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[P]
Is work bad for you?

By Duke Machesne in MLP
Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 02:38:48 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Anxiety Culture (formerly available in print as well) "explores the anxieties hidden beneath the smiling mask of so-called 'normal' society." Founders of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Offices (NSPCO), they aim to expose the economic fallacies that perpetuate wage-slavery and offer counseling for the irrational guilt, distraction, anxiety, and negative thought loops that keep people mentally crippled and working stupid, pointless jobs.


A project manager and two programmers are working on an urgent project. One day they decide to walk to the nearby beach during their lunch hour.

Halfway up the beach, they stumble upon a lamp. As they rub the lamp a genie appears and says "normally I would grant you 3 wishes, but since there are 3 of you, I will grant you each one wish."

One of the programmers goes first: "I'd like to spend the rest of my life living in Hawaii, in a huge house, with no money worries and surrounded by beautiful women who worship me." The genie grants his wish and sends him off to Hawaii.

The other programmer goes next: "I would like to spend the rest of my life living on a huge yacht cruising the Mediterranean, with no money worries and surrounded by beautiful women who worship me." The genie grants his wish and sends him to the Mediterranean.

Then it's the project manager's turn. "And what would your wish be?" asks the genie. "I want them both back after lunch" replies the project manager.

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Is work bad for you? | 35 comments (24 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bad for you: OFFICES? (3.83 / 6) (#2)
by localroger on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 05:50:17 PM EST

Yes, work is bad for you. But if you work in an office you don't know the half of it.

In the time before my job morphed from "service technician" to "programmer" I was known to:

  • Climb tall structures without safety harness
  • Enter confined spaces without a spotter
  • Lift heavy weights into awkward positions
  • Carry heavy weights long distances
  • Use power tools such as grinders whose safety shields had been removed as a matter of "convenience"
  • Frequently risk collisions with forklifts and yard trucks driven in great haste by overworked and undercautious loaders
  • Work with equipment that had toxic and biohazardous residue on and within it
  • Work with uncautious coworkers who were apt to burn you by thoughtlessly flicking solder in your direction or, worse, failing to pay attention to where they were pointing an oxy-acetylene torch
  • Drive long distances with too little sleep
I was lucky, but few of my coworkers from that era escaped the inevitable hernia or back injury, and several have had bad falls, burns, vehicle accidents, or electrical shocks. Two men close to me narrowly missed being at a local refinery when its cat cracker blew up, killing 7 and blowing out windows 40 miles away.

So why did I put up with all of this? The economy sucked and I needed the money. And even if I'd opted out, this work has to be done by somebody. No matter how bad you think your job is, unless you're picking fruit or sewing tennis shoes in Malaysia I guarantee there are folks who would exchange a body part for the chance to be you.

I can haz blog!

Um... (2.50 / 2) (#15)
by John Miles on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 04:05:32 AM EST

blowing out windows 40 miles away.

Fat Man and Little Boy didn't blow out windows 40 miles away. Have you ever been accused of being prone to exaggeration?

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

40 miles away (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by localroger on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 08:13:09 AM EST

The refinery is in Norco, LA. Isolated windows were blown out in downtown New Orleans, which is 40 miles away. I suspect there were some focusing effects going on; Fat Man and Little Boy did not go off in the vicinity of a lot of skyscrapers. Fat Man's blast was also constrained by the surrounding hills. In any case the dead-tree newspapers of the day (this was in the mid-80's) ran plenty of pictures of the destruction. FYI Norco itself did look pretty much as if it had been hit by an atomic bomb.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Bad things happen (none / 0) (#20)
by Sawzall on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:31:11 AM EST

when one of these blow. Growing up in Pasadena Tx, I can remember several cases of these plants ending up looking like war zones. See case in late 80's. Square miles of plant were just leveled. Olin, the maker of both explosives and fert, have had several. The most famous of these of course is the Texas City disaster. Ship full of fert blew - basically the world biggest fuel/fert bomb, taking out miles of city and several thousand lives.

