A Nation of Misery

The surveys say that 70% to 80% of people in America are not satisfied with their jobs. The problem with surveys are that people tend to lie and they don’t survey everyone. Not liking your job though is not something people ever lie about. If anything people will go to great lengths to pretend they like their job.

As a person who just quit their job, I might come off as biased for believing the statistic but I honestly see it as being mostly accurate. 7 to 8 people out of 10 not liking their job sounds quite reasonable. It falls into that classic 80/20 Pareto principle that seems to fit everywhere.

What does it say about people? It says that most people live at least a semi-miserable existence. A full time job is 8 hours of your day not including all the other bullshit like overtime, commuting and thinking about work. There’s 24 hours in a day and if you sleep the recommended 8 hours a day then that leaves you with 16 hours minus the 8 hours at work, you’re left with 8. So mathematically speaking, the absolute maximum time that you can have not being at least semi-miserable is 8 hours and this is only if you work from home or live right next door from work. You could sleep less than 8 hours to give you more waking hours but a person operating with less sleep is more miserable. It may only be 5 days of the week that you have to endure this life but getting kicked in the balls for 5 days carries its way through the weekend.

When I was working, I knew I was at least kind of depressed but I didn’t think my job had that much to do with it. There was nothing horrible about my job and the pay was good enough but having to be somewhere for 8 plus hours a day, 5 days a week got to be too much. Much of the misery was not being able to see the end which brings in the hopelessness.

You might be saying that you can’t live life without a perpetual stream of income because of all your bills. I won’t deny that fact but most of the time that is a situation that you signed up for. “Can’t” often means “don’t want to.” Work only becomes really unsatisfying when the reason why you are working is not satisfying. Fighting off a pack of lions is not an ideal situation but it’s pretty damn satisfying if you win because you fought for something worth fighting for. You have to ask yourself if the life you are living is worth the required misery.

Every day I would dig a hole of suffering and when I could I would try to fill it back up with pleasure. In the beginning it’s easier to balance out but when you’re paying your credit card with another credit card, your hole becomes a bottomless pit. As time goes on the suffering becomes deeper and the pleasures less rewarding. The interest on the suffering compounds while the available credit on pleasure becomes less.

I can’t possibly believe that I won’t ever have to get another job in my lifetime but I’d like to believe that I will never knowingly or unknowingly aspire to be miserable again.

Are you part of the 80 or the 20?


2 comments on “A Nation of Misery

  1. justcamel says:

    People hate their jobs because 90% of them are #bullshitjobs and only owed to the collapsing monetary and socioeconomic framework … people just don’t get it …

    “Most of us are already familiar with the concept of #bullshitjobs – i.e. the circumstance that most of our jobs are purely systemic and that they do not benefit humanity. The most obvious examples would probably be marketing, lobbying, tax accounting, real estate brokerage, banking, working for insurances, accounting, cashiers, etc. – basically all the jobs that are a symptom of maintaining a fear, ego, competition, artificial scarcity and market based economy and the resulting value- and incentive system.

    Then there are less obvious #bullshitjobs stemming from systemic redundancy. We got a thousand companies producing a thousand different mobile phones, wrenches, cars and a million other things. So each company employs its own researchers, engineers and other people doing rather meaningful things (compared to the aforementioned jobs) but their overall headcount is just ridiculously high because of said redundancy. We could probably get rid of 90% of those headcounts by “only” producing 20 to 30 different (highly customizable, individualized) high quality mobile phones, wrenches and cars in a cooperative, open-source manner without having to maintain a thousand individual R&D labs, a thousand individual marketing, legal, human resources and accounting departments and without any asymmetries in the context of R&D or knowledge and without having to care about patents or law suits.

    A special breed of #bullshitjobs represent those jobs who are currently considered to be highly relevant jobs like charity, social and street workers, psychotherapists, etc. which also would become obsolete within a sane, cooperative socioeconomic environment. Well, we might still need a few psychotherapists but clearly not nearly as many as we do within our contemporary socioeconomic insanity.”


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