Divine Inspiration (That’s Ten Years Late)

Here’s some bullshit …

Unoriginal bastards at the management or executive level.

You know exactly what I’m talking about; you’re down there, in cubicle hell, doing your thing and trying desperately to keep your head above water with the horseshit projects that come your way. And just then, when it comes time for management to review your work or offer input or even launch some bullshit new initiative, they reveal an “incredible” piece of “inspiration” that they’ve had (which conveniently winds up fucking all the work you had already done on something or all the work that was already planned for the rest of the year).

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And where did this incredible light bulb moment come from? Did your fearless leader suddenly recall some arcane piece of information from their many years of experience and advanced education? Did the combination of responsibilities and coffee result in some groundbreaking revelation? Were the stars aligned just right such that your manager or vice president of blahblahblah or associate director of happy fuck-all came up with an incredibly refreshing and revolutionary idea that would radically reshape the organization and possibly bring about world peace???

Nooooooo. Of course none of that fucking shit happened. These people don’t have a single goddamned idea of their own. They’ve never had a new or different thought in the history of human existence. Not one.

Instead, what you wind up with is some self-appointed and overpaid asshat constantly moving the goalposts because they don’t know anything or have any principles/concepts/ideas that they came to all by themselves. Instead, they just regurgitate whatever bullshit podcast or book they recently encountered when they finally had seven minutes not being spent in another useless meeting of bloviating fuckwits.

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And what happens as a result of this “incredible” discovery? You get bent over sideways and have your work thrown down the fucking garbage disposal, requiring more time and effort and ulcer-inducing horseshit that is absolutely unnecessary and completely above your fucking pay grade.

Then, like a fucking squirrel with ADHD, they’re off chasing the next thing three days later even after you’ve busted your dick doing all the work they dropped on you with their first bullshit “discovery.”

That’s right – whatever teabagging horsecrap they found and completely fucked your workweek with will be shortly forgotten or ignored or glossed over in favor of the next banal podcast they stumbled across while flying first class on the company dime, or whatever fucking New York Times bestseller from 8 years ago that they finally got around to reading the Cliff’s Notes of (because of course they wouldn’t have the goddamn attention span or vocabulary to actually read the whole fucking thing).

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Jeezus Kreist on a crotch rocket. You’re down in the trenches, having spent tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to get training on a specific set of skills (and a general set of knowledge), busting your boobs day in and day out to utilize those skills (for a bi-weekly paycheck that is wholly insufficient), and here comes some asshole—who was in the right place at the right time and knew the right people—to regurgitate some happy batch of horseshit (which they fell into accidentally after it was already well out of the zeitgeist), and completely fuck up your day/week/month/year.

Is there really any point to this? Is there really a good reason—other than a half-ass paycheck—for “worker bees” to put up with this kind of pseudo-brilliant executive horseshit?

The short answer is “no.” No, there’s no point; there’s no good reason. There’s nothing at all to keep you from lighting your cubicle on fire and flipping everyone the bird while walking out of the building like Denzel Washington walking away from a badass explosion in an action flick.

This is just the system. This is what we’re dealt, and this is what we get stuck dealing with. How in the fuck do these yutzes wind up in charge, ruining your day and your blood pressure and your stomach lining, while pretending that they have some great and incredible base of knowledge that maybe someday you too can aspire to?

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They get there because everything is fucked. The veneration of corporations, the completely unfounded respect and admiration that people have for “startups” and “disruptors” (fucking hell, don’t get me started with that bullshit), the belief that somehow “business” (which is always corrupt and led by assholes and totally inefficient and ineffective) is the answer, the Peter Principle … You name it, all of these craptacular concepts and practices and real-world circumstances are the reason that quasi-dumbasses wind up in charge and ruin the bulk of your working life.

And that, right there, is some hardcore bullshit.

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What You’re Worth – Paycheck Edition

Oh man, here’s some bullshit …

“Commensurate with experience.”

Do you know how many job listings I’ve seen with that phrase used in them? “Pay will be commensurate with experience.”

