Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Sadly, you’ve probably got a consolation prize. Yep, your job is probably worthless—but that’s totally fine!
For years, we’ve grown up under the spectre of companies like Uber, Facebook, and Google championing a new era of work culture. In exchange for nap pods and catered lunches and beer on tap, corporate employees have been told they are supposed to care about their work. More than that, they have been convinced that prioritizing actions that blur the lines between work and home, like bringing your “whole self” to work (I’ve cut off a pinky and put it in my freezer—take that, boss man) and taking your pets to the office, are important facets of workplace culture and their own satisfaction. As people have allowed corporations to consume more and more of their lives, they have encountered some cognitive dissonance in the form of a question: Why would I let something unimportant take up 75% of my waking day? To that, our brains (and start-up Internal comms teams everywhere) have come up with a rationalization: Because your work matters. You are making a difference.
The truth, in the words of the 21st century’s Teddy Roosevelt, Lizzo: Bitch, you lie.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “You’re wrong, anonymous writer! I am extremely passionate about B2B solutions for transnational shipping and fulfillment logistics.” That may be true—but it does not make your job any less inconsequential. Whether you’re at a glorified ad company helping create a useless moonshot (shoutout to Google Wallet and Google Hangouts), monetizing extremely personal information for a megalomaniac, or at one of the 7.5 billion companies cutting out the middleman and bringing those savings to customers like you and me, what you do probably means nothing and concerns nobody other than the people you share your office with. In fact, here is a full list of the jobs that matter to people who aren’t you:
- Dentist (not you, Orthodontists)
- Nursing Home Caretaker
- Civil Rights Lawyer
- First Responder
- Ice Cream Truck Driver
That’s it. That’s everybody.
This isn’t to say you aren’t important. You are extremely important. You can affect change with your money and your time and your daily disposition. The important thing is that your totally useless, not-at-all-valuable job does not interfere with that. In fact, your real job, as the wonderful, important person you are, is to stay employed at your meaningless job and soak them for all they’re worth. Take as much money as you can spending as little time at the office as you can. Fuck the weekend hackathons. Fuck the optional corportate retreats. Fuck ‘em all. Get as much money as you can on the bare minimum of your time, and then bring your happiness and fortune to the rest of the world.
Work is an exchange of services (your time) for value (goddamn cash). There is a reason it’s called a work-life balance: Your work and your life are totally distinct things. That’s a great thing too—I heard what your company does is totally useless.