Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The End of Employment

by Skald

A great quote from a great essay by Paul Graham:

I think the big obstacle preventing us from seeing the future of business is the assumption that people working for you have to be employees. But think about what's going on underneath: the company has some money, and they pay it to the employee in the hope that he'll make something worth more than they paid him. Well, there are other ways to arrange that relationship. Instead of paying the guy money as a salary, why not give it to him as investment? Then instead of coming to your office to work on your projects, he can work wherever he wants on projects of his own.

Because few of us know any alternative, we have no idea how much better we could do than the traditional employer-employee relationship. Such customs evolve with glacial slowness. Our employer-employee relationship still retains a big chunk of master-servant DNA.

I dislike being on either end of it. I'll work my ass off for a customer, but I resent being told what to do by a boss. And being a boss is also horribly frustrating; half the time it's easier just to do stuff yourself than to get someone else to do it for you. I'd rather do almost anything than give or receive a performance review.

My thoughts exactly. Ive been a peon wage slave many many times. Ive also been a "manager" and a "director". They both suck (though being a peon sucks more for sure).

And the reason is dead obvious to any but the most brainwashed Republican corporate drone: "Our employer-employee relationship still retains a big chunk of master-servant DNA".

A fucking HUGE chunk, in fact. The boss-employee relationship is one of part-time slavery and nothing more. The interesting thing is that while "workers" have instinctively known this forever... some forward thinking business types are finally realizing it too.

They are finally cluing in that resentful slaves are not very "productive". And slave organizations are incredibly wasteful.

The bulk of Graham's essay is a discussion of blogging and open source. He correctly points out that amateur bloggers, working passionately, for their own joy, for free, are kicking the shit out of large "professional" publications.

He's dead on. Ill use my own field, teaching English, as an example. The "professional" publications in my field are dry, boring and utterly useless. They look slick. But they are lifeless. Ive never read one and gotten a good idea.. much less an earth-shattering one.

But Ive now collected a set of amazingly interesting blogs dedicated to my field. They are routinely filled with provocative and stimulating ideas. Ive revamped my entire approach after reading some of these blogs... and this has happened several times in the space of one semester.

Stylistically they are also superior. The writing is lively, clear, and concise. No longwinded academic bullshit.. and no use of the accursed passive voice.

And so we see that people who own their work, who are free and autonomous, who can indulge their enthusiasms however they choose... are also far more innovative and "productive".

This is no surprise to me... but its nice to see a few folks in the business world finally catching on.

1 comment:

Plark said...


I concur Hobopoet.