3 reasons your job shouldn’t be exciting

Azmyl Yunor

Leave the fun stuff for your leisure time instead of expecting work to be exciting. – AFP pic, December 8, 2023.

IN my late grandparents’ generation, work was clearly delineated by gender – men as the sole breadwinner and women as the homemaker – as it was mostly physical and labour-intensive.

Times were hard and uncertain then. Through this, gender roles and stereotypes that stemmed from industrial needs were cast upon the following generation.

As technology advanced and work became less labour-intensive, gender roles more or less levelled, although equal pay is still debated.

My parents, who are a part of the baby boomer generation, had access to higher education, which gave them social and economic mobility beyond their parents’ capabilities.

Nowadays, the popular maxim tends to be “if you have a job you enjoy, it’s not work” – the idea that proposes the erasure of work versus leisure is imminent.

As a result, most workers long for excitement in their work as job advertisements often promote “new exciting jobs” as if they were selling holiday or cruise trips.

I disagree with this rather lofty and, frankly, very middle class, bourgeoisie fantasy.

To me, work is work. Leisure is leisure. The sleight of hand by industrialists to make workers “enjoy” their jobs reeks of the same ideological stink of the “workerist myth” of the now defunct Soviet Union.

Here are some reasons your job should not be exciting:

1. It’s hard to skive when it’s exciting

To me, the best part of any job is the ability to find fissures or cracks in the daily grind, through which we inconspicuously escape our expected paid labour for a moment, no matter how briefly, in repose.

After all, isn’t technology supposed to give us more time for ourselves, as opposed to keeping us glued to our boss’ or client’s demands 24/7?

Unless you are in sales or in some job involving all forms of production (from factories to film production), being on a payroll is the only way for you to enjoy the perks of skiving.

To skive is to shirk, avoid or escape successfully without suffering from any penalty. If you didn’t know already, most happy and effective office workers are excellent skivers.

That modern labour machine – the personal computer – has a dual purpose for both work and skiving.

Only working in seemingly unexciting office desk jobs gives you access to the art of skiving.

Exciting jobs rob you of this wonderful opportunity to slack off or pretend to be digging deep into your work tasks (when in actuality you are Googling for the latest political scoop or sports results).

2. A job should work for you, not the other way around

Only enthusiastic fresh graduates embrace their jobs like it’s a calling.

I would rather trust the “jaded cop” type of colleague who’s been in the company for years than a newbie eager beaver.

The wisdom in their lack of swagger is a clear sign they have transcended from a wage worker to that of a man (yes, more often it tends to be a man) of leisure.

A company might be made up of humans but that doesn’t make a company an organic being nor something that has sentience.

Companies are merely inanimate, unfeeling systems that only serve their own interests. That’s why God created managers – the only job in which being disliked is part of the job description.

Those who refuse to rise through the ranks are the real champions – they understand that if you stand still long enough and do just enough to be a competent worker, the job will eventually work for you.

3. You are not your job

Contrary to what we’ve been made to believe, our jobs and our identity don’t have to be linked.

How many times have you heard someone say “he’s socially awkward because he works in IT” or “he’s a creative type because he works in design”?

These are empty expressions that reduce a human being to their labour output.

In reality, the smart ones offer their talents and skills in lieu of monetary reward, and to me, this doesn’t make it a “job”.

Yet, the marketing of training or university programmes often conflate individual identity with what you should pursue as a career. This is a misnomer.

Believing in this last point is the pitfall many make and probably a source of a lot of unhappiness.

A job is a job. Get paid and move on. Leave the excitement for your own leisure time. – December 8, 2023.

* Azmyl Yunor is a touring underground recording artiste, and an academic in media and cultural studies. He has published articles on pop culture, subcultures and Malaysian cultural politics. He adheres to the three-chords-and-the-truth school of songwriting, and Woody Guthrie’s maxim “All you can write is what you see”. He is @azmyl on Twitter.

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