WeWork, WeLive, WeGrow, WeDie

“Always working or always semi-working.” That phrase basically sums up my life for the past two decades. For about twelve years I ran a Web-hosting co-op in addition to working anywhere from three to nine other contracts at a time. It enabled me to spend money like water on every ridiculous thing and activity possible; I could have saved money like water but that wasn’t the point of working eighty hours a week. While there are certainly people out there with a thoroughly domesticated sense of delayed gratification, I’ve never been one of them. If I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone, I expect to take a champagne bath afterwards. Simple as that.

Somewhere around 2010 I started closing up shop on the tech-biz stuff so I could use my spare time to write about cars. This doesn’t pay nearly as well but the twelve-year-old me never had any dreams of running a Web hosting business and in any event the hosting model was going the way of the lowest common denominator. Nowadays I spend about 45 hours a week in tasks associated with my day job and another 20 hours at the keyboard. Sometimes I spend 10 or 20 hours of top of that accumulating the experiences about which I’ll write later. There was a five-day period a while back where all I did was go to work then write until 4am then sleep until 8am then go to work, just to meet deadlines. I never truly know when the work will arrive or what demands it will make. Take this week for example; it was supposed to be a vacation from both my “careers” but I had a couple of things fall in my lap so I’ve turned the vacation into a work-cation and I’ll end up writing for 25 or 30 hours total before Sunday ends.

What makes this state of affairs bearable is that it is entirely voluntary. At any moment, I can quit writing and just become a cubicle bee like everyone else. It would mean an end to the supercars and the outrageous trips and the race weekends, but that’s very different from losing my home or not being able to feed my son. At the end of the day, I would still be a relatively healthy middle-aged man with 2,600 square feet in the suburbs, a Porsche in the garage, and the ability to eat dinner at a steakhouse without kiting a check. Most importantly, I have a home. I think of it as mine and in truth every year it becomes closer to being entirely mine. I am free to do what I want in it: leave towels on the floor, walk the halls at night, crank up a 100-watt guitar amp and noodle until the paintings on the wall sympathetically shiver.

This quaint notion, of having one’s own home where one is free to retreat from and forget about work entirely, is apparently just too unproductive to survive.

The Guardian is about ninety-five percent trash in my opinion but every once in a while it comes up with something worth reading. This is one of those things, and it is sobering to contemplate. The piece is about WeWork, the fucking nightmare dystopian company that is attempting to remove all possible barriers between life and work. Their dream is for you to “always be working or semi-working”, like the Amazon employees who are expected to answer emails from their bosses at midnight and make sure that their family trips never stray from the instant availability of an OC-48 connection. Their newest project is WeLive, which will ensure that you, the tech worker of the future, live in a company town where you own nothing that won’t fit in a duffle bag and where you are always ready to increase shareholder value. What truly bothers me is the scenario at the end of the piece, the one that inspired the art that heads this story:

The company has recently spawned an educational offshoot called WeGrow (so far focused on a private elementary school in New York) that teaches kids a range of skills including mindfulness and “conscious entrepreneurship”. But the idea is apparently to put WeGrow schools in WeWork properties across the world, so digital nomads can carry their disorientated offspring from place to place, and ensure they have just as flimsy an idea of home as their parents do.
Not for the first time, you may well read this stuff and wonder: whose utopia is this?

The answer to that question is obvious: it’s the utopia of the investor class. One of the many delightful and insightful turns of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix is the concept of “The Investors”, vaguely saurian aliens who travel between spacefaring species engaging in trade that is often breathtakingly one-sided. The reader soon finds out that they are entirely motivated by greed and will do nearly anything, including eating their own children, to satisfy that greed. The kicker is that the Investors are already effectively immortal and in possession of technology so advanced that they can’t sell it to anybody because there are no races left alive with the capability to understand and operate it. Their relentless pursuit of profit has made them one-dimensional and miserable.

How much like them our own Investors are, the reptilian hedge-fund managers and globalist ubermenschen who have more money than they could reasonably spend in a dozen lifetimes but who are perpetually engaged in the search for more. Their greed is immeasurable; they long ago ceased being satisfied with a favorable rate on return, preferring instead to scorch the earth in search of “hundred-baggers” that will add a further zero to their net worth. It is universally understood that the “100-bagger” must exist on the back of the 10x programmer, the JWZ who will give himself carpal tunnel to make you rich and take just a tiny share of the profits in return.

