Further art discussions and notifications for the artwork of Sam Thorp

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Hate your job? Quit.

Sounds simple enough.
No one is forcing you to work there, probably. There are other ways to earn money.
And you can be replaced with out being missed at all.

This is the current rallying cry of the bootstrap philosophy touted by so many self- help motivational guru speakers who will show you how. It's all included in their new book ($59.99 in stores) or hear them live (seminars start at $299.99).

Take charge of your life. Take responsibility. If you're underpaid and miserable, you have no one to blame but yourself!

And its not an entirely bad or wrong approach to take. Certainly there are many among us who DO need to take more action and responsibility.

But it's not complete.

Far too many new- age self- help, motivational gurus focus WAY too much on this bootstrap approach, giving their well-meaning followers tunnel vision which can leave an opening for danger to slip by on our collective blind spots.

What blind spot is that?
Well, .. for one WHY do you hate your job so much?
Is it that it is boring? repetitive? unglamorous?
bad for your health? dangerous?
intrudes into your privacy?
are you forced to work overtime without pay?
lack of health care benefits?
sexual harassment? racism? gay bashing?

At some point a job goes from "sucky" to a "violation of your basic human rights."
And I hope you can make the distinction between what is just "hard work" and what truly goes too far as an unsafe work environment.

Because in those extreme cases, quitting is not enough. You can quit, walk away; but the job is still there; like an open trap waiting for the next poor sucker.

You see there are some bad managers, and inhumane corporations in this world who will put people's life at risk to make a few extra bucks. And they often rationalize it by the same bootstrap philosophy.

"Dangerous chemicals with no safety precautions? Well, if you don't like it go work somewhere else."

"Dumping toxic waste into our community water supply? Hey you don't HAVE to drink it!"

"Don't like me rubbing my genitals up against you in the cubicle? Go work somewhere else!"

And sure you could.... you could just quit and walk away. And maybe if enough smart and qualified people left their jobs the management would come to realize the errors of their ways and reform for the sake of retaining a talented work force to crank out a quality product or service.....
but probably not.
More likely, just hire the bottom of the barrel; meek and non- confrontational at a lower wage.

Let's take an extreme example. The tragic loss of coal miners in W.VA recently. It's a gritty, dirty, dangerous job. And people can get killed doing it.
The bootstrap philosophy would state: Tough luck. Anything that happens is your fault cause you can quit at anytime.
And somehow that doesn't seem right. Sure those 19 men could have quit at anytime and work elsewhere..... but that would have left 19 job opening to be filled by 19 other men. The problem is not always with the workers, but at times with the job itself. And if we are truly concerned about "responsibility" then we have to hold others responsible for their actions as well. not just us.

Reading the book "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" (on loan from the public library) I was struck by the passage describing "Rich Dad's" treatment of his employees. Loyal staff that had been with him for years, Rich Dad treated them like dirt and explaining he did it because he could.
The workers never challenged him so he could get away with it. This was his explanation of the boot strap philosophy. He did it cause the workers didn't quit. They LET him get away with it.
Now is the only lesson here, that you should always stand up for yourself?
Are some people also learning that its ok to be a rude, abuse, jack-off as long as you can get away with it? What happened to virtures are their own reward or the golden rule?

I mean, at what point does this sort of thinking go to far?
"i cut your paycheck cause I can?"

"i outsourced your job to India cause you can always go find another job elsewhere"

"I mugged your grandmother cause she didn't fight back?"

"I burnt your house down cause you can always find another place to live?"

the problem i have with this bootstrap philosophy is it can easily be twisted to justify abusive and illegal behavior. ... way, way too easily.
if you are too focused on yourself, would you be blind to the responsibility of others?
Would you tend to blame yourself and not hold others accountable?

Not just on the job, the bootstrap philosophy goes by another name: The Law of Attraction.
Which states you "attract" everything that happens to you in your life good and bad.
Again I don't think this is entirely wrong , but .... incomplete.

It's not the factory- farming, genetic- tampering, agri- business putting unhealthy additives in your food and carefully glossing over with a slick marketing campaign making you unhealthy; its because you attract fat and cancer into your ass with your thoughts.

It's not because of a cultural patriarchy sense of entitlement or serious sociopathic misbehavior that you go raped; its because you attracted a rapist with that outfit you're wearing.


Yes, we could all be taking more action and responsibility ...but NOT in a selfish way... we have to also include the realization that we are interwoven, That our actions affects others.
No one should stay in a bad job, or unhealthy relationship, or terrible circumstance. But quitting and walking away is not the total answer. There are times when you turn around and fight. Some things other than you need to change.

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