Now, what that’s supposed to mean is, if you’ve done most of the shit we listed above in this ridiculous job listing before, and you’ve done a whole lot of it, you gon’ get paid.

Fuck outta here with that garbage.

Do you know how many jobs I have had where I actually got paid an amount based on the experience and skills I brought to the position from every other godforsaken job I’d had?

Zero. Zilch. Not one single fucking job, ever.

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“Oh, but maybe you’re not actually worth what you think you should get paid. I mean, that’s possible, right?”

No. It’s not. Fuck you. In fact, like most people working a job at the moment, I have a tendency to UNDERestimate what I should be getting paid for a certain position by a certain organization.

How do you find that out? You perform one of the most depressing Google searches in the history of humankind.

“Average [job title] salary in [city].”

Hooooo boy – you better have a cheap bottle of liquor and a pack of cigarettes sitting on the desk next to you when you start paging through the results of that fuckin’ search.

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Here’s why: when you get those search results, you see numbers that you aren’t getting paid. But then you think, “hey, where did these assholes come up with these numbers anyway?”

And do you know where they got those numbers? FROM ACTUAL PEOPLE IN YOUR TOWN ACTUALLY MAKING THAT MONEY TO DO THE ACTUAL FUCKING JOB THAT YOU ARE DOING.

Now, what does that mean? Well, it means that somewhere out there, not far from where you are probably sitting right now, someone read a job listing that said “pay commensurate with experience,” and they applied for it, and they got it, and then they GOT PAID AN AMOUNT OF MONEY COMMENSURATE WITH ALL THE BULLSHIT THEY HAD ALREADY DONE AND ALL THE CRAP THEY HAD TO LEARN TO DO IT.

And you? You also read a job posting that said “pay commensurate with experience,” but that job listing (and the moron who wrote it) was full of shit, and now you have that job that you needed all that experience for, but you get paid a biweekly bag of dicks.

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As an added bonus, you probably have ideas or thoughts or feedback or even just a pulse, and none of that is taken into account or listened to or appreciated in any way.

This is what is referred to as “adding insult to injury.”

“Hey, Jerry, thanks for taking on all these menial tasks and bullshit duties in addition to your regular job stamping out widget labels for twelve hours a day. Your input is very valuable to us, just please don’t ever express an idea or opinion ever again because it’s pointless. Also, here’s your $7 and a meatball sub, which will now be your standard, biweekly salary.”

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I genuinely don’t know where some of these fucking employers come up with these bullshit numbers, man. They all live in the same town you live in, right? So they know how much fucking money it costs, right? And yet they think it’s totally cool to ask you, one of the only assholes who actually does any actual work (not just attending meetings and eating catered meals paid for out of some magic executive budget fund), to live and commute and eat food and have a life on the equivalent of $11 in pennies and an old container of French’s mustard?

And just what in the happy fuck do all of those executive positions consider as “experience” when they’re hiring these six-figure muthafuckers?

“Have you attended 92 hours of meetings weekly, on a regular basis, and resisted the overwhelming urge to light your office on fire just before taking your own life?? Then you may be the perfect candidate for this new position with Fuckwit LLC! Pay will be commensurate with your experience staying awake through atrocious Powerpoint presentations and then acting like you have something to contribute while pawning off all of the actual work (which you damn sure don’t know how to do) on some underpaid cock knocker who will be hunched and broken under crippling student loan and credit card debt for the rest of their lives.”

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But it’s all good, because maybe if you “go above and beyond” and “demonstrate value” and “really work to make yourself invaluable” you can get a 2.1% raise each year and still wind up living in the back of a an old chemical warehouse while eating ramen for a decade and slowly turning your intestines into jerky.

Fuck outta here with that bullshit, too.

The One Career Path That Will Drive You to Drink

Here’s some bullshit …

Marketing.

Is there a more pointless field on the planet? Is there anything more vapid—and simultaneously intrusive—in the world?

First, let’s begin with marketing itself – the endless stream of empty, meaningless drivel foisted upon the public day in, day out, through every means available. All designed for one soulless purposes – to get you to buy services or products that you don’t need.

