I recently posted this on social media with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, but I also really meant it.
I recently took the 10 Day Miracle Challenge presented by Mitch Horowitz in his book, Secrets of Self-Mastery. I began with a basic request of the universe, god, infinite intelligence, whatever you want to call it. I came to the end of my challenge with no miracle in sight. However, day seven brought something I didn’t expect. Clarity. It’s not that my written desire was vague, but in hindsight, it also wasn’t clear enough. All I knew was that I needed something different. I needed to escape my current circumstances that are leaving me drained and depressed every day of the week, but I didn’t know what could take that place. So I took the time to really examine what I want from a place of employment, thus resulting in the post above. That Instagram post is therefore a direct result of the miracle challenge. I imagine it’s not exactly the way the author intended it, but it is action with clarity.
Some are fortunate enough to have jobs that pay well and push for something beyond a bottom line. I believe that our purpose in life is to be generative. We’re all consumers. I believe that it’s our responsibility as individuals to leave this world better than we left it. We have to be producers to a certain degree.
We’re told what we should want out of life. We do our work, collect our paycheck, and find contentment in our technology and entertainment. A pastor once told me that I was asking too much of a company I worked for. He said that I was okay with working for $12 an hour because I’d agreed to take the job (This was while I had a family of 5 in a 2 bedroom apartment). My acceptance was therefore, “approval.” We were told to accept that things are the way that they are because god destined it to be so; god’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours… to not accept that is rebellion, and therefore sin. I’ve also been told (on more occasions that I can count) that once we choose to accept that we don’t and wont know, those questions will not matter. Contentment was to be strived for. Yet I believe it’s discontentment that’s led to every invention and revolution in history. Discontentment drives creativity and innovation. I swear I had a point other than railing on American Christianity… The pastor… Capitalism… Right. Fortunately, I didn’t take his statement at face value, but I couldn’t put my finger on why this was an issue. This is a lie that’s preached so often that there is a huge temptation to believe it. In Christianity, your acceptance is required, and labeled “contentment.” When we fall outside of this, we covet and we’re in sin. It’s built into the fabric of its dogma. This is not an accident. Nor is it an accident that it’s been built into our economic system. In order for Capitalism to succeed, it needs the ability to exploit workers to create a lot for little to nothing in return. We’re then told that we’re to accept that and be content. By enforcing conformity and oppression under the guise of contentment, men, women, children, and other, can be exploited for the sake of the church’s company’s bottom line. Apple is a perfect example. They just set the record for the most money lost in a single day, and they’re still worth two trillion. This despite past allegations from the China Labor Watch of poor working conditions and wages, underage workers.
I’m not entirely against the idea of the Great American Dream. Finding a good job, “settling down,” investing in your 401(k) and retiring peacefully at the age of 62 isn’t the worst idea that’s been pitched to us. I think that a lot of us could be open to drinking the Company juice if we could get behind the message and goal of these individual groups or organizations. I believe the issue is that 40 hours a week spent doing something soul draining only to get by, is far more than any of us should be willing to accept. This is a form of exploitation in itself. The despair in serving a company that’s fine on paper, drags out far beyond the billable hours. When we allow our time to be sold to a cause that we couldn’t care less about, we end up drained, depressed, and unfulfilled. Should this be acceptable?
Maybe this is entitlement. I believe that my time is valuable and that I shouldn’t settle for less than I’m worth when it comes to employment. I believe that as humans, we are entitled to ask for what we’ve worked for, but I think we all can acknowledge the fallacy that hard work is always rewarded. More than demanding what I feel entitled to, I want to ask if this is something we should be content with. I’m all for the good job and a retirement plan, but is it too much to ask for the right one? I would love to be able to give my all for a company. I just want it to be for one that values me as an individual. I don’t believe that’s too much to ask.
It is my belief that we, specifically as westerners, have allowed so many generations to dictate what we should want as individuals, and we’ve turned it into the way life “should” be. Not only have we listened to how we’re supposed to act and think, we’ve crossed the line into propaganda when we allowed the Great American Dream to tell us how to feel. To put it bluntly, I’m fucking over it. I’m tired of accepting things the way they are. There is so much wrong in this world and we’re asked to accept that. Fuck that. I want something better.
The average life expectancy in the US is just under 79 years. Retirement is supposed to come at 62, though that line keeps getting longer and longer, and more retirees are returning to work for various reasons… are we supposed to wait for that date to live our lives?
I think that the message of “contentment” has been pushed as strongly (if not stronger) than Capitalism itself. This is how we’re subtly told to conform. Things can be a lot better, but in order for that to happen, we have to agree that the way we are operating now does not work. We need to deeply understand and know what we want from this world.
I know what I want out of life. Not because those wants came naturally, but because I took the time to analyze my own desires and decide what is worthy of my time on this earth. I also know that I don’t want to go through life as a drifter, conforming to a system that feeds off of the souls of others for its own gain. I’m ready to work for a greater purpose. This is the challenge that I hold to you. Are you willing to accept things the way they are? If not, what are you going to do about it?