Work or die.
I was reading an article about Millennials today that blames capitalism for how a lot of modern kids don’t want to work. The article went on to say that a lot of these young people aren’t lazy – they simply dream of a world that isn’t so fixated on capitalism because they don’t think they should have to work 10 hours a day at a job they hate in order to make someone else rich. They should be able to follow their bliss and change the world! Like feeding the homeless. (Apparently that’s a blissful changing of the world.)
Of course if the world was a better place, we wouldn’t have homeless needing to be fed to begin with. But I digress…
As a Gen-X’er — I agree to some degree. I don’t think Americans should have to work 50+ hours a week at a job they hate, with minimal yearly vacation time, just to make ends meet. I agree that there should be an alternative – but what is that alternative and is it realistic? Surely not all of us can just wander away from our jobs and follow our bliss, can we? After all, someone still needs to scrub the toilets, build the roads, and do the dirty jobs that it’s no one’s bliss to do. #reality
Perhaps we could just give everyone an equal piece of land and tell them to have at it. Self-subsistence. Living off the grid kind of shit. But let me tell you something right now — if you hate working 50 hours a week in a shitty corporate job — you’re going to hate self-sufficiency even more because that’s a 24/7 job. Hard labor.
I think modern people glamorize frontier life too much. What do you think farmers of olden days did all day? Did they paint? Write? Sit around reading books and staring wistfully at the sky? Well – maybe if they were wealthy and had servants and farm hands to do all the work, but since we’re doing away with anyone having to do any actual work they don’t like, so they can spend their time doing what they want to do – you can kiss a life of following your bliss goodbye in this scenario.
Frontier life was brutal. Life itself be damned when you have to spend the bulk of your day hunting, tending the garden, sewing, cooking, fixing, tending livestock, cleaning etc… as a matter of your survival. Then there are always those people who would make a career of stealing your shit – and since it’s likely very few people’s bliss to take out criminals – you’d need to deal with that shit yourself. Martial law anyone? Kill or be killed? No – that’s not as stressful as having to go to an office job at 8am five days a week. ::insert snarky pause::
Not to mention do you think following your passion is any easier? Do you have any idea how many hours each day I spend working on my writing career? Far more than I’ve ever given a corporate job — for far less. I work harder, longer, and for less money just so I don’t have to work 50+ hours a week as an office jockey. Yes, I’m happier. Yes, I probably get to spend more time in the presence of my cats and husband than some people. But it’s still exhausting work and I work ALL THE TIME. While I love parts of my job, there are also parts I hate, even though it’s my passion. Imagine that.
A lot of these kids (and adults) who are angry about having to work for a living don’t have a real passion that is self-supporting anyway. If they did – they would have pursued by now. If they haven’t pursued it – then they’re not self-motivated enough for self-employment anyway – not everyone is. Some people actually need someone to lead them. They need to be given a task. Remember that humans are herd animals, much like sheep. They need leaders and direction. Those who do have an actual passion (the actual leaders) are pursuing it and they’re likely not bitching about capitalism and the need to abolish it in favor of communes. Where, by the way, everyone still has to work.
Some of these people who hate capitalism and rebel by being jobless are living off the welfare system, or they have someone else supporting them (like their parents). Look – I support the safety net for Americans who are unable to work due to age, physical disabilities, severe mental disabilities, and chronic terminal illnesses. I don’t support it for perfectly able young adults who are “rebelling against the man”.
I get it – corporate America sucks. It’s always sucked. That’s life. You can’t live on air and love. Life requires clothing, shelter, medical care, and food. Those things require money to purchase, and if not money – goods or services for trade. That means that work will always be required regardless if we have capitalism or not. If you’re not working and paying your own way – then someone else is. Remove that someone else and you’re fucked, my friend. Because at some point – your support system (whether governmental or parental) is going to die and if you haven’t been weaned from the teat and you’re not capable of working — you’re going to die right alongside it.
ADDED: BTW – I think the solution is affordable health care and living wages. If millennials really want to change things – they’ll start companies that give their employees a few months vacation a year, help them with child care, offer good health plans, and pay good wages for a 40 hour work week. Which is a far better solution than just refusing to work. Change the modern workplace by creating the workplace you want. That makes more sense.