Sep 30, 2009
I was thinking specifically of Seth Godin and was grumbling that I would have to dig through his blog to find an example of the aforementioned proselytizing preachiness when, lo and behold, a random Twitter followee pointed me to a post he wrote for JobDig’s What Would Dad Say.
To whit, in a piece entitled, “Don’t Try to Get a Job,” His Seth-ship admonishes us with the following: “Don’t you dare. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that the act of trying to get a job corrupts you. It pushes you to be average, to fit in and to do what you’re told.”
Aside from the problem of telling people what to do (or what not to do, as the case may be) while criticizing a “do what you’re told” mentality, the word that jumped out at me was “corrupts.” Specifically, how did we move from the pragmatic issue of looking for work to the moral peril of falling from purity to corruption?
I understand that, upon our exile from Eden, we were cursed to toil by the sweat of our brow and that, since that dark day, work has been stigmatized as a punishment. I understand also that, in petit bourgeois dreams of small business success, telling people what to do is a mark of honor and indication of membership among the Elect. Nevertheless, I would like to offer an opposing, even dissenting, view.
When we work for someone, we are providing them a service and must of necessity, and within reason, bend our wills to theirs. This is the case whether we are tasked with specific duties within a larger enterprise or whether we are attempting to sell the fruits of our self-directed labor on the open market.
In the latter circumstance as in the first, if not exactly “doing what we are told,” we must at least “do what others want,” and if a source of corruption nests in the one, than it must assuredly be just as at home in the other.
In other words: don’t hate the player (the job seeker), Seth, hate the game (the system in which everybody needs a source of money if they want food, shelter, healthcare, etc.).
Or, to quote the late, great Curtis Mayfield: “If there’s a Hell below/We’re all gonna go.”
Image Courtesy of geraintwn.