How eating shit can lead you to better work.
I’ve read so much business advice trash on the Internet my brain is a cesspool of junk ideas, bad advice, and temptations to sign up for yet another scammy course. Courses that tease doing work I love while making money in my sleep.
All the money I’ve pumped into these useless online courses (14 total over the last decade) is enough to buy a fleet of Rolls Royces and a toupee franchise, if such a thing exists. I could also buy a shiny new ballsack that doesn’t sag to my knees. Life would be so much easier.
All these courses pretend to solve a problem most humans have: stuck in a miserable job and lifestyle, doing work that drains the soul, not making enough money to luxuriate, not having enough free time to do “fun” stuff.
They prey on our desire to live a more leisurely lifestyle filled with hot sex, luxury level comfort, and a fat bank account. All the things most modern humans crave.
They’re selling the dream work lifestyle. Be your own boss. Make lots of money. Do work you love. Sounds nice, but it doesn’t exist.
A life that isn’t filled with problems is hardly a life worth living. But our stupid brains seek comfort, certainty, and excitement. So marketing a course as a solution to our misery is an easy sell. Where misery is not having something only the lucky few can attain.
Because most people hate their job. Most people would love to make more money. Most people hate being under the thumb of a boss. Most people want more free time to do things they actually care about.
Again, this life only exists for those who back into money or get lucky. The rest of us might as well get used to fighting it out in the streets for the leftovers.
Of course, most people think work should be fulfilling. If they’re not blasting out of bed at 5am excited to do whatever stupid thing they’re about to do then something is seriously wrong.
Treat Work Like A Hooker And You’ll Go Far
Our jobs are not meant to be the thing that fills us up with meaning. They’re meant to be an exchange of time for money. Someone is willing to pay you to do a job that in turn makes them money. Usually more money than they’re paying you.
It took me a long time to figure this out. I expected my job, the work they paid me to do, to be the thing that gave my life meaning. All the things I did outside of work were time killers waiting for the workplace doors to be unlocked so I could do more work.
It’s the reason we invented the terms “essential workers” and “front line heroes” and “first responders.” To pump these jobs up as more than just a job, they’re a duty. Somehow having the “honor” to serve a bunch of shitty assholes is more appealing than being one of the shitty assholes.
Of course we all know better. Glorifying these positions as contributions to the greater good is just a ploy to get people in the door. Because these jobs certainly don’t pay shit.
We see this play out in TV and movies all the time. The fireman whose passion for her job destroys her marriage. The hot shot attorney that goes way out of her way to be the noble hero fighting for justice, and destroys her marriage. The gung ho cop who defies authority to work on the case, and destroys his marriage.
They all can’t help but wear their passion for their job on their sleeve 1, while brooding in depression of ruined relationships. Because their passion is such a curse.
It makes for a mediocre formula for entertainment, but hardly plays out in the real world. You think that teacher making minimum wage battling someone else’s shitty kids gives one fuck about that kid when he’s not in the classroom? Fuck no. “Fuck that kid,” she probably says when he leaves her class.
Your job is a utility, nothing more. It’s not supposed to be the thing that gives your life meaning. It’s the thing that allows you to pursue meaning.
In other words, your dream job doesn’t exist. A job is a component of an infrastructure built to fill the pockets of a handful at the top. It’s a pyramid scheme that isn’t quite a zero sum game. But we could probably do some math to prove it is.
Looking to a job to provide us the meaning we seek is like looking to a hooker to love us. If you treat your job more like a hooker, as simply a transaction, then you can begin to put more energy towards other endeavors that may actually pay off in the meaning department.
Figure Out What Flavor of Shit You Prefer
The thing is, it’s impossible to know for sure what your dreams actually are until you’re living them. It’s like that threesome you fantasize about; it’s amazing until you’re the one in the corner jacking off alone. Some dreams are better left in the dreamworld.
I like Mark Manson’s idea of focusing on what kind of shit sandwich you want to eat. Because most of life is eating shit. Work especially is one turd after another. Like a fecal hotdog eating contest.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how happy you are doing it. Work is fucking work. Most of it is going to suck ass.
Since we can’t be certain what work is going to make us happy, it’s better to move away from painful, agonizing work instead of towards work we think will give us the meaning we crave.
How many times have you said to yourself, “if only I could make a living doing that thing I love to do, I’d be happy?” If only you were living a different life. If only you were doing something or someone else. Might as well dangling your balls over a meat grinder and hope for the best.
Whatever you think the answer is, it comes with its own set of shit shoveling. Figuring out what kind of shit we might have to shovel then adjusting our expectations is a better strategy. Because if it’s runny diarrhea, a hose might be a better tool.
Am I making any goddamn sense?
Because you don’t know until you know. Like that sexual fantasy you keep tucked in the back of your head, when it comes in contact with reality, it ceases to be fantasy. It becomes something else. Most likely a mediocre, forgettable memory.
Avoiding Pain Is Almost Always Better Than Seeking Pleasure
We spend too much time working towards some ideal lifestyle. We’re sold this lie by dipshits who either want to sell us something to get there or work us into the ground chasing their’s. They prey on our ambition to be more than what we are.
My ideal work-lifestyle at this moment is doing anything other than working a job. Anything that makes me a decent living and has the fastest startup time. Anything that allows me to do my own thing.
Anything is a precarious undertaking.
It’s a fantasy at this point. I have to wonder if it’s better left in that realm. I should just suck it up and keep eating the shit being shoveled in my mouth. At least I know what it tastes like.
I wish I could forget everything I’ve crammed in my head over the years when it comes to business. I wish I could turn off my risk aversion, or at least turn it way down for a bit. I wish this was easy.
I wish is a close relative of if only.
Work (and life), by design, isn’t meant to be easy. In fact, it’s designed to be shitty most of the time. It’s why we need an incentive to do it (ie money).
Maybe if we get to the point where continuing to eat someone else’s shit is unbearable, we can make a shift. But not towards some idealized work and lifestyle, away from the thing we find untenable.
1 All TV, and really all movies, can be categorized into these buckets: cop drama, hospital drama, lawyer drama, or reality. Look close at your favorite shows to see which bucket it falls in. I guarantee you can put it in one of these if you’re being honest.