from under the pile of bullshit I was being fed all my life, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and said, “C’mon, let’s go!”.
And so I went. Now my dreams and I sit down every day and talk. We make plans, we conspire, we scheme, but we don’t quit. I’m living on a sailboat in Key West goddamit. Such a life was so far away from my thoughts at one time that I might just as well dreamt I could fly. Sure, it ain’t no yacht, but here I am. I’m writing a blog that people read and act upon. I get asked for advice on business and life. Good or bad, I give it out. I haven’t punched a time clock in years and if somebody said I had too, I’d probably punch them first. After 60 years on this planet, for the first time since I was a kid, I am looking forward to the future. Something may come by and try to stop me, an illness, accident, ex-girlfriend, no matter. I ain’t stopping. Me and my dreams are off and running and nobody is going to catch us.
So why ain’t you doing the same?
Living on an island with just a bag full of stuff ain’t for everyone. I do not expect everyone to follow my exact path in life and you shouldn’t. But I hope like hell I’m am inspiring you all to stop with the worker bee mentality. Get out and experience life right now, dammit. Toss the blue vest in the trash and get out. You have the same brain, the same capacity to learn, and the same planet to experience as everyone else. Why would you waste your life as a picker, a packer, a cubicle drone? “Do or do not. There is no try.” said one wise puppet at one time. If it takes a fictional character to get you off your ass and start living life again, that should tell you something about your current situation.
What if you fail? So what? I failed, a lot. I’d rather fail as a blogger/writer/pirate than succeed as a warehouse picker. It’ll make for some more better stories in the bar.
Stop it. Stop living life the way you are being told to live it. There are no set rules to life. You don’t have to take these crappy jobs. You don’t have to stop dreaming. You can, at any point, make the changes necessary to live your life the way it should be lived. One of adventure, enlightenment, learning, and excitement. Have experiences you want to share with others. Create memories that will bring a smile to your face when you breathe your last. Teach others what I am teaching here. Imagine if nobody was willing to work for Amazon, or wallymart or any of those other useless endeavors. Would that make the world more better or worse?
I’m guessing more better.
That tug you are feeling around the scruff of your neck? That’s your dreams heading out into the world. Go join them.