Jack Saturday

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Anti-Job, Pro-Freedom Quotes Of The Week 86, 87, 88

A Poet's Vision of Hell

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Kathleen Jamie

It seems an odd way to structure a free society: Most people have little or no authority over what they do five days a week for 45 years. Doesn't sound much like "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Sounds like a nation of drones.

It used to be that one's compensation for being an American drone was the freedom to live in one's own house, in one's own quirky way, in a clean and safe community in which your children had the chance to be happier, richer drones than you. But working stiffs can't afford houses now, fewer communities are clean, none are safe, and your kid's prospects are worse.(This condition may be because for five days a week, for 45 years, you had no say - while other people have been making decisions that haven't been good for you.) I'm not sure whose happiness we've been pursuing lately, but one thing is clear: It's not the happiness of those who've done our society's
Michael Ventura

I found youth hostels packed with 25 to 35-year-olds –
all, like me, defectors from respectable jobs: lawyers,
public servants, environmental scientists. My
international comrades in arms. We didn’t know where
we were going, but we knew what we were escaping
from ... Since my return I’ve found that all my peers are
running off to careers as counsellors or New Age quacks
with crystal balls. There’s soul searching and aptitude
testing. We’re convinced that somewhere between the
school yard and the office building with the talking lift,
we’ve missed the correct turn-off ... Everyone I know
seems to be going part-time, casual and short-term, so
they can write the TV script, do the photography course,
finish their masters.

Why are we gambling with the weekly pay cheque? Why
are we opting for the insecurity that puts mortgages and
shopping malls beyond our reach? … It’s a personal
rebellion against the corporate ethic of 44-hour days
and box-ticking performance appraisals; against the
subtle, soul-destroying conditioning of the paranoid, air-
conditioned workplace. We’ve read the writing on the
wall …There’s no such thing as a job for life. So why not
put life first and let jobs and careers come and go?

Julie Szego
A Journey without Corporate Baggage:
How Generation X is
rebelling against the modern work ethic

NYT Quote Of The Day, July 31, 2006

"I have come to realize that my free time is worth a lot to me."
Alan Beggerow,
an unemployed steelworker, on why he has not found another job.

Alan Beggerow has not worked regularly in the five years since the steel mill that employed him for three decades closed. He and his wife, Cathleen, 47, cannot really afford to live without his paycheck. Yet with her sometimes reluctant blessing, Mr. Beggerow persists in constructing a way of life that he finds as satisfying as the work he did only in the last three years of his 30-year career at the mill. The trappings of this new life surround Mr. Beggerow in the cluttered living room of his one-story bungalow-style home in this half-rural, half-industrial prairie town west of Chicago. A bookcase covers an entire wall, and the books that Mr. Beggerow is reading are stacked on a glass coffee table in front of a comfortable sofa where he reads late into the night — consuming two or three books a week — many more than in his working years.

He also gets more sleep, regularly more than nine hours, a characteristic of men without work. As the months pass, they average almost nine-and-a-half hours a night, about 80 minutes more than working men, according to an analysis of time-use surveys by Harley Frazis and Jay Stewart, economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Very few of the books Mr. Beggerow reads are novels, and certainly not the escapist Westerns that he himself writes (two in the last five years), his hope being that someday he will interest a publisher and earn some money. His own catholic tastes range over history — currently the Bolshevik revolution and a biography of Charlemagne — as well as music and the origins of

He often has strong views about what he has just read, which he expresses in reviews that he posts on Amazon.com: 124 so far, he said. Always on the coffee table is a thick reference work, “Guide to the Pianist’s Repertoire” by Maurice Hinson. Mr. Beggerow is a serious pianist now that he has the time to practice, sometimes two or three hours at a stretch. He does so on an old upright in a corner of the living room, a piano he purchased as a young steelworker, when he first took lessons.
Men Not Working, And Not Wanting Just Any Job
July 31, 2006


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