Tag Archives: Survival

Work Sucks: Detached Survival

Work Sucks. That’s right. I mean in case you weren’t aware of it. Work really sucks, but it sucks in such a way that is obvious but not-at-all-obvious when you think about it in depth. Work sucks — we all know that — but exactly why does it suck? If you’re like me, you might think that work primarily sucks because it’s something you have to do. Strangely, I’ve realized that if my job were voluntary, where I could show up and work whenever I need and wanted to and could take days off at will, I would probably still show up and work, but somehow I’d be much happier at going. This speak volumes towards the “I have to go to work” complaint as to why Work Sucks. But this doesn’t quite explain it all because even if you had a purely optional job, eventually you’d have to go (what with you being starving and homeless…) and then you’d be back at where we started at: work sucking because you have to go. But why is that? If your survival is dependent upon work you’d think you’d enjoy it a little more.

Work Sucks because it is required, because money is required, and shelter, food, water, and transportation are all required. Work is essentially for us to survive. But with a person’s survival on the line, you think people wouldn’t mind work too much. The alternative to not working is dying, so yeah, work isn’t too bad! Work is required so we can each survive, but it doesn’t really seem like that when you’re at work. To us, work seems very detached from the idea of survival where no one sees their jobs as important to their wellbeing.

People at work aren’t like “I’m doing fairly well, although I need to take some extra hours because I’m on the verge of starving to death! How is your day going Jerry?” At work, and in our greater society as a whole, money, food, shelter, and survival seem really distant, almost like an afterthought. Also realize the fact that you probably do stupid shit at work that seems so pointless and redundant to basic survival that it’s amazing to think that your own person survival really does depend on it. That’s crazy! You as a cashier must listen to people whine and bitch so you can survive. You as a taxi driver must drive people around so you can survive. And me, well I move Amazon boxes from an airplane into a semi-truck, so I can survive. It seems really dumb that my survival is dependent upon such a stupid thing.

I don’t think survival has always been this detached from everyday life either. Think back to how life was 200 years ago, as if you would be living on the family farm all pastoral style. You’d wake up when the sun comes up, and do a bunch of chores to take care of animals. But you have to do this so you can kill the animals and eat them because if you didn’t you would starve and die. You’d have to work in a field harvesting vegetable and canning them, because if you didn’t you’d starve and die. You might have to hunt for wild animals, or build and repair a fence to keep the cows in the pasture, so you don’t STARVE AND DIE. Before winter you’d have to have enough firewood on hand so you didn’t freeze to death during the coldest months of the year. My point here is that day-to-day life was almost directly attached to survival, and while you’d probably have to run to a store periodically for fabric, clothes, tools, and the rare food item (like salt), most of your life didn’t suffer from the detachment to survival that we deal with today. I bet people were happier and perhaps the Amish are onto something…

..Nah. Society is pretty cool with how comfy it’s made life. Instead of worrying about my next meal I can work a few hours, buy a box of doughnuts at the gas station, and sit on my ass at home wandering around a virtual world in Minecraft. It’s almost laughable how easy things are and you have to appreciate how nice it is when you think of life hundreds and thousands of years ago. We have time for leisure activities and most of us don’t deal with day to day survival like a gazelle in Africa has to deal with when drinking water. Babies don’t die from preventable diseases, and our drinking water is clean. It is nice not waking up day after day worrying about living or dying. But I don’t think this can happen freely without some sort of tradeoff, without some compromise happening within our human spirit. In our day-to-day lives, at work and at home, survival and existence are so far detached from anything we deal with that we forget that it’s there. It makes us go mindlessly to a job day after day without really thinking about survival at all. It seems really pointless and mind numbingly mundane. Jobs, while attached directly to survival just don’t seem important enough to care about. I work for my survival, but not really.

So we never face the daily connection between work and survival. Our jobs are pointless, mindless, and usually involve some chain of production or service that seems to have nothing to do at all with basic survival. You work to get money to live and survive on, but there seems to be so much extra crap going on that work and survival are only related in theory. That is why Work Sucks: your shitty job is directly required for your survival but since society is cushy enough your survival is detached from your job and you never relate the two together. It makes work seem pointless and arbitrary compared with something much more important: survival and living your life.