I believe there is a large number of passionate souls out there, who sooner or later will have to deal with careerism. I submit that the more passionate you are, the longer it will take before you have to deal with it, but the harder it will hit you.

It hits you when you begin to realize that even though you do a better job there are people passing you in your career getting away with sub par work performance and yet getting promoted and advanced.

The Gervais Principle (thanks to Maus for bringing it to my attention) explains what happens.

At this point you have two choices, the third choice of remaining clueless being excluded (sorry there’s no red pill allowing you to get reinstalled in the matrix), and the fourth choice being becoming self-employed which is never a complete escape since you still have to deal with customers and competitors.

  • You can pursue sub par performance and learn to power play, that is, manage your image, build your personal brand, network with important people who can advance your career, make everything you touch look great (even if it is just B- material), etc.
  • You can pursue sub par performance which just allows you to keep your job and nothing more until you get laid off in the next downsizing.

The benefit of the former is that you gain power and money, possibly at the cost of your soul.

The benefit of the latter is the you get to keep that part of your soul and that you free up a lot of energy for other things.

Of course there is a third way, extreme early retirement, which sadly is considered too extreme by many. The reason is that it means giving up consumerism which to consumers is like giving up cigarettes for smokers. Not only are many people suffering from careerism, but they are also suffering from consumerism believing that it is impossible, at least for them, to live a satisfying life without shopping. This is interesting, because consumerism is relatively recent. Before consumerism people were happily using their stuff, but thanks to consumerism they are now throwing their stuff out and buying replacement stuff ever so often because that’s what they have been conditioned to feel satisfied about.

Now, suppose you have earned and saved $1000, you can now either spend it on

  • Consumption
  • Production

I assume that being able to save $1000 means that you have already satisfied your needs and you therefore have that choice. Fair enough?

You are now in a position to make a deliberate choice.

Given the consumerist affliction, most people, then, will choose to spend it on consumption. *Poof!* That money is now gone and it is back to work to acquire more of it. Hence the strategy of pursuing the minimum effort possible so as to avoid being a sucker (having learned that hard work is typically only rewarded with more hard work).

The other and strangely rarely contemplated strategy is to spend it on production.

You may not like working for The Man and maybe you are not enough of a sociopath (see the Gervais principle again) to actually _be_ “The Man”, but at least you can _own_ “The Man”. I decided to own the man.

When I have/had an extra $1000, I do/did not spend on consumption, vacations, or any other consumer junk I supposedly “deserve” (Deserve? Are they kidding me? No, they’re serious… seriously clueless, possibly.). I bought a piece of the man and spent it on production.

Now, the pyramid looks like this. At the bottom we have people doing the minimum possible. Above them we have people working passionately for no forthcoming reward of consequence, that is, they are working for corner offices, plastic plaques, etc. Above them, we have the power players who are not doing much work either but who are successfully manipulating the other two groups to work for them(*). And then above those, we have the investors who own the entire thing and takes a rent cut from all the work produced.

(*) Like the popular kid in high school who copied your homework πŸ˜€

Perhaps this is slightly sociopathic as well but it’s the best solution I could come up with. And at least I’m trying to pay for my sins by making it clear how to join me.

The reason I can not accept working for no reward is that I don’t like the short end of the stick.

The reason I can not accept doing the minimum effort is because I think my time is too valuable to waste like that. I got things to do, so I can not afford spending 8 hours a day doing things that are not that meaningful to me if I have another choice.

I have that other choice.

So do you.

Originally posted 2010-05-06 00:10:19.