I’ll give an example. No one “needs” OpenTable.com. Absolutely no one. You’ve got Google on your fucking phone, look up the number for the restaurant and give ’em a shout.

But the “disruptors” (dear fuckin’ monkey lovin’, we’ll get to my vitriolic hatred of that term in just a bit) in the interweb industry thought it would be nifty if they inserted themselves into the middle of a system that already worked perfectly, and then charged someone somewhere (presumably the businesses/restaurants) a fee for their “innovative” (barf) service.

This would be akin to you stepping in between a commuter and the ticket kiosk at the train station, offering to purchase their ticket for them, and then “delivering” it to them. All for a small “convenience fee.”

If someone walked up to you at the train station and offered you that “innovative” service, would you be more likely to take them up on the offer OR would you swiftly kick them in the genitals and go on about your day? (Honest answers only, please.)

But thanks to marketing, OpenTable.com (or some other, similar service) is seen by many as a “revelation.”

Give me a fucking break.

What marketing really does—apart from the aforementioned selling people shit they don’t need—is to co-opt and abuse other fields in order to manipulate the bovine masses into thinking that they couldn’t possibly live another day without Ron Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman or a SlapChop.

content+marketing+memesWhat fields? Well, everything creative and several non-creative fields, really. No one goes into a community college or a bachelor’s degree program in graphic design hoping that one day, some day, they might be able to design throwaway web banners for a fly-by-night boner pill company.

Similarly, no English major who spends their days discussing heady literary texts and topics is doing all that while aspiring to write fucking subject lines for the daily barrage of bullshit emails that some deal aggregator website sends out. No statistics major muddles through their homework each night knowing that, if they just keep their nose to the grindstone, maybe someday they too can spend hours upon hours creating Powerpoint presentations about the “engagement” (more barf) and “effectiveness” of those nifty subject lines.

But every one of those soon-to-be worker bees is essential to the marketing machine. They’re needed to provide an endless stream of hollow, meaningless shit in the form of “content,” and then measuring the effectiveness of that content at feeding some corporate machinery that is never satisfied with “enough” (another blog topic coming eventually).

Marketing is where creativity and expression go to die. It is where individuality is shunned, because everything must be in the service of getting more yutzes to send their money your employer’s way.

You may get a job in marketing and be told throughout the hiring process (and throughout your employment) that your contributions are essential, and your creativity is a real asset to the team. And then, six minutes later, your inspired idea will be shit upon by some fucking MBA who thinks they understand “the market” and “the audience” but really can’t even comprehend basic concepts like, oh I don’t know, not writing a fucking novel in a banner ad or not filling an entire page with shit to the point where no one even knows what the hell you’re selling.

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Do products sell themselves? No, not really. You will always need some form of creative group or marketing team to create labels and packages and web banners and logos and shit. But let’s not pretend that anyone in marketing is out here “connecting people with the perfect product at the perfect price” or “helping to make people’s lives a little bit easier.” And let’s not fool ourselves into thinking there’s any particular brilliance at play in all of this shameless plugging and selling.

Which brings us to our next bullshit topic …

Marketing gurus.

Choose the lineup from pretty much any conference on sales or marketing and you’ll likely see a crowded field of fuckwits who consider themselves “experts” on “engagement” (quadruple barf) or some other horseshit. These are the same folks who are filling the internet with articles and seminars and LinkedIn webinars and all other manner of bullshit like “The Five Ways You are Fucking Up at Content Marketing” and “Seven Reasons Why Your Subject Lines Make Customers Barf on Their Shoes.”

Just go fuck yourselves with that crap, alright?

These are the same people who gave us the idea that those fuckos at Uber and Air BnB were “disruptive.” tuz0io

Give me yet another fucking break.

They didn’t disrupt shit. One of them is basically a glorified hitchhiking system, and the other is just a worldwide network of crash pads that you could have probably set up yourself if you had been a friendlier person in college.

But wait – in come the marketing gurus to tell the world (through paid content and bullshit clickbait articles) about how these companies (or companies like them) are “changing the game” and “disrupting the status quo” and “innovating the way people engage with services” or some pile of garbage like that.

