how i stopped trying to “grow up & get a job”, and other lies capitalism told me

i hate work.work
i really do – and i think most people do too.
and by work, i mean essentially any situation where you would not be there, doing that gig, associating with that place & group of coworkers, if not being paid $$ to do so.
that creates a pretty clear distinction between:

  • careers that really challenge ourselves to grow, expanding upon our own potential, rewarding effort of investing time and talents…
  • and all those other jobs that simply help us pay off debts & otherwise serve as a mental checkpoint in our lives for how we were told to live and proceed as we age.

this here is a really important difference, and something i will keep coming back to, because it highlights how often we all can conflate words and ideas under one broad label. like the example above of “work” (conflating purpose with day jobs), we can also confuse say the notion of “success” (equating fulfillment with competitive materialism) or “confidence” (thinking that liking yourself is the same as a vain ego).
so basically one take away from reading this is a reminder to question what assumptions you are bringing into a situation which prevent you from seeing something in a new way.

unemployed

okay, so back to work and my hate thereof… because we all live inside a capitalist society, we have learned to internalize certain values & priorities (many of which were nurtured subconsciously to be thought of as our own ideas – like Inception style) which foster stigma at people or philosophies that hate on work.anigif_enhanced-buzz-23594-1387561702-5

okay sure, it is common small-talk to complain & gripe about your job, a boss, a coworker, about how tired we all feel, how little we are paid, or how much we enjoy a vacation away from cubicles, traffic, paperwork and computer screens. but that can only go so far, never to a point, you know, of actually trying to do something about it.

and no, this is not the point where i turn into some soapbox shaming you for not “wanting it all” badly enough or where i insert the link to buy my new book “You Suck: I can help”.
nah that would be major trolling and there is far too much of that already.

so instead, i am going to emphasize that this crummy situation is not your fault for creating it nor your sole responsibility to fix it all like some new year resolution.
tumblr_n5s2e4t1rn1qddfrco2_250actually, 
the capitalist “work-consume-debt-die” cocktail of life literally encourages a certain quality of dissatisfaction and unhappiness with 9-5/Mon-Fri work life, and then somehow  jedi mind-tricks us
all into investing even more time/effort into it
(
read this goodie or its audio version ).
think of how the media uses this basic process: 

  1. choose a label with negative connotations (communist; hippy; parasite; welfare queen; millennial; spoiled; lazy; burden; etc.)
  2. apply label to anyone & everyone who actively disagrees with the system (ie activists) or who is actively exploited by the system (ie migrant workers, BIPOC communities, peoples with disabilities)
  3. ensure fear-mongering label has a criteria vague enough to make all others worry they too might be demonized if they hold reluctance to conform & blame groups of people (for problems that these same people are obviously suffering from the most)

for reasons like the above, it took me a good while of my life to get comfortable with a) honestly voicing my contempt for the capitalist model and b) going so far as to create a living situation for myself that slowly untangles myself from the model altogether. and this was not my own doing, but like everything, involved learning from others on how to subvert expectations & redefine your life (like this gem of 5 valids reasons to be a quitter).
accomplishing both a) & b) requires a lot of attention and effort, and is something i personally still work at (because we still live with capitalism’s ubiquitous propaganda).

anti-c-love-notes

to keep this post concise, i will share 3 important revelations for embracing anti-work:

  1. everyone has value.
    the end.
    you, me & everyone else never need to defend our right to exist, to take up space, regardless of how much or how little we “do”.
    fuck capitalism for infecting us all with the idea that someone has to fight to live on this planet.
  2. effort is relative.
    genetics, [dis]ability, talent, time, money and other privileges all impact us differently. not only is it easier for some to adapt to the dominant work lifestyle, but in the diversity of skills each of us are gifted with, only a select minority are rewarded (financially) while way too many others are discouraged. fuck what schools taught you about how whole “classes” of individuals ought to learn certain subjects at the same pace.
  3. life is not a goddamn competition.compete
    we’re not competing, rivals, enemies, or whatever, no matter what all that rat-race amerikan dream nonsense told you, and no matter whether you chalk its source to selectively interpreting evolution as “survival of the fittest” (and not, say, survival through interdependence), or the “might makes right” war mentality or the scarcity fears of economics that make us think infinite things (happiness, love, peace) are in low-supply and so you’re justified to step on others to get it. yeah, fuck that.

and that is how i reject those lies of capitalism, the ones that made me think “work” has to by synonymous with settling, with obligatory chores, with resigning to a reality where a majority of waking hours are spent doing something that is consistently uninspiring.

the ELK update hinted how i am pursuing life as an artist, now trying for it full-time, to write professionally (aka, get paid to write fiction).
this
 art form of self-expression, centered upon communicating a shared experience via written word & storytelling, does not feel like a job (rather, is enjoyable and challenging). nor do i think it is a coincidence, that empowering work like writing, also happens to nurture qualities of radical imagination, raw empathy, visionary politics & wild creativity.
none of these characteristics aid in upholding the status quo systems of oppression.

rather, the task for every artist, writer or not, should be to use our talents to undermine archaic beliefs and values through illustrating the potential for new, fantastic changes that offer ways to truly transform our communities for the better.

so the intent here, with this blog, is to continue.

  • continue connecting the power of art to inspire revolution (of wide social rebellions and intimate individual revelations).
  • continue using art to articulate the interests of those who are deliberately silence and oppressed within our society – humans, animals and ecosystems alike.
  • and to continue offering examples for others, like you, to realize your own courage within and the passions you have yet to fully awe us all with.

as always, you are encouraged to comment, share and bookmark this site.
please contact if you wish to connect, with ELK or myself personally.

thanks for reading ❤

archie.

I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.
I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me — the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics.
I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living.
That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.”

― Anaïs Nin

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4 thoughts on “how i stopped trying to “grow up & get a job”, and other lies capitalism told me

  1. Denise Nevin says:

    Deep thanks to you for living in this world awake and vulnerable and harnessing your gifts and courage into written art for the rest of us to deeply ponder. This struck me as raw, painful but also grounding and hopeful. Especially powerful is the idea that none of us have to defend our right to exist, take up space regardless of our doing. Untangling from the layers of conditioning can be lonely work. This was comforting.

    • elk says:

      thank you, Denise!
      really appreciate your thoughtful comment and feedback that this was helpful.
      it is lonely work indeed, but so nice to remember others are out there, like yourself ❤

  2. herbivorebooks says:

    Ah I need to bookmark this post and read it every morning when I wake up. I tear myself up all the time about not being a ‘functioning member of society’ because of a miriad of health problems that hold me back. I’m so glad I came across this today, thanks!

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