Lets be frank and honest about this and make no bones, the work that many people are expected do to make a living nowadays is utterly meaningless rubbish, devoid of any well being and tediously benign, and that’s without even touching on the issues of low pay and the hire and fire contractual arrangements of modern day employment.
Its like being kicked in the teeth twice, the first kick is the crappy boring job, and the second kick is the fact you have to spend so much time doing it for so little reward. I once worked in a cold storage unit in Wigan where my job was to cut carrots in half in the morning, and cut red peppers in half in the afternoon. I did this job to avoid becoming homeless after finishing University and spent around 60 hours a week doing this. But I was OK a working class fella with a bit of academic paper in my pocket, I knew that I wouldn’t have to do this work for too long, but the lads and lasses I worked with had been doing it for years.
Imagine being trapped in a zero degrees basement with a dozen or so other people all cutting vegetables in half for twelve hours with a couple of short breaks in-between day in day out, with some jumped up power crazed clipboard automaton in a white coat and bright coloured tie bellowing out orders at you like a drill Sargent. At another place where i worked I spent around 60 hours a week loading cases of shampoo in and out of vans, day in day out without even the variation of different types of shampoo.
For those who think I am wrong and think that this type of work is good for the self esteem and sense of worth then I ask you to swap places and go and work in any of these tedious shit holes and then see what you make of it when you come out of the other side.
It is no small wonder then that I have had over thirty jobs in my work life, and I am sure I am not alone in this job hopping game of hopscotch in our bargain basement pound shop economy. And the worst thing about this situation is that we are all supposed to be oh so grateful for these wonderful life enhancing, life changing jobs, hard work is close to godliness we are told. But when this hard work wears us out and spits us into a valium bottle, takes us away from our families five out of seven days a week and eats up the worlds resources so that Simon from Surrey can upgrade to an Iphone 6, then this is a work ethic that the Neoliberals, corporations and Religious right can keep. It is nothing shameful to not want to work forty hours a week where the main beneficiary of your Labour is the company that you work for. The work ethic exists for a number of reasons, to make people feel guilty if they don’t work hard, and then it is used as some sort of warped ethical benchmark to pass judgement on unemployed people, and nowadays people who are not fit to work because of illness. I’ve had to fight hard over the last decade to reclaim some of the time spent working and dedicate it to actually living and doing things that are more fruitful for me a human being than the monotonous and insulting grind of modern day employment.