You know the qualifications for being a marketing guru? You have to have an ego the size of a ’74 Cadillac Fleetwood, and you have to be a salesperson. But not just any salesperson – you have to be a failed salesperson; one that couldn’t move actual products or services, so you turned to selling yourself and your “expertise” (most of which was gleaned from attending other people’s seminars, I’m sure).

These are also the same dipshits that have beaten the words “content” and “engagement” to a bloody pulp. They have essentially stripped those words of their meaning and turned them into hollow marketing jargon – the kind of shit you overuse in a cover letter or resume when you’re applying for a job, for example.

6Content used to be worth something, you know? It used to be the stuff in between the ads and the commercials – it was what you were actually tuning in to see. Now, everything is the ad.

Again, blame marketing.

It wasn’t enough to take 12-14 minutes of every broadcast. It wasn’t enough to find every vacant pixel on a webpage and fill it with ads. It wasn’t enough to turn your favorite magazine into 200 pages of crap intermingled with maybe three actual pieces of interesting information.

No, they (the marketing people) came for it all. From product placements to blatant in-show advertising, from single-page print ads to chapter-long advertorials, marketing is here for just one reason – to sell you shit you don’t want and don’t need, all to enrich someone else at your expense.

Maybe Bill Hicks had it right all along.

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Work as a Virtue

Here’s some bullshit …

Work (or being busy) as some kind of virtue and/or requirement.

The notion that you should, for no reason at all, show up to a place and bust your ass (in spite of all the advancements we have made) is beyond nonsensical.

We already tamed the west; you’re not out there tending the fields in the vain hope of surviving the fucking dust bowl, skippy. You’re sitting in a goddamned cubicle tabbing back and forth between sheets in an Excel file, checking for errors in someone else’s math. On a computer. In an air-conditioned office space. With free coffee. You’re damn sure not wandering the prairie with a Daniel Boone musket hoping to fell a buffalo and feed the fucking village.

And yet, every place you have ever worked has had a person (usually a CEO or some sales manager or some similar crapola position) who is still espousing the nose-to-the-grindstone, be-on-call-at-all-hours, work-is-life-who-needs-balance bullshit that should’ve gone out of fashion with the advent of the modern fucking computer.

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What a bunch of horseshit. I have literally, just a few weeks ago, had someone give me this kind of stinking, festering pile of nonsense in a meeting. “Whatever is going on outside this building, when we get in here we need people who will get down to work; people who GOTTA win.”

Fuck outta here with that. This is a paycheck. I could just as easily start knocking over liquor stores to get money, too. It’s not like selling your nonsense product or service (usually just starting a company that stands in between two other entities and “brokers the deal” for a “small fee”) actually matters in the grand scheme of things. In fact, there are probably 30-40 other companies/people doing that shit already, and the almighty “market” will be fine without you cracking a fucking whip on everyone in the building and costing them their health and sanity.

“We work hard, and we play hard” is another tired-ass batch of bullshit, by the way. What the fuck is the point of all the technology we have, and all the advancements we’ve made, and all the perspective we’re supposed to have thanks to institutional memory and experience, if we’re not going to use that to make things EASIER? That’s kind of the whole goddamn point, dipshit. For example, if you send out a holiday email every year to your clients, why in the sweet taint tickle would you need people to drop everything and create one the week before the office closes? You know good and goddamn well that you can just pull that shit out of the vault, make sure it still makes sense, and schedule it four months before the fucking holiday.

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In the same way, a company or a set of leaders could sit down and map out 90% of the following year’s plan based on the most basic of editorial calendars.

“Hey, Bill – we sell textbooks to students. Do you happen to know if there is a good time of year to be advertising in order to take advantage of student demand for textbooks?”

“I don’t know, fuckstick – maybe the beginning of August when literally EVERY FUCKING SCHOOL YEAR STARTS?!?!”

It’s staggering the number of simpletons that wind up in charge of a department or company or organization when they can’t see further than three feet in front of their faces.

