Tag Archives: Work

Double-Shifting (and Boredom) Sucks

It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.

-David Foster Wallace
…one of these hideous bastards. Note the stubby and goofy looking wings.

I’m currently sitting in a van on the cargo ramp at UPS. The current time is 11:17 a.m. and my crew (consisting of about 9 people) is scheduled to unload an Airbus A300 cargo airplane due to arrive at 12:09 p.m. It’s a little less than an hour away. And what will we do in the meantime? Nothing: we sit. This is what we do at UPS. The motto tossed around to new-hires is usually this: Hurry Up and Wait. I’ve been there so long that it’s basically lost its meaning to me.

The coworker in the front seat has his phone’s volume on full-blast playing some shitty mobile game. I don’t even know what game it is or if it’s even shitty, but it’s a mobile game so it probably is shitty. Also considering the certain coworker that’s playing it leads me to think it’s certainly a shitty game. I hear the cheap sound-effects of change clinking and crowds cheering feebly spewing out of the phone’s minuscule speaker which gives the sound a tinny quality. It’s like someone rubbing crumpled aluminum foil directly on your eardrums. The coworker next to me sometimes glances over in my direction and his breath is terrible. The people in the rear of the van — a Chevy passenger van that seats about 15 people fully loaded — are small-talking that everyone does when there is nothing to actually talk about. Because silence in and of itself is terrifying and scary. Two coworkers are in the back silent ripping away on their vapes. At least they’re not bothering anyone so I give them credit for that.

I’m working the UPS day-shift this year because there is no reason not to work it. UPS is a union job so it’s all-around a pretty comfy affair. Our contract with the company dictates that anything worked over five hours in a day is time-and-a-half pay: my typical $19.95 wage skyrockets to nearly $30 after the fifth hour. In a nine-hour day we’re taking some serious money here, and because I’m bored trying to kill time and math is something fun to do, this is a gross daily pay of exactly $219.45. Holy shit. Maybe double shifting isn’t too bad after all? While the money is good it’s not my primary reason for working the extra shift in a twisted sort of way if you can believe it. I’m a bum. I don’t do anything productive. I usually sleep and write during the scheduled day-shift hours. Sometimes I play video games. There is no reason not to work because making $30 an hour is hard to pass up when you literally have nothing better to do.

My typical shift at UPS is the twilight shift, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. By doubling on days I work an 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. shift with an hour-ish lunch break in between. And why can I pick up these extra shifts around this time of year? Because I work at UPS. We deliver boxes. And it’s December. Fucking think about it. We’re being swamped by packages and UPS as a company throws around money with complete disregard simply to get people like me to stick around longer than usual, take extra shifts, and get those damn packages shipped. Mostly so the stereotypical American in the fury of Christmas Holiday shopping doesn’t become pissed that their boxes showed up a day or two late. Weeks before Christmas the Holiday itself obviously, but still they will be very upset nonetheless.

Knowing the shift was going to be terribly long and boring I brought in something to read: David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. I almost feel bad complaining about taking extra shifts where I have enough downtime to read a book, write blog posts, and get paid nearly $30 an hour to do so, but the way anyone gauges anything is from their own relative personal experiences and it’s difficult for me to see anything that pisses me off in a positive light even if it is, logically, a positive thing. I hate being bored even if $30 is being thrown at me every single hour.

I started reading the book about a month ago and became bored, yes bored, about halfway through and only recently began reading it again (curious timing, looking back on it). The major complaints about the book are that it’s boring as hell, and even throughout the book the author explains (or maybe it was in the forward?) that the book is almost meant to be boring. Wallace’s most well-known novel Infinite Jest had it’s moments where it lagged a bit, but was a much more riveting story overall. Hell, The Pale King is about IRS employees and the whole IRS being central to the story almost forces it to be a boring story. So it’s not that Wallace is just a boring writer, it seems that he made the book boring on purpose. It’s the theme of the book: boredom. While I don’t know exactly what he is trying to say about boredom, I know he is trying to say something about it. And the book forces you to face the boredom directly; it doesn’t talk about boredom as much as it forces you to live through it by boring you to death. Some chapters are so full of random boring details about forms, procedures, codes, and acronyms that it had to be a conscious choice on the author’s part. And in my current bored state of double shifting, the novel seems like the universe’s way of talking directly to me (again). I find myself immensely engaged with the story that is so bland and devoid of anything obviously purposeful at all.

