Tag Archives: Work Sucks

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.

Work Sucks: Being the “Go-to” Guy

Disclaimer: Even though I use the word “guy” the go-to person can be any gender. Don’t jump my shit about it.

When you first start a job you’re an ignorant idiot and have no idea what the hell is going on. That is understandable because you’re new. No one is going to ask you to do anything remotely important or critical because you’re an ignorant idiot. You’ll probably be mopping or sweeping a floor just to do something because no one is going to trust you with anything else. As time goes on you’re expected to know more and more about the job that is assigned to you, to understand how your single work process fits in with the company-at-large’s goals in its business, and to guide others in how to do their jobs efficiently and correctly. All jobs start like this, but not all jobs end like this. Sometimes, if you stay at a job long enough, or are a reliable enough worker, you transform from the ignorant new-guy, to the dude-who-works-here, and finally into “the go-to guy.” You become the guy that your boss asks to do everything and comes to you nearly every time they need something. Need coverage when someone called in? Call Mr. (or Ms.) Go-To Guy/Gal even if it’s their day off! Need something done quickly and promptly and need it done correctly? Where’s Go-to person at? Anything odd, important, or time-sensitive will be delegated to you. It Sucks and here’s why (and how!).

Two (or more) types of people

I’m a nice guy. I don’t cuss people out or throw a fit when my boss asks me to do something at work. I mean it is called “work” for a reason and if you’re surprised you have to work at work I feel sorry for you; you’re a special kind of idiot. If I have to work slightly harder than someone else I don’t let it bother me unless it becomes a chronic thing where I’m busting my ass while they do nothing. I’m also a perfectionist that takes pride in their work. Even if I am given some tiny, stupid, mundane thing to do, I try to do it in an acceptable and even outstanding fashion while still being efficient. Even if it’s sweeping the floor, I try to do a decent job at it, and try to sweep in a way that takes the least amount of steps in keeping with my love of efficiency. I also realize that the pride you do a job with is visible to others: if you’re a lazy asshole that tries harder to get out of work than the work would actually require, everyone else will know it and will hate you for it. It’s simply not a problem to work while at work, and to work with some dignity towards yourself and the quality of job you’re doing. It makes everybody’s lives more enjoyable.

Speaking of the lazy asshole, guess who is the second type of person? Yeah, the lazy asshole. Take everything I said before, and invert it. When I said I don’t throw a fit when given a job to do, the lazy asshole does throw a fit. This person does their assigned job and no more. Anything extra given to them, even if everyone else also has extra work, will whine, complain, and bitch in the exact same way a 3-year-old does when they don’t get their way. They’re pieces of shit, lazy, and no one likes to work with them. This person has no regard for the quality of work they do or how they are perceived by their coworkers. They’re there to earn a paycheck and they will do it in the most minimally labor-intensive way possible. Usually they’re hated by their fellow coworkers, because if someone is being paid the same that you are you’d expect them to do about the same amount of work. That’s all cool and fine I guess, except there is one special person that also doesn’t want to work with this person: the boss.

If you are a supervisor (if you are, please take this to heart), and you need something done, who would you ask? Your options are the reliable guy or the asshole guy. One guy will get the job done seriously and without complaint while the other will half-ass the job and whine the whole time about it. It doesn’t take a fucking genius to know who’s going to get picked.

One time is fine, sure, but anytime a job needs to be done, the boss prefers to ask the good worker. This further cements their reliability and makes them even more attractive to give extra, important or odd jobs to. Eventually, by being a decent worker who isn’t an ass, you end up being the go-to worker who the boss, and other forms of management, go to if they need something done. It’s a positive feedback loop: by being a good worker you earn more of a reputation, which makes you even demanded by the boss, which gives you even more reputation, and so on. The lazy asshole gets no extra work because it’s too much of a hassle to deal with them in the first place.

The obvious shitty part of this is that it’s unfair. That’s what Sucks about turning into the go-to person. You’d expect the good worker to be rewarded with less work while the asshole gets slammed with the extra crap, and maybe even fired. It Sucks because reality doesn’t work that way. In the past 4 jobs I’ve worked, I inevitably always become one of the go-to guys, and while I’ve found ways to postpone it, it always seems to happen. Sadly, taking on more and more responsibilities as the go-to guy at work eventually leads me to a breaking point where I just quit the job. I yearned for the early days of a job where I could work, be good at what I was doing, but where I didn’t have that reputation for being such a good worker. They were simple times, back then.

If you’re smart and realize this trend is a thing, you want to break it. This is bad because you start to act like not a very good worker even though you are. At my current job I took a different shift where no one knew me, my work skills, and what I was trained in. I was a nobody and no one asked me to do anything. It was like hitting the reset button on being a go-to guy, and it’s been great so far. If you take a new job, you might lay low and not volunteer to learn anything new, because then your “good worker” secret might be known and you’ll end up as that guy. It’s pretty shitty and demoralizing to know that you need to play lazy at a job because the bosses will work you to death if you show them you’re a good worker. That’s how it is though. It Sucks. Don’t become the go-to person at work.