These plants are still disasters waiting to happen.

[ Parent ]

Philips 66 -- I was there! (none / 0) (#21)
by localroger on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 10:54:45 AM EST

Asland Cement had a portland cement loading facility out behind the Philips plant that blew. I had to go out and restore their computer system to operation after the blast. The plant looked like it had been hit by an atomic bomb -- twisted bits of metal everywhere, and the walls of the 2-storey brick office building at the front of the plant were being shored up by hastily erected braces.

The cement plant had a trailer for a control room which, fortunately, was parked behind the 35-foot-tall concrete holding silos. All the trailer's windows were blown out even though it was shielded from the direct force of the explosion.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Texas City (none / 0) (#27)
by John Miles on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:57:05 PM EST

Not "several thousand lives," but at least 600, which was bad enough. Apparently there were several explosions from multiple ships.... things just kept getting worse and worse.

Gee, I wonder why they couldn't find a tugboat captain willing to tow a ship loaded with burning ammonium nitrate fertilizer out to sea?

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

other interesting essay (4.77 / 9) (#4)
by doviende on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 05:53:01 PM EST

On a more serious note, here is an article by famed mathematician and philospher Bertrand Russell, called "In Praise of Idleness". it's really quite interesting.

If one is doing work one loves, (2.33 / 3) (#5)
by la princesa on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 06:59:06 PM EST

then what's the harm of it? The solution isn't everyone sit around drinking sangria and watching houri girls dance all day--it's making sure everyone does work they like and are decent at, with little robots to do the drudge work. With little robots doing all the icky work, people can work at stuff they like, get paid for it, and have tons of free time for sangria-drinking and lazing about.

Kill the Counterculture (3.20 / 10) (#8)
by daystar on Fri Aug 10, 2001 at 08:44:11 PM EST

I hate these people so much. I was raised by useless, whining hippies who considered themselves separate from the common masses. Irritating elitists, with no reason to think that they're superior. It took me a long time to figure out that "The unwashed masses" was where all the chicks were.

And now I work in an office. Cubicle hell, and you know what? I LOVE it! I like the environment. I like the waterfall-like sound of a million keyboards. I love it all.

Call me brainwashed, but I'm happier than EVERY person who's raging against a soul-numbing culture. I love life, I love me, and I love my fucking job (even though today sucked). Screw all of you people who want to "enlighten" me into crippling depression. I laugh at your suicides.

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.

No kidding? (3.33 / 3) (#9)
by elenchos on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:26:43 AM EST

I always pictured a guy with a short fuse and a big chip on his shoulder, a clenched jaw, and no ability to let little annoyances pass without comment. Someone whose present mood varies with how much he agrees with the thoughts of those around him. You always seemed quite driven to react to things.

But it turns out that you are in a state of bliss? Go figure.

Hey! Read this. That is all.
[ Parent ]

I hate to get too personal about this... (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Duke Machesne on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 12:53:13 AM EST

But if the whoosh of Keyboard River from the womblike comfort of your little cubicle keeps you so shiny and happy all the time, what's up with the antidepressants? What, do they help you sleep?

Besides, man, we're not talking about counterculture here, we're talking about people who don't like to work their asses off to "earn a living" when they don't feel its either necessary or enjoyable. If someone like you genuinely loves work enough to do a lion's share of it, more power to you. I'll be at the beach. (you don't even have to get enlightened; you can take things just as heavy as you like)

__________________________________________________
arts schoolsweight loss
[ Parent ]

Well, if you follow your own link... (3.00 / 1) (#11)
by daystar on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:16:26 AM EST

.. you'll see that the antidepressants in my life were years ago. Up until around then, I spent my life thinking that I was SUPPOSED to be unhappy, which is just the kind of horrible lie that is perpetuated by the people who feel compelled to explain to other people just how miserable they REALLY are. So I've got some resentment. Turns out that life is pretty neat, and I like what I do.

