Saturday, March 20, 2010

Means – Part One

The checks keep cashing. So I keep showing up. This is my factory job. This is my assembly line. It’s work. It’s supposed to be shitty. That’s why they pay you to be there. If they didn’t have to pay you, they wouldn’t. It’s not like you show up because you like what you do for a living and they pay you because they’re nice. While I’m at work, I write code: HTML, CSS, XML, XSLT, some JavaScript, some ActionScript, and occasionally ASP. I would clean toilets, too, if they wanted to pay me my salary for that. I’d be no less satisfied at the end of the work day. I don’t care. I don’t take pride in what I do for a living. Make no mistake, I get paid to do my best, so I do my best. I’m good at what I do, and I don’t believe in fucking up. But I don’t live for, or through, my job. If I never coded another web page, animated another banner ad, or built another flash application or website, my life would lose no depth, meaning, or fullness. It’s a paycheck. You can take my code and print it out, shove it up your ass, light it on fire, or post it to the web. I don’t care what happens to it, as long as I get paid. I live for my wife, my friends, my art, the weights, literature, music, good food, and good life experiences. I regret that I don’t love or even like what I do for money, but I don’t think that many people do. People are, by and large, full of shit. People do a lot of pseudo-moral posturing to justify their own situations and allegiance to their enslavement.

I’ve been laid off twice. While I collected unemployment checks, I felt like a degenerate parasite. I felt like it was dirty money, and I was doing something wrong by accepting it. For those months I felt like other people around me knew I didn’t work and were constantly scrutinizing and judging me for spending free money. Work felt dignified. Work made me feel entitled to my money and self-esteem, like I'd earned it. Work felt righteous. A few more years of working have cured me of that sentiment. Now it just makes me feel loss. It’s time taken away from me that I’ll never get back. It’s time misspent. Every Friday, I mourn the loss of another week of my life that I can never reclaim. It’s slow, incremental murder that I hold like a grudge against my employers. Working doesn’t make you more or less entitled to anything. It’s just something that most of us have to do. Most of us have to do our own laundry. If you don’t have to do your own laundry, and somebody else does it for you, your clothes get no less clean in the process. I don’t think that anybody enjoys doing laundry, or would fault you for dodging the task if you have the means. That’s all it is. Don’t be ashamed of what you have.

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