Basically, the purpose of the WeWork/WeLive/WeGrow ecology is to fast-burn the utility out of 10x programmers (and everyone else) before depositing them safely back in the unemployment line once they have carpal tunnel and psychological issues and children and Type II diabetes. It is Logan’s Run without all the fucking and Brave New World without the soma. And the best part is that you leave with nothing. You work 80 hours a week to pay for hideously inflated housing and “time-saving” devices and a constant stream of corporate media. You build no equity, plant no seeds, harvest no crops, receive no joy. Your rewards will be a chance to eat at expensive restaurants. The photos will go on Instagram and the rest of it will be deposited in a WeWork toilet during a break from pair programming that is not to last over eight minutes lest people think you’ve stopped caring about the burn-down rate of the current two-week Agile sprint.

It’s company towns all the way down. One in a thousand will get lucky and have a piece of a hundred-bagger. A select few of them will be permitted to join the Investors. Everybody else can go back to Hicksville, Ohio and live off public assistance.

Are there alternatives? I can think of three. The first one is to work 100-hour weeks when everybody else is just working an 80-hour week. If you give the best years of your life to that regimen then you might wind up as something other than chattel in the future. The second one is to become a welder or a pipefitter and enjoy a traditional life in a place where it doesn’t cost $3500 a month for 500 square feet. The last one is for you and your friends to all pick up rifles and engage in a little old-fashioned redistribution of the means of production. The Investors are just as smart as I am so it’s no wonder they are working so hard to make the third option impossible. It remains to be seen how successful they will be. Who knows. It’s anybody’s game. WeRiot, WeRevolt, WeBurn, WeKill…


62 Replies to “WeWork, WeLive, WeGrow, WeDie”

  1. Avatarsightline

    I’m not sure when WeWork went from “Easy-to-rent office space for small companies” to, well, this, but I’ve been trying to figure out for a while whether this We* stuff is because the exec team really believes this bullshit or that they need to hide the fact that the company is basically a REIT with not-so-favorable tax treatment.

    Either way, it’s basically the late-stage form of the Silicon-valley-ification of the general culture. Unfortunately out here on the cutting edge, the reward (decent chance of an exit making the previous work worthwhile) has been replaced with a six, eight, or ten year grind as companies stay private longer and option packages get stingier.

    In the end, we are all Boxer. Napoleon is always right.

  2. AvatarRyan

    Thanks for sharing this, you always give my friends and I great things to discuss.

    I’m glad that I went into security. The “Agile” methodology rewards nothing but fast work to pump out MVPs, leaving gaping holes in everything.

    I was talking with someone who wanted/needed to sharpen his SQL skills for a project, but had never heard of SQL Injection. How many years has that sat atop the OWASP Top 10?

    When the tables in this industry eventually start, I’m hoping that I’ll be on the right side of things. The “worst” case scenario would be government work.

    On a side note, what’s the best way to reach you regarding submitting an article? I should have your email address still, but wasn’t sure if you preferred IG or Twitter these days.

    • AvatarDaniel J

      Agile is just a “codeword” for producing crappy software fast. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve been writing code closer to the hardware, where “agile” isn’t as much a thing.

      • AvatarWonka

        Just wait a few more years, and all will be agile. It’s happening in the automotive ECU programming as I speak, and I really despise it.

      • AvatarRyan

        I don’t disagree with you in the slightest. The sad thing is that even “legacy” companies are moving towards it. For them, it seems to mean more of “Our office looks like Herman-Miller designed the sets on Boiler Room. Here’s the key to your 1’x1’x1′ locker.” I went on more than a few interviews over the past ~6 months. My workplace is one of the few where this isn’t either the current office structure or what’s on the horizon.

  3. AvatarJustPassinThru

    I had to face this.

    As the child of (middle-class) professionals, I watched my parents sweat and work, to pay for the house, the two cars, the other assorted luxuries…worry frantically in the early 1980s when one of them was unemployed…to where a few really-inexpensive luxuries were cut.

    Later on, their ship came in. Not pay, so much, but how investments paid off between 1988 and 2006. They died in clover.

    And it was a waste, you ask me, My mother came to treasure her winter trips to Florida – not long-term trips, but several of her co-workers and friends had retired down there. She liked Ohio but not its long winters. Nor did she like to fly – she’d round up more of her group, and three or so would drive down to West Palm in her new or nearly-new Camry. Staying at Best Westerns and eating Bob Evans and other upper-midrange dining stops.