And hey, you might not consider it "counterculture", but when I see "explores the anxieties hidden beneath the smiling mask of so-called 'normal' society", I feel justified in assuming that that they've got a problem with my culture.

And I don't work my ass off. I work forty hours a week. I just enjoy it. I go to the beach too.

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]

Whoa, back up, read the links. (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by Nater on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 03:11:20 AM EST

I spent my life thinking that I was SUPPOSED to be unhappy, which is just the kind of horrible lie that is perpetuated by the people who feel compelled to explain to other people just how miserable they REALLY are. So I've got some resentment. Turns out that life is pretty neat, and I like what I do.

I can tell immediately from this bit alone that you did not follow the links in the article before you went ahead and lambasted them. This philosophy of yours, that life is peachy, you don't have to be unhappy, and all that is exactly what the pages at the end of those links say. I know this because I just read all of them. It was quite interesting reading and the anxiety/guilt/distraction cycles described within apply to a number of people I know. If you took the time to read a little bit, you might not make such a fool of yourself.


i heard someone suggest that we should help the US, just like they helped us in WWII. By waiting three years, then going over there, flashing our money around, shagging all the women and acting like we owned the place. --Seen in #tron


[ Parent ]
hehe...snicker...heh (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by ti dave on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 04:09:28 AM EST

"I was raised by useless, whining hippies who considered themselves separate from the common masses."

Did they give you your kuro5hin user name as well?

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
actually, yeah.... (4.66 / 3) (#19)
by daystar on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 09:57:07 AM EST

It's my middle name. My mother's name is Dawn, and there's this passage in the bible about "Daystar, son of dawn" and she thought that was pretty neat.

I was sixteen before I noticed that it was a reference to Satan. I pointed this out to her and she felt REALLY bad about it. Clearly she hadn't finished the paragraph. Of course, being the rabid atheist that I am I don't have a problem being identified as Satan, I just think it's funny. I realize the humor is lost on everyone else. Sorry.

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]

Did you know about the Christian TV network... (none / 0) (#22)
by garbanzo on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 11:32:22 AM EST

. . . that is also called "Daystar"? Funny, I never made the Luciferian association with their network name, but now it all seems very sinister, like something out of a Stephen King novel. Bears investigation, perhaps.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
heh, yeah.... (none / 0) (#24)
by daystar on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 01:20:03 PM EST

I get a huge kick out of that.

Different translations phrase it differently, of course. The bible I've got is an Revised Standard Version, and it does NOT refer to Satan as the Daystar. Some versions (and the movie Dogma) use "morning star".

There are also a number of references to daystar as a positive thing, but only one that says "daystar, son of dawn"...

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.
[ Parent ]

Damn... (none / 0) (#25)
by ti dave on Sat Aug 11, 2001 at 02:08:34 PM EST

and to think that I was going to crack on you by speculating that it was your Given Name.

Truth *is* stranger than fiction.

Cheers,

ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Did you even visit the linked site? (none / 0) (#30)
by Trepalium on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 06:44:25 AM EST

It seems to be more of a joke than anything else, although it does try to have an element of truth to it. Looking over the site, there's some pretty plain messages. If you hate your job, you should either find a different one, or find a way to make your job enjoyable. Sounds simple, right? It isn't for everyone -- a lot of people have trapped themselves in a job they dislike, afraid to change. A lot of people let the day-to-day problems of their jobs go home with them, to become useless worries for the times they're at home. You, on the other hand, have obviously found something you really enjoy, and you know how to deal with the stresses of it. If you have, that's great for you.

The site does go a little overboard on it's description of employment vs unemployment. If someone thinks their income is inadequate, or that they're not useful to society, it's not likely going to be improved by unemployment.