I realize that what I’m scared of with my extra work hours is not being burned out, or not having enough free time, but of being bored. Something about being bored is a personal affront to my very being it seems. My normal UPS shift forces me to find things to do for sometimes literal hours, and by taking on a second shift I get to double my boredom! And in some ways it’s worse than that; by working a nine or ten-hour day my phone inevitably dies. No writing. No blogging. No social media. No music. No internet. Nothing. Sometimes the work is so chaotic that the boredom comes in bursts here and there and doesn’t allow you enough time to sit down, relax, think, read, or grasp onto your fading sanity. It’s work just to stop minutes later. And then work again. And then stop. It’s Hurry Up and Wait. Let’s also not forget the one or two-hour lunch wedged in between the shifts either. Not enough time to go home and relax but long enough where you can’t sit around at work. Hence me grabbing McDonald’s, sitting in a parking lot at the end of runway 25 at KRFD and watching planes take-off and land. Like this:

And reading the book I run into this, the end of which I quoted at the top of this post:

The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom. To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human. To breath, so to speak, without air.

The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable. I met, in the years 1984 and ’85, two such men.

It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.

-D.F.W., The Pale King

The universe compels me to listen to what it’s trying to tell me. Apparently this time the universe works through the dead author David Foster Wallace and his unfinished novel The Pale King. And if Wallace in his boring-ass book is right, and if double shifting is as torturingly boring as it is so far, well, it looks like I’m well on my way to success, maybe even enlightenment. The key to modern life! I’m going to learn to be bored. To be okay with it. To sit for hours and hours in an airplane cross-legged and perfectly at peace being the embodiment of boredom. Totally fine staring out at the twinkling runway and taxiway lights that appear as bright, vivid, twinkling stars strewn over the ground admiring them endlessly.

(Closing Note: I was trying to make this more of an “update post” but was carried away with my mindset for the day. I wrote the post while bored and just went with it and it ended quite differently than how I originally intended it to end. So I guess this is the “update part” just tacked onto the end. I’m working a bunch of hours. I probably won’t be very active on here unless I knock some stuff out on the weekends and schedule them to post on the weekdays. I can write on my phone just fine, but I can’t edit or post. This also explains the “thanks guys!” post on Sunday. December probably won’t have any record blog views because of this yearly hell I live through; posting will surely suffer. I also might not be very active commenting on other people’s blogs. So if I disappear it isn’t because I forgot about you, it’s because I’m bored and I can’t help being bored and I have no escape from the boredom.)

Everything Sucks: An Update 2.0 (Or Something…)

If you’re a hardcore fan of this blog you might’ve realized that I’ve seemingly dropped off the face of the Earth the past half year or so. But since I don’t actually think I have any hardcore fans let me state that I’ve basically dropped off the face of the Earth in the past six months or so. This is due to a ton of things but it boils down to a basic lack of motivation. Keeping with the tone of this blog, this Sucks and I’m going to bitch about it.

You see, I’ve written a ton of shit about motivation and for me at least it does seem to be in short supply. Even if I intend to blog, if anything more important or taxing comes up I will immediately drop blogging (unintentionally) to focus on what is most stressful/important/whatever. It’s sort of a theory I live by but continually try to sidestep; like I believe the whole “finite motivation” idea is true but continually try to overextend myself into tons of different matters. It’s even more insulting considering that I’ve written a few blog posts about blogging, consistency, motivation, but still seem to drop the fucking ball on writing and posting blog posts. Like the dude preaching about motivation and consistency continually drops the ball on actually making consistent posts.

