Bartlett had a secretary, staff, an important-sounding job and the paycheck to go with it. But, like many workers, he found himself underemployed and bored out of his mind.--from The Washington Post
"There is a reason why prison is considered punishment," Bartlett said, comparing it to his former job. "You may be in a gilded cage, but if you're just forced to sit there for eight hours all day long, staring at the wall, it can be excruciating."
That's an excerpt from a Washinton Post article that David Smallwood sent me. As I read it, I had sudden flashbacks to IBM and several other office jobs Ive had. Of course, the Washington Post put a pro-work spin on the article... stating that "overwook is less stressful than boredom". Thats hardly the take home message Ive gotten from most jobs.
Most jobs, whether they require a lot of work or hardly any-- are monotonous, degrading, freedom robbing, ethics bending, exercises in humiliation. That goes as much for an executive position at GE as it does for a minimum wage job at Wal Mart.
We all know this. Even my Dad... a lifelong corporate executive... now admits that most of the work is pointless, boring, and meaningless. This is NOT just a phenomenon experienced by anarchist hobopoets.
What makes hobopoets different is that we don't surrender to the situation. We dont consider it "normal" or "realistic". We dont say things like, "well, life is work".... or "that's what being an adult is all about". We dont consider our highest aspiration to be "cover your ass"... or "bring home the bacon".
In my experience, most people are as bored and angry with their jobs as the average hobopoet. But most people bow their head and surrender. Most get trapped by huge commitments such as a mortgage, expensive crap, a spouse, and a family. Most are very very concerned what other people will think of them. Most are trapped by ideas of respectability and responsibility (to others, not themselves).
What makes hobopoets different is not their discontent with wage slavery... its the actions they take to live freer and more autonomous lives.... its the fact that they take responsibility for themselves, their lives, and their own happiness first and foremost.
That is what defines us and separates us from the smiling but quietly desparate.