Recently I quit. I fucking quit the world of 8:30-5:00, PTO, lunch breaks, break room cake and company lunches, fucking single serve k-cup coffee, calendar invites, pretending to care about Susan’s daughter’s Etsy store and Microsoft fucking Excel. I quit being chained to a desk with two monitors and feeling my ass rot in a swivel chair. I quit trying to compete in a game where the rules are broken and the rule-breakers are never disqualified or yellow carded, cheating is rewarded, and backstabbing might even get you to the next level of this game. Your "co-workers" (misleading, because there is nothing cooperative about corporate) tattle and make it their daily mission to exploit the errors of others in order to remain in the good graces of the level-ups that reward this type of policing.
But when you’re playing this kind of game, what is the reward?
You work hard every single day, you deliver, you meet impossible deadlines, you sweat and grind to get shipments out on rush, you juggle 6-8 different open projects a day. And all the while, this wave of pressure and stress cascades from the top of a hierarchy until it reaches the very bottom—you—and it tells you that you’re to blame for every problem that arises. You sit in meetings knowing the person talking is 100 percent falsifying their report, but no one will notice because they’re ignorant of the analysis it took to generate that “report.”
And for what—a salary? Because we have to pay our bills. We HAVE to. The implicit message is this: embrace this hostile environment, swallow this complete reversal of the code of ethics and being human you learned growing up; consume and LIVE in this alternate reality where the "weather” is fluorescent lighting and a constantly controlled 70 degrees, your view of the horizon goes as far as an 8x8 foot cubicle and utilizing your body only happens if you have a legitimate reason to leave your desk. And you do this for 40 hours of your week, every week, 52 times a year.
And you try to. You try to make yourself believe that it’s “not that bad” and “I should be thankful that I don’t have to dig ditches for a living.” One day when I was driving into work I saw a landscape crew out in front of our building. They were leaf-blowing. And in that moment I began daydreaming about leaf-blowing the parking lot rather than having to sit inside in front of screens and a wireless mouse all day.
Some have said to me, “Right but you’re no different from the rest of us. This happens everywhere.” Accurate. But does that really make it fine? Does that mean I should choose this as my happiness? Everything about this fabricated, manufactured, simulation of reality—along with its fake inhabitants and their fake smiles and feigned interest in what you did over Labor Day weekend—exposes its lack of depth and the fact that it’s willing to cover up what’s lacking in order to keep you working for it. So that you can afford to pay for just the things that allow you to continue to come back the next day, and the next day, and the next.
“You should be thankful you don’t have to dig ditches for a living.” Well, this is me, rejecting the establishment and happily choosing to dig ditches for a living. Peace out, Corporate America.