Currently I’m taking flight lessons, writing like two or three books (depending on what you consider “writing a book” means), trading stocks and options/dealing with a fucking terrible market, working peak season at a delivery company, being a father/husband, and trying to cope with depression/alcoholism. My life is a fucking hellish mess where I don’t seem to have any time to recoup, find myself, or to just relax and listen to music. There’s always something I feel I should be doing even if I don’t end up doing a damn thing.

Obviously given that mess it’s no surprise I haven’t fucking made a blog post in a few months…

What has changed recently was that I made the mistake of checking this blog a few weeks ago. Thinking that the blog had crashed and burned and that no one would give two shits about what was going on here I found myself pleasantly surprised: I was somehow netting about ten views a day even though I haven’t posted anything in a half year! This somehow bolstered my motivation in regards to my blogging and — I assume — bumped my blogging priorities up quite a bit.

So I suck at keeping a schedule and I guess I have reasons for that even though I’m a slacking piece of shit, but seeing how this blog has had consistent views even while I have been neglecting it gets my inspiration up. It makes me want to work on it. Maybe this blog isn’t something to let wither away and maybe I should keep working at it? I’m not looking for inspiration or justification or for anyone to spur me on to keep posting — because fuck that — I just wanted to make a(nother) post about how much of a bitch inspiration and motivation is and how priorities suck. But if you hang in there maybe you can still start over and that even if you have pissed away quite a bit of time you can still jump in and make progress. But what the fuck do I know? Everything Fucking Sucks.

Vacation Sucks: Life Without Work

I’m currently at work having just returned from a week-long vacation, and I must say it’s pretty shitty being back. Despite me having a job so simple that I can write a blog post at work, it’s still awful being back. It’s obvious to anyone that returning to work from vacation sucks, but in a strange way it’s nice to be back. I realize Work Sucks, but looking back and realizing Vacation Sucks more than work is pretty depressing. It makes no sense, but without fail when I return to work I think my Vacation Sucked and that vacation was pretty pointless.

The Second Job: A Halfway Vacation

First up on the “Vacations Sucks” post is the gripe that I work two jobs and only have a vacation with one of them. In case you didn’t realize my “vacation” is simply time off from work and not an actual “go somewhere and do something special” thing. This might not apply to some people, and if you’re one of those lucky people who only has a single job or who can get both jobs to allow you time off to do something, well congrats because this doesn’t apply to you! Working two part time jobs like I do leaves you with the typical situation where one gives me time off when the other doesn’t. This sort of “halfway vacation” sucks for all the obvious reasons. I’m not working as much, but still working enough to make life not enjoyable, and it probably makes work and vacation suck more because of the juxtaposition of the two. Working only one job isn’t really a vacation, it’s just normal life that doesn’t suck quite as much.

Motivation? Where U Go?

The prospect of having tons of free time while off of work (even one job) always seems promising to me. I feel that by having more leisure time I would be able to focus on a few of the goals I have. There’s this blog, and my derelict blog, and I also (try to) write short stories on Wattpad. I also have a few really stupid ideas for small businesses. Obviously, I have a bunch of crap going on in my head and time is a premium when it comes to making meaningful progress on anything. Working two jobs simply makes it hard to focus and get anything done and vacation should allow me to actually be productive.

Then I was on vacation and how many blog posts did I post? Zero. How many short stories did I write? Zero. Did I work on my business plans or revamp the blog’s Facebook page. Nope. I did basically nothing. What the hell happened?