    I remember the time well…2004. Her Toyota was getting up there in mileage – about 120,000 miles, all the driving she was doing. It wouldn’t do for an elderly woman to have a breakdown in Bumhump, Alabama – so I pressured her to get a new car, and she did. Paid cash.

    And never went back to Florida; and had few trips, and none at all after a certain time. Age had caught up with her – she just did not want to. Most of her former friends, as well, were sheltering in place, glued to Doctor Phil or Oprah. The urge had gone out…the money was still there, but the urge had gone.

    Meantime, I was working 75-hour weeks on the local railroad. And developing diabetes – because even with all those hours, we were not allowed any kind of set or projected schedule. On-call work works but not when it’s 12-16 hours, and not hours when you can sleep on the job.

    I made a call, ten years ago…it turned out badly but I’d make it again. I would rather spend my money while I can still enjoy it…and let the meager pension check cover the time when I live in a small apartment and only want television. I have no dependents, and so it means, after Uncle Sam splits halvsies with my estate, only charity will get anything. Why bother?

    In any event, now, with the Federal Reserve DELIBERATELY creating inflation, and with other aspects…IMHO, saving is a game for losers. Right now our economy and currency is being manipulated in ways not seen since the Wiemar Republic.

    • AvatarDisinterested-Observer

      My parents did the exact same thing only worse. My dad kept working at a very white color government job right up until they couldn’t go to the beach condo they finally bought the year before because my mom was too sick. Fucking waste. Meanwhile my in-law retired from working with his hands for well-known midwestern employer the day he hit 30 years and they have spent the last several decades snowbirding and enjoying watching their grandkids grow up. And now I am probably going to do the same thing as my dad. Hopefully it will be enough for our combined efforts to get the kids near the Alphas.

  4. AvatarCJinSD

    You should see what the investor class is doing to Europe. Open borders are the will of the investor class. Climate change is the lie the investor class has been softening up the sheep for since the creation of television. If too many Americans aren’t brain dead enough to support climate change and the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, then new Americans must bum-rush the border to dilute their political impact. Know thy enemy. It isn’t the pawns crossing the border. It is the people helping them.

    • AvatarBlueovalDave

      Read about the Kalergi Plan. Open borders to dilute the native population destroying it’s culture and miscegenation (watched any tv commercials lately) to create a subservient slave population ruled by blue blood investors and ((central bankers)). Book was written in the 1920s.

      • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

        (((I))) regularly (as in just about every day) attend religious services at the local (((kollel))), a post-ordination seminary for (((rabbis))). The (((rosh kollel)), the dean of the seminary has been a neighbor and friend of my family for over 40 years. (((I))) have yet to hear any talk of controlling the banking system or manipulating )))goyim(((.

        The shite that some folks believe is almost incredible.

        • AvatarTietonian

          I’m disappointed with the ((central bankers)) because even after watching and liking many Ben Shapiro/Steven Crowder/Owen Benjamin videos, I still have not received my share of the Jew gold. I could really use the shekels right now. Ronnie, what do I need to do?

          • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

            I’d suggest sending the Elders of Zion your resume, with examples of how you’ve shilled for Israel and the Jews, but the Elders have still not told me where and when the weekly planning meeting is and I don’t have their address.

          • Avatarrambo furum

            The tribe doth protest too much, methinks.

            I thought Kalergi was a hapa. Why is the tribe suddenly “independently” popping up to squelch discussion of this historical tidbit? It is almost like they have some group instinct or it is a group survival strategy.

            We know. The faux claim of anti-semitism is part of the glue that keeps the tribe from getting too friendly with the goyim. The tribe needs to be hated, even if they need to stir it up themselves. And it always ends the same way. Like the Investors, they end up needing to leave.

          • AvatarSabotenfighter

            Jew hater code to mean “the Jews” without actually saying it. Implying, if you will. Like green text on one of the Chans, if that’s your thing.

          • Avatarrambo furum

            Install a web extension called Coincidence Detector. It will highlight the names of a certain group, and anyone with a brain will start noticing lots of coincidences.
            That group are not all as honest as their representatives here are.

      • AvatarCarmine

        Its seems that miscegenation is on every single TV commercial that has come out in the last 12 months……..

        • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

          While there’s probably some politics behind that obvious trend, the demographic fact is that multiracial families have increased significantly so it probably isn’t a bad idea to include them when it comes to casting commercials.

          The ad industry is very trendy, in the sense that they follow trends. When was the last time you saw a commercial that showed a father in a good light?

          • Avatar1a

            What came first, the chicken or the egg?

            I don’t think you’re in the loop on this one.

            From today’s headlines: “Could you hire any POC? This picture is so white it’s making me squint. Disgusting”

            The other day I was flipping through the channels (I very rarely watch TV), and a Ford commercial was on…every single person throughout the commercial was black. I thought that was different from the norm (note I’m not offended by one’s skin color or a company’s desire to do such), but the next commercial told me I was watching BET. Imagine if Ford put 100% white or Mexican or Asians in another commercial…*OUTRAGE*! Now imagine if any of those races had their own TV stations! *OUTRAGE*!

          • AvatarBlueovalDave

            Notice the original fact of the Kalergi Plan as described in his book “Practical Idealism” is never denied because it can’t be. i am only exposing it. Kalergi was one of the founders of the Pan-European union and he received the first Charlemagne Prize. Other winners include Angela Merkel. Kalergi as well as the Charlemagne prize were funded by the House of Rothschild. All facts. All according to The Plan.

    • AvatarJustPassinThru

      Not unfettered capitalism. This is crony-corporatism.

      Manipulating securities and credit markets and debasing currency is the OPPOSITE of Austrian/Chicago Free-Market Capitalism.

      Any more than open borders to (temporarily) benefit a small powerful group at the destruction of the entire nation, is “freedom.”

  5. Avatarsafe as milk

    like others here, i’ve given some thought to this and come to my own conclusions. i believe the best antidote to all this is to have a sense of place. i don’t own. i rent but i’ve lived in the same neighborhood in nyc for over 30 years. i’m surrounded by pod people who are on the treadmill to pay for their fancy lofts and lattes. when i get on the elevator in the morning, i see them dressed to impress getting into an uber and off to their busy days. meanwhile, i’m in my cargo shorts walking the dog and chatting to the neighborhood people some of whom i’ve know for decades. my business was crushed by a changing economy but i get by like many others working freelance on overnight shifts. there’s no office politics on the overnight shift. i could get steady day work with benefits, if i was willing to relocate but then i wouldn’t have a home. i’d just be another one of those pod people

    • AvatarJustPassinThru

      Yup. I live in an artificial bubble, a mountain town formerly a timber and railroad key-point. In the last 30 years it has become driven by the explosive growth of FedGov and university employees, augumented in smaller numbers by tourism. You get a sense of how unworldly it is, when you see the 0700 and 1630 traffic jams, tie-ups that a town of 70,000 just should not have.

      You also see it in how busy stores are on Friday afternoons, when productive people still are working, but not the government pod-people. You see it in the expensive vehicles that obviously stupid, or low-energy types, are driving. And it’s the choice of men who have fears of their potency – the choices of grown men making a living (a big one) dumping government forms from the IN box to the OUT box. By this I mean outsized Bro-Dozer diesels, with longer frames than Peterbilt tractors, rigged to belch noise, and, on-command, smoke.

      Or the cars driven by university instructors, there in their bubbles, surrounded by shibboleths and Virtue-Signalling. Angry women with crew-cuts, weight issues, and Priuii and Leafs.

      Of course, what these two pathetic classes have in common, is a consumption amount, all out of proportion to their productivity…and, yes, BERNIE 2016 bumper stickers, still on, renewed I think, and displayed proudly.

  6. AvatarDaniel J

    This reminds me of the AMC show Hell On Wheels, where the Rail Road workers lived along side the railroad.

    As a software engineer, there are alternatives to working 80-100 hours for these huge tech companies. There are still hotspots of demand, such as Austin and Research Triangle Park working for other companies.

    Part of the problem is consumers. I’ve worked 60 hours a week on projects and the software by the 4th or 5th week ends up being utter junk. Its buggie and who knows if it meets the requirements. But as consumers, we seem to not mind consuming junk software. Programmers/Software Engineers working that amount of hours is producing crap code, all the way around. Consumers don’t seem to mind though. In reality, I think they do mind, but they can’t do much about it.