Like, how do these people take a vacation? You know you have to book that shit in advance, right? Well, that sort of thing is called PLANNING!!!

Nobody just walks up to the fucking cruise ship with a bag in hand and goes “I’d like two tickets, please.”

But too often, these same people that can’t plan a birthday brunch to save their lives are the ones who tell you that “things come up” and you have to just “bear down and show everyone what a dedicated and talented employee you are.”

Fuck that. Talented and dedicated employees are usually the ones who are smart enough to see a better way. Then, at least early in their tenure, they offer that better way as a suggestion. Then they very quickly get shit on and/or ignored for even suggesting that there might be a better way, and then they retreat to their cubicle, never to offer a fucking suggestion ever again.

Drew Magary knows this all too well:

“By the way, if you ever get a desk job, you will be encouraged to think of your own ideas for making Goober Inc. a more powerful global company. So you will do that. You’ll think of something, and then proudly bring it to your boss, and your boss will say, “Yeah no, we can’t do that. And we thought of that already.” And then you will never think of another idea ever again.”

Similarly, the whole point of having recurring tasks or producing similar products is to make them better.

“Hey, what worked last time? Why don’t we just do that again?”

“Shut up, Daryll, and follow this incredibly convoluted and pointless plan that I have come up with! It’s almost guaranteed to fail spectacularly, which I will blame on everyone’s ‘lack of dedication,’ thereby allowing me to book everyone into an all-day seminar from which we will learn nothing.”

Here’s another kicker for you – even if you prefer to be overly busy, the majority of jobs today are “make-work” positions, existing solely to satisfy the notion that work is the great salvation – busy-ness as godliness, or some other such horsecrap.

“‘Society seems to be in denial over this, to a large extent,’ Dean says. ‘So, we see the persistent belief that we can achieve ‘full employment.’ Rifkin showed empirically that this is nonsense, unless we create a lot of make-work, i.e., work for the sake of working. And that’s what, as a society, we seem to be doing. Everywhere you look there are stupid, pointless (and probably environmentally destructive) jobs.'”

Take a moment to think about most of the people in your office (if you work in an office). Now, what is it that they actually DO? Could you identify it? Could you even describe it to someone else with any level of detail? Or, if you tried, would it sound every bit as ridiculous as it probably is?

“Oh, Sherri is the associate director of employee relations communications.”

“Okay, so … what does she do?”

“Well, she takes the information from the director of employee relations communications and provides that information to the internal communications specialists for inclusion in the weekly employee newsletter.”

“Is that not just a job that could be accomplished with a forwarded email?”

*blank stare into the void

This guy gets it also:

“Once, when contemplating the apparently endless growth of administrative responsibilities in British academic departments, I came up with one possible vision of hell. Hell is a collection of individuals who are spending the bulk of their time working on a task they don’t like and are not especially good at. Say they were hired because they were excellent cabinet-makers, and then discover they are expected to spend a great deal of their time frying fish. Neither does the task really need to be done – at least, there’s only a very limited number of fish that need to be fried. Yet somehow, they all become so obsessed with resentment at the thought that some of their co-workers might be spending more time making cabinets, and not doing their fair share of the fish-frying responsibilities, that before long there’s endless piles of useless badly cooked fish piling up all over the workshop and it’s all that anyone really does.

I think this is actually a pretty accurate description of the moral dynamics of our own economy.”

In conclusion, we need to get the fuck over this quasi-protestant work ethic bullshit; life is supposed to be getting easier, and there’s positively no point in inventing jobs and tasks and projects for people. Find the easiest path to get shit done and then let us go do the things we actually enjoy – boating or video gaming or drinking or watching Netflix for 11 hours straight. Literally anything other than sitting in that fucking cubicle waiting for another meeting where nothing gets accomplished on a task that shouldn’t even exist in the first place.

Update, 09/28/17 – I was looking for this particular article, and now that I’ve found it I feel it’s important to add here.

“It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is exactly what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as they had to (this is why in Soviet department stores it took three clerks to sell a piece of meat). But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.”

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