You see, having a bunch of free time seems to have the counterintuitive effect of making me less motivated. I’m assuming I’m not unique and other also have this problem. Having more time allows me to escape the feelings of doom and desperation that working two jobs fills me with, and without that awful feeling staring me down daily and hourly, I have no drive to really be successful. When I’m working and I’m miserable and my schedule is busy there is no time to worry about motivation: if you want to write a blog post you fucking write one and post it because need to get on that shit if you want to do something with your life! But on vacation you’re like “Meh. There’s no rush. I have plenty of time!” Somehow having more free time gives you less motivation and drive making the vacation look ultra-depressing and pointless, especially in retrospect. You didn’t work, and you didn’t get any hobbies or goals accomplished. You basically wasted life without actually enjoying it.

Vacation is what Life Isn’t

Despite those two previous whine sessions, they aren’t really why Vacation Sucks. They’re facets of shittiness, contributing to vacation being awful while being offshoots of the primary reason: Vacations Sucks primarily because you have to go back to work. “Yeah, no shit.” you’re probably saying, but let me elaborate.

Vacations are what we all want to achieve out of life. Vacation is not working and having enough money and time to do the things you want to do. Some even call vacation by another name: retirement. We all want to save enough money so someday we don’t have to work and can have a “perpetual vacation.” If you’re really lucky you can retire earlier or might not have to work at all. This is a perpetual vacation called “being rich.” There’s this grand idea that if you accumulate enough money you don’t have to work at all, and this laziness to not want to work might be a large driver of the world’s greed. Retirement, being rich, living off the land, and vacation all serves a single urge: not working and doing something else you’d rather do! Chase your dreams! Do what you want to do! 

So vacation is a little taste of this for the lowly lower-class worker, especially if it happens to be a paid vacation. Here you have a week with no work and you still have money. You can do whatever the hell you want (or don’t want to do) with no obligations to a job. While you might not have a ton of money and aren’t actually rich you still get a temporary taste of not having to answer to anyone. This is life without a job, and it’s pretty refreshing.

Except the dream and experience has to eventually end of course. You always have to go back to work because you’re not rich and you’re not retired. You’ll probably have to work nearly the rest of your adult life with little to no breaks and you have to do it sustainably so you don’t burn out and just fall apart. Or get so discouraged at life you kill yourself or descend into alcoholism. Life is one big grind to make money to survive and to support your family, and compared with the wonderful fantasy that is vacation, it’s awful. Vacation gives you the perspective to what life would be like if you didn’t have to work. Going back to work from vacation just hammers the point home: this is your life, you hate it, you’re stuck here. How was vacation btw?!

Making it even worse, you might not even enjoy your vacation and this leads to some more troubling thoughts. If vacation is a microcosm of being rich and not working, I’d be a fucking miserable mess. I made no progress on my blogs and business plans and whatever other stupid shit I wanted to do. I didn’t travel anywhere and I didn’t do a bunch of housework. I don’t even think I mowed the yard a single time. In fact, I spent a bunch of money on fast food, drank about 50% of the time, and gained about 5 pounds. Apparently I’d be a fat, lost, unmotivated alcoholic mess if I didn’t work my jobs, so as much as work fucking sucks, it almost seems that vacation is shittier than work. It’s like I need to work to keep my ass in line, focused, and sober. Vacation makes me realize how much work does and doesn’t suck while work makes me realize how much vacation does and doesn’t suck.

In short you can’t win. Vacation, Work, and Everything 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.

Coworkers Suck: the Ignorant Know-it-All

Hopefully as soon as you read the title you conjured up a mental image of a coworker whom is the perfect candidate for the Ignorant Know-It-All. And hopefully as you read this you are nodding your head constantly in agreement as I whine about this certain type of person. We all know them and we all loathe them: the person at work who is constantly telling people how to do their job, and even though they are in the same job position as you are, they seem to act like they’re part of middle management and know everything. Making matters worse, they don’t actually seem to have any clue as to what needs to happen at work even though they act like they do. I recently started a new job and it took me a total of one week to run into TWO of these people. TWO! Lucky me! I’m sure there are a few more, but whatever, they must be really low-key about being jackasses. These workers Suck, and they Suck for some very simple reasons: no one likes to be ordered around and if you are ordered around, you’d hope you wouldn’t be ordered around to do some very stupid things. The Ignorant Know-It-All Sucks.