    Fundamentally, technology has transitioned in the last 20 years from that of hardware to software. But no one wants to pay for software, or should I say, good software. I saw this all too often for the previous company I worked for.

  7. AvatarJohn C.

    Gosh, all this makes me yearn for smokestacked factories with well paid lazy union workforces and lazy only slightly better paid 3 Martini lunch management. The investor class even got their 3 % yield.

  8. Avatarhank chinaski

    Still digesting that concierge piece. Good stuff.

    The Boxer reference above is most apropos. They never, ever want us off the treadmill.
    Think you own that house after you’ve paid off the mortgage? Try not paying your property taxes. Oh yeah, they’ve tripled to cover the guaranteed yearly raises and pensions for the public sector employees.
    Think you can retire on that $2M nest egg and Social Security? Oops. Your co-insurance doubled and that dealer certified preowned Camry now costs $60K.
    Hooo boy, you’re a smart cookie….started saving in that 529 when Junior was still teething. Heh, maybe that will cover his books and mandatory struggle session fees. Oh my, he’s an XY? Here’s his Lupron implant.

    The automatic responses to external pressures speed the downward cycle. Consumers consume less. Start having children below the replacement rate. Their foreign replacements are all on assistance. They are also violent. The Ponzi fails. War.

  9. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    It is universally understood that the “100-bagger” must exist on the back of the 10x programmer, the JWZ who will give himself carpal tunnel to make you rich and take just a tiny share of the profits in return.

    The 100-bagger, 10X programmer, and JWZ are all examples of the Pareto Principle. A small number of people do much of the productive work that gets done.

    FWIW, making money off of money is a necessary evil. The Torah prohibits charging interest. The great rabbi Hillel figured out about 2,200 years ago that if people can’t make money off of money, there will be no venture capital for startups, the economy will stagnate and society will stratify, so he devised a format so people can invest in others without running afoul of that commandment. About 1,200 years later, another great rabbi, Maimonides, said the lowest form of charity is giving money to someone, but he considered business loans to be among the best forms of charity.

    Also, the only hedge fund guy that I’ve known was a mensch and very philanthropic. He was just good at managing risk.

    • Avatarrambo furum

      Investing and usury are different in that the investor shares risk. What is the risk to the moneylender? When do they not profit?

  10. AvatarJoe

    A scary future for my daughter and possible grand children, this has been in the works for the last hundred years, the advent of the computer has made things move at a more or less exponential rate, the billionaire investor class could care less about any kind of a well off middle class that really only exists in America and a few western nation states, they want two classes, kings and surfs, I have for the last forty years had this notion, reading Eric Arthur Blair’s 1984 had a effect on my mood that has not changed. I have lived a decent life with plenty of new cars and a house, I don’t know how young people do it!

    • AvatarCJinSD

      Middle class people are just serfs who clog up ski lift lines and run their speed boats within ear-shot of billionaires’ yachts. Dreadfully inconvenient, not to mention they squander vast amounts of resources relative to the sustainable impoverished.

      • AvatarJustPassinThru

        Agreed, that is their perspective.

        A foolish one. For their riches, come in part from the productive roles middle-classes play.

        A nation without a middle class, is a nation without a prosperous industrial economy. A society with all peons and serfs cannot sustain much industry – when there is no market for it, and no appreciable ambition, since most doors are closed.

        There will be a upper class; a sort of de-facto nobility; but they will spend little time on their yachts or ski slopes. Nope, those go away…it is mass markets, and economies of scale, that make lesser upper-class types able to afford and spend such sums on such toys. Or for someone to design such toys, at an affordable price.

        Even in today’s dictatorships, the emperors and grand-poobahs benefit from the Western mass market. Daniel Ortega had to go to New York for snazzy threads; and the oil sheihks bought their limousines from Daimler-Benz and Lincoln. They had to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but they sure didn’t vacation there. Nope, it was Aspen or London or New York.

        • AvatarJoe

          I agree, without a prosperous middle class, the very well off don’t exist, only the billionaires will have the disposable income that buys luxury, luxury won’t exist if it can’t be manufactured, people won’t work for free, they won’t work hard if there is no payoff in it for them. Look at Venezuela!

