Slacker Jobs

November 2008

In a country once proud of its success-driven "salarymen," managers are grappling with a new phenomenon: Many young workers are shunning choice promotions -- even forgoing raises -- in favor of humdrum jobs with minimal responsibilities.

Slacker Nation? Young Japanese Shun Promotions

Some of the happiest people I know have dropped out only a short distance. They still live in the city and have jobs and pay rent, but they've done something more mentally difficult -- and mentally liberating -- than moving to some isolated farm. They have become permanently content with no-responsibility slack jobs, low-status, modest-paying, easy jobs that they don't have to think about at home or even half the time when they're at work. Yes, these jobs are getting scarce, but they're still a thousand times more plentiful than the kind of job that miserable people cannot give up longing for -- where you make a living doing something so personally meaningful that you would do it for free.

"Do what you love and the money will follow" is an irresponsible lie, a denial of the deep opposition between money and love. The real rule is: "If you're doing what you love, you won't care if you never make a cent from it, because that's what love means -- but you still need money!" So what I recommend, as the second element of dropping out, is coldly severing your love from your income. One part of your life is to make only as much money as you need with as little stress as possible, and a separate part, the important part, is to do just exactly what you love with zero pressure to make money.

— Ran Prieur in How to Drop Out

KT commented:

Nice. Oh, how I do love things that are more mentally difficult!

On the other hand: shit. This is one of the things that concerns me about my plan to be a counsellor - i.e. that in tying one of my greatest loves in life to my need to earn a living, I'll kill it.

On the third hand (for I have several), there is a certain appeal in that very challenge, of maintaining my love under such adverse conditions. Because it's more mentally difficult :) Possibly not healthy in the long-run though. Hm, perhaps I shall post about this.

Nato commented:

I have to say, my experiences working in a community support organisation conflict with the message of this post. I believe you can be 'coldy severing your love from your income' while still earning. If you went out of your way to not earn money to do the thing you love, isn't that really another type of selling out? Because you're letting yourself be affected by money anyway, and trying to prove that you don't care for it, rather than just following what you love.

Me commented:

Shoot down your love of a specified position because, in this financial market, you won't survive. Luck is something you have to hope for. Who knows, even the most lucrative positions may not survive.

Good luck to us, Every one.