The part of this person being an ignorant know-it-all is very important. Similar worker archetypes that lack the ignorant aspect are the know it all and the asskisser/brownoser. These people are bad enough with their constant ass-kissing of management and telling everyone what to do. But truth be told, I’m sort of a know it all, and I can understand why people end up being that way at work. When you work around people who are mostly dipshits — your co-workers and the general public — you start to get frustrated with how people work begin to correct and overcorrect your fellow dipshit workers. Yeah you probably come across as an ass, but if you keep it low-key enough, maybe people won’t hate you as much? I figure you might be an insufferable piece of shit, but you still have good intentions of helping your coworkers find the best way to do a job. This is what the ignorant know-it-all starts with, but they take it to a whole new level of insufferability by not knowing what they hell they’re talking about.

The ignorant know-it-all is just like the standard run-of-the-mill know-it-all in that they have to correct everyone on every method that occurs in the workplace, but instead of them being a know-it-all and being correct in their recommendations, they fail miserably by suggesting and ordering really dumbass things that undermine the work process. Making matters worse, they think they’re a wizard, brainiac genius, future CEO, who are God’s gift to the workplace so they’re not even aware of how terrible their suggestions are. (For further reading, look up the dunning-kruger effect.) Everyone hates them and doesn’t want to work with them, but they don’t get it. And I don’t know how you’re supposed to tell them in a polite way to fuck off, so you just end up silently dealing with these overbearing assholes.

What bothers me most about these people is their seeming inability to put together any sort of complex process in their minds. When the ignorant know-it-all suggests something, it might sound good on the surface, but upon even slightly thinking about the issue, their suggestion will obviously undermine the work process one, two, or more steps away. What might solve the primary issue at hand will ruin the work process further down the line. For example, workers are limited in the workplace and moving workers from one line of work always will take workers away from another line of work. Job one might be dependent upon job two. I unload cargo aircraft containers that hold a bunch of packages and we load them into large cardboard boxes. People have to make the boxes (job one) for us to load the packages into (job two). In this example, the ignorant asshole will suggest, upon seeing that we’re not unloading the containers fast enough, might order (even though he isn’t a supervisor) some of the box making dudes to help unload containers. Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realize if you cripple the box making process, eventually we won’t have boxes to unload the packages into! If you’re smart you might realize that there might be enough boxes to finish the job — and you might be right — but the ignorant asshole doesn’t care about that and will move people even if it will cause all work to come to a screeching halt because of not being able to put actions and consequences together.

It never even has to be as complex as moving workers either. It might be telling coworkers to use a less efficient process even though they think it’s better, or by telling people how to do a job differently even if it doesn’t have any negative effect. Some people just have their own way of doing a job that works fine, but they will still insist that you do it their way. It might be them having a sense of urgency when there really isn’t any reason to hurry. It entails all sorts of unnecessary crap these people do just to seem smart, important, superior, or to appear to be a “good worker” to management. They might take care of less important matters first (like sweeping) while ignoring more important stuff (like helping a customer). These people Suck for very obvious reasons: they’re know-it-alls but they are ignorant about their ignorance. They go around and tell people what to do, how to do it, or when to do something when it’s one of the dumbest suggestions you could think of and have no idea about how stupid they are being. You can’t tell them to fuck off because then you’d lose your job. They probably won’t get fired because they’re such a “go-getter” sort of person: even if they’re dumb and annoying they’re a good worker and are reliable. Every workplace has these wonderful people, and this is probably a large part of why people hate going into work even if we don’t recognize it. We have to deal with the damn ignorant know-it-all and it Sucks.

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.