To People Who Ask What You Do For A Living (first letter)

We know work is bunk, but most of us are forced to bear it, sometimes to such an extent that we lose ourselves when we’re suddenly without it.  I’m no longer concerned about working. After 35 years of imposed employment I have enough experience to surmise its trajectory.  The whole of the environment has become impossibly toxic and destructive.  To put the problem in the simplest of terms, the interests of the capitalists have been put before life itself.  With the time we have left, they give and withhold just enough to maintain our exploitation, inaction and desperate competitiveness.  Behaviour in every aspect of our lives is now over-determined. My discontent with work has veered too far away from a negotiable space of necessity.  I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what a need of work stands for.
It might surprise skeptical people still at work, but culture was always a vital part of work’s viability. It revolved around dreams of cooperation, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by ourselves, our co-workers and employers. This culture was the balm that made work bearable.  It wasn’t just about making money; this alone can never sustain a society for long (as we are now witnessing everywhere). It had something to do with pride and belief in serving a mutually assured sense of dignity. I am sad (but also relieved) to look around and see virtually no trace of this culture.  I no longer retain the delusion that somehow, despite everything, I am making a required sacrifice.  There certainly aren’t any noble professions left.  I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look others in the eye and tell them that I worked.
When the history books are written about work (don’t hold your breath), they must note that the current oligarchs have abandoned the tenuous (and fabricated) culture I’ve been describing in open pursuit of profit by any means necessary.  This abandonment of pretence represents the final threat to our survival.  How did we get here?  Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for yourself (and are not a rapist-murderer who gets caught) you will be promoted to a position of influence. Today, many of these leaders display no cultural quotient whatsoever. I’ve attended many, many meetings where not a single moment is spent asking questions about how we can help anyone. It’s purely about how to make the most gains while protecting and advancing standing. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that the success or progress of our collective existence was not part of the thought process at all.  It isn’t.
The callous indifference of management still astounds me. If people don’t trust you they will eventually attempt to eliminate you and/or stop working with or for you. It doesn’t matter how devious you are, what hardships they will face without employment or in becoming what they despise — and now we treat everyone else in all aspects of our lives in the exact same way.  I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what work was, understanding contribution, getting to know employers and co-workers and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what I could do to help them get there.  Now I am ashamed of all this learning.  I’ve left it behind me.
There’s another world out here and it needs our help.
jeremy