          • AvatarCJinSD

            Ever seen the Pyramids? Versailles? The Catherine Palace? Milka Duno? Do you think Democratic party office holders’ attacks on Kim Jong Un are motivated by anything other than envy? Unlimited power over the lives of others is better than any sports car. People who’ve traded their dignity and votes for the public teat have gadgets and access to foods King Henry the Eighth never dreamt of. Do you think Henry would have traded the power of life and death for an ipod and a big TV?

  11. AvatarNick D

    Solely out of curiosity, what does a freelance article for a car site generate for the author? Is there some parallelism in comp models among the sites, or do they all pay under different formulas?

  12. Avatarwlitten

    Last year I messaged you because I had decided to abandon my comfortable job with a manufacturing company in Massachusetts to become a plumber in San Francisco. This seems relevant to your essay now. I just finished a week long job yesterday welding in a new 5″ steam line and king valve. I’m actually fairly proud of it. Many people talk about abandoning their office jobs and entering the trades to lead a simpler life. I can not say I would reccomend this life to most people. The work is physically and mentally exhausting. You need to have a strong stomach and a tolerance for pain. The learning curve is steep and it’s mostly only the college educated guys who succeed in plumbing. There is a very high turn over rate. My pay and the cost of living in SF more or less balance out and there are more raises to come. I suppose the point of my saying this is that many people think they can handle this work but few have the strength to do so.
    Anyway, let me know if your in SF and feel like hearing plumbing war stories, I’ll buy you a drink.

    • AvatarJMcG

      I remember when you decided to head west, glad to hear it’s working out so far. You should be very proud of that steam line, not fairly proud. Every job you do is another brick in the wall of civilization. Nothing you do is written in water.

    • Avatartifoso

      I can vouch for your experience in the plumbing trade. I took a separation package from the public sector in the naive and misguided hope of escaping the pain of a mind-numbing, soul-sucking job. Doubling down on my stupidity I entered a plumbing apprenticeship, somewhat buying into the delusion that being a plumber was a licence to print money. Buddy, I had no idea what pain was until I was under the thumb of a ball breaking foreman, working for a hole in the wall contractor that went through employees like a shark goes through teeth. It was a world of hurt that made my previous “pain” look like a walk in the park.

  13. Avatarstingray65

    If you want an interesting read, I recommend the following: The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon. His basic premise is that the US and to a lesser degree the globe experienced unprecedented economic productivity and growth from about 1870 to 1970 that can never be repeated. During that time homes became networked with plumbing, electricity, and telephone, new appliances/devices for home and office were invented and widely adopted, transportation was revolutionized by railroads, cars, and airlines, etc. and all these things led to growth in income and standards of living that everyone started to take for granted and assumed would last forever, but can’t because those homes are already networked, cars and planes may improve but not to the same degree as moving from horse to jet in just over 50 years, etc. But all our desires to have our children live more prosperous lives that ourselves, and for our early retirement pension plans to offer generous benefits, and our planet to be cleaner and safer and fairer, etc. depend on having that compounded 10% growth we had during those golden 100 years. But with “only” 3 or 5 or 7% growth everything falls apart, which means the productive members of society are being asked/forced/coerced into working 80 hours per week to find those magic bullets that will support the rest of the public who don’t have the skills, drive, or resources to contribute, and to do it. Throw in some further “productivity enhancers” such as artificially expensive and unreliable energy, affirmative action mandates, and open borders, and you have a formula for disaster that is coming soon unless people get their expectations back to reality.

  14. AvatarCarl Haynie

    I enjoy Jacks stories and insight immensely and occasionally forward them to my kids. Notwithstanding I don’t subscribe to the dystopian outlook generally. I have had several changes in career along the way, with up to 1 year of unemployment in between but some preparation and fiscal caution has kept us solvent. My own experience has taught me that home ownership is the best investment strategy and leveraging that into a few rental properties makes me one of the “investor” class and will take me into to a modest retirement this year. Life in Florida, Utah and Texas has been good.

    I have 7 children (Mormons have a very positive outlook on families) and the older 5 married ones have put themselves through college, have more prosperous lives than their parents and are raising some well-adjusted grandchildren. Everyone has had hard choices to make and works lots of hours but are healthy and happy.

    Count me among the glass half full crowd. I don’t think the opportunities in this country are going or gone by any means. Changing, for sure, but still there if you are looking.