[ Parent ]

Work ... (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by joegee on Sun Aug 12, 2001 at 01:19:22 AM EST

is what the species used to have to do to put food in our collective bellies, before subsidies made possible the class who could debate the aesthetic merits of the concept. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
Reciprocality (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by katie on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 05:57:34 AM EST


See also www.reciprocality.org - they have a rather interesting theory about a meme virus that's robbing humanity of its ability to be creative... people with ADD are actually those who are immune from it.

I'm almost convinced...



three points (1.50 / 2) (#33)
by _Quinn on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 10:46:27 AM EST

If 'you feel humiliated driving an old car', I have to agree -- something is very seriously wrong with you.

On the other hand, while I agree that "Schools are factories...", the pair of paragraphs following ignores the heading ("...for turning carefree souls into obedient, economically frightened clones") and talks about why anxious people are good for the economy.

If you think "Responsibility sees everything as a problem needing a solution....", I think you need help, too.

-_Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.

Statement of most import from the links (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by botono9 on Mon Aug 13, 2001 at 04:31:40 PM EST

There is more to the arguments about work than the dichotomy of "good" and "bad". If you like what you do, do it! Please! And if you hate what you do, stop!

I think the most important thing stated in the links is that wages have not tracked production. As our ability to produce more and more things at lower and lower cost increases, we should be working less and less (or working for more and more money). But this is not happening. Why? Because if we do not continue to grow, we will die (or so the belief goes). I think they are starting to see this over in Europe with the introduction of the 35 hour work week in France and Ireland seriously considering a basic income.

I have a 4-day work week. I work for 9.5 hours a day for a total of 38 hours a week with a 3 day weekend. I like this schedule a lot. Recently, because of the economic slump, there has been talk of moving people to a 5 day week because it is seen as more "professional". This is utter bullshit. The 5 day people only work 2 more hours a week.

I'm a bit anti-capitalist myself, so I am of the opinion that the reason we are still working long hours for not much money is because rich people feel they need to keep getting richer. If it were OK to be stable (as opposed to having to grow all the time) then people could work 20 hours, or less.

But I'm rambling. Good day.

"Society had a crime problem. It hired cops to attack crime. Now society has a cop problem." -- Tom Robbins

Growth (none / 0) (#35)
by bored on Tue Aug 14, 2001 at 01:23:13 PM EST

I'm a bit anti-capitalist myself, so I am of the opinion that the reason we are still working long hours for not much money is because rich people feel they need to keep getting richer. If it were OK to be stable (as opposed to having to grow all the time) then people could work 20 hours, or less.

The whole "we gotta grow by 10% a year to survive" BS gets on my nerves too. In reality the "growth" just needs to keep up with inflation. Which is a nasty piece of circular logic if you think about it for a little while.

If your are a stable company producing x products/year and charging y$ and the resulting income pays the bills. Then you don't really need to grow except to make sure that your employees pay doesn't go down because of inflation. Inflation is caused by other people raising their prices to make up for more expensive production (or just greed). The whole economy is gently biased in the inflation direction. It could just as well be biased in the other direction, the important thing is keeping the production/return cycle positive. The rules are simple the system is complicated.

Then there are the people who do stupid things and break the system. Big respected companies that create estimates of 10% growth, hire people this quarter to deal with the predicted demand next quarter. Then when the expectations fail they are f**ked. The US goverment does it too. People make these outragious claims to maximize their gain and figure that if the claims fail they won't be the ones who get hurt, it will be the workers they just hired.

I saw a nice statistic that said the average worker in the US produces 75k$ worth of 'product' a year, yet the average pay is 1/2 that. Its like going to work for 40 hours a week and only getting payed for 20. The rest of the money goes to people who are siphoning money from the system and the people who have massive capital working for them. Since capital accumulation, is hard most of the people with large capital outlays inherited it. Look at the list of 'billionares' and tell me how many of them where 'poor' in the sense that their parents have less than $1M. Not very many that is for sure!



[ Parent ]
Is work bad for you? | 35 comments (24 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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