Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shitty jobs

It seems like every job in America is just getting worse and worse no matter who you are. I listened to this Radiolab podcast on working inside an Internet shipping warehouse:

 Even Apple employees aren't immune:

This Designer's Blog Post Makes Apple Sound Like an Awful Place to Work (Slate)

I love some of the comments:
GOP_Refugee: Empowered by positioning on an org chart, some seem to think they can treat others in a way that they never would in any other setting.  It never ceases to amaze me how people treat one another at work.

Pete R: That's true, but as a contractor (which I've done before), you just have to realize that you're not on the org chart.

GOP_Refugee: True but his experience is not that far off from what many full-time permanent employees experience.  The corporate culture at many American companies fosters psychopaths.

T3k: Success favors a certain kind of sociopath...The culture projected by Apple is a bunch of activated superdudes working in a Kubrick-style thought commune to save the world with whatever comes after the computer-phone. Sitting in egg chairs, openly smoking dope, letting the janitor bring an idea to the room.

But large companies tend to always be the same. Heirarchy, profit-centric decision making, petty tyrants, jammed printers, big paychecks, 24-hour-a-day work, and horrible soul-shattering meetings - this is what American business is made out of.
And as for the largest employer in America, well, things aren't too pleasant for the workers or for the customers:

A Walmart Worker Explains Why Walmart's Customer Service Is Horrible (Gawker)

Surely entrepreneurs, the heroes of our society, have it made:
Evernote chief executive Phil Libin:
The boss of note-writing mobile phone app and website Evernote, Mr Libin cautions that being a successful entrepreneur requires rather a lot of commitment.He says: "It is amazingly difficult work - you have no life balance, no family time, and you will never work harder in your life. It really can be brutal."

Mr Libin, whose company is based in Silicon Valley, California, also warns that most start-up business do not make their founders rich."If your motivation is to make money and have power, then you will be a very unhappy as an entrepreneur," says the 42-year-old. "But if your motivation is to make the world a better place, you can be a happy entrepreneur, a person who strives to achieve something."

Shazia Saleem:
Still just 29, Ms Saleem, of Luton, is already a veteran entrepreneur. Her previous business ventures have included redeveloping a rundown holiday resort in Cambodia, and she is about to launch a UK halal food brand called Ieat Foods.

She says business owners have to guard against loneliness.

"Everyone tells you it's lonely as an entrepreneur - it's a bit of an understatement," she says. "Many times the only person you can turn to for inspiration or comfort is the person staring back at you [often blankly] in the mirror. Carry your ego with you and it's a pretty lonesome journey. Ditch it, and you invite [from the right people, of course] support, company and experiences that make the journey much more worthwhile."

Box founder and chief executive Aaron Levie:
The chief executive of global cloud storage business Box, Mr Levie says starting your own business involves having to put up with tremendous hardships. This is something the 28-year-old has first-hand experience of, as after launching Box back in 2005 he spent the first two and a half years of the business sleeping on a mattress at its office in Silicon Valley, California.

And he lived off tins of spaghetti hoops in tomato sauce, and instant noodles.

"Starting up a new company requires an incredible level of commitment and determination over a very long period of time," says Mr Levie, who is now worth an estimated $100m. You pretty much have to clear your calendar for the next 10 years, and be focused on just one thing - your business. This leaves very little time for anything else - all you will be doing is working. This can be painful, so if you don't deeply enjoy what you are doing, then it really isn't worth doing it."
Is being an entrepreneur a nightmare? (BBC)

I recall that report from last year that said 70 percent of people hate their jobs and have basically checked out. It seems like everyone is demoralized and just going through the motions at this point. Is there anyone that cares about preserving this system anymore? Maybe 10-25 percent of people. Then why do people still support the status quo? How do things still go on?


  1. "Then why do people still support the status quo? How do things still go on?"

    Cuz the devil you know is always better than the devil you don't know. In most people's cynical opinions. After the worst scum always highjacking "the revolution" how can one blame them?

  2. Good point. But how bad does the devil you know have to get before *any* alternative is worth trying for people? That's the 64,000 dollar question.


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