  15. AvatarDirtRoads

    Heh, I’m one of the backwards ones. I’ll never be rich, but I started in trades and ended up behind a desk. Like the plumber story above, there’s no way, at age 60 (in a couple weeks), that I would want to be wrenching for a living any more. Thank goodness I had the hard work and foresight to get a college degree and be able to make a decent living writing technical documentation and performing quality audits, among my other duties. It requires less of my physically but more of me mentally. I work on my own cars now and then to this day, but I’m so damn slow at it I could never make it any more. Plus cars are so computerized nowadays you need a bank of computers just to troubleshoot them.


  16. AvatarJMcG

    I chose door number two many years ago. I still work 60-80 hours a week, but it’s when I want to, and it’s paid at time and a half or double time after the first eight.
    It’s being slowly killed though. The VP whose division I’m part of has stated to us that no one with just a high school diploma should make more than 50k a year. The palpable sense of disdain is something to behold. It’s nearly enough to bring on option three.
    I figure I have another nine or ten years, then I’m out of here. It’s not much of a country anymore when you really consider it. Not getting any better either. Good while it lasted though.

    • Avatarjcain

      “The VP whose division I’m part of has stated to us that no one with just a high school diploma should make more than 50k a year.”

      I hate that mentality. Seems dumb and shortsighted to think that “paying your dues” at a university is somehow inherently better than spending that time learning a trade or craft, but I guess some people do.

  17. AvatarCJinSD

    “The VP whose division I’m part of has stated to us that no one with just a high school diploma should make more than 50k a year.”

    Dox that bitch. I’ll burn him down, and I have a degree in same.

    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      Does he know how much money and economic activity Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates generated?

  18. AvatarJeff Zekas

    Hey Jack, good article. I’ve always worked manual labor jobs. Always had weekends and holidays off, so I could spend time with my kids. Always lived in small towns, with friends, and family, and connections. That life still exists. But you have to seek it out. Oh, and I have lots of guns, just in case.

  19. Avatardejal

    They might want to re-think that “Mindfullness” part.

    Get good at that and there’s a good chance you say “Fuck it” about many things in your life. That could include being a company (wo)man.

    There’s was a story on Slashdot (I have no idea why I go there, most posters think they are anarchists) about some study on mindfulless and how it didn’t make you a better worker bee. No kidding. Sounds like the corporations want to co-opt it for their own ends with some perverted definition of it. The corporations version is to train your mind to benefit them and not to train your mind to benefit you.

  20. AvatarBrawnychicken

    Regardless of all the rest-the WeLive/Work/Grow thing is simply a rebrand of the company town of a century ago. It isn’t new. Pretty sure those company towns didn’t work out in the long run. Of course, maybe the backers don’t care.

  21. AvatarTAFKADG

    Off-the-cuff gut-reaction: I rather like the idea of splitting option 2 with option 3. Not a “work-cation” or a “stay-cation”, but a “raid-cation”. There’s plenty of historical precedent for this hybridized lifestyle. A while back, I read the following passage about an alleged ancestor.

    “This was how Svein used to live. Winter he would spend at home on Gairsay, where he entertained some eighty men at his own expense. His drinking hall was so big, there was nothing in Orkney to compare with it. In the spring he had more than enough to occupy him, with a great deal of seed to sow which he saw to carefully himself. Then when that job was done, he would go off plundering in the Hebrides and in Ireland on what he called his ‘spring-trip’, then back home just after mid-summer, where he stayed till the cornfields had been reaped and the grain was safely in. After that he would go off raiding again, and never came back till the first month of winter was ended. This he used to call his ‘autumn-trip’.”

    Do your job in The Peoples Republic of The Flyover for a couple of months, then spend a few weeks with your bros pillaging Bugmanistan. Not sure whether to file this under “Archeo-Futurism” or larping gone horribly awry, but I can certainly think of worse things.

    • AvatarTietonian

      I like this idea. Have a farm in Idaho or Montana and take raid-cations to Seattle-Tacoma-Vancouver-Portland. I even have a raven banner as my avatar *now*… 😏

    • AvatarAoletsgo

      Thanks – I think. I just ordered this book for a light, summer, beach read.
      Archeofuturism: European Visions of the Post-Catastrophic Age

  22. AvatarAoletsgo

    I don’t bring work home.
    I refuse to check emails at night or on the weekend.
    I have trained my clients and bosses that this is the way it is and they accept that.
    Now my younger co-workers who are ON 24/7 are expected to always be that way.
    Has my career suffered from this? Yea a little but my life is so much better.


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