The end of work

“Execution is everything.”

The answer to the question, “why is the world filled with so much crap?”

At work, *doing* is the monomaniacal metric of performance. No one cares about anything as long as you are doing shit. It’s why workplaces have portable toilets known as meetings. When you don’t know what to do with your life, you call for a meeting.

Meetings turn out to be pointlessly long, caffeinated opinions to prove everyone is actually doing something. What a great time to be alive.

Your work is like an IKEA warehouse. The problem is, you rarely get to go shopping. Someone else goes in, hoards a boatload of parts and dumps it in front of you. You stare at this lump waiting for some sort of a manual. To put your life together.

The guy/gal who unquestioningly starts assembling the parts is considered a hustler. I will take an air-sickness bag with that.

It took me years of wading through this mindless swamp to eventually understand the point of execution. Like everyone else, I believed there was something called planning (admittedly, slacking-off) before you actually started the doing.

In between the two ideas of planning and execution, I never tried to understand the whole assemblage: work.

We dislike doing not because it involves effort, but because no one explains work to us. We skip ahead and ask giant questions like, “why don’t I find meaning in my work?

A note on passion at work.

Passion is the narcissistic nasal discharge we dive into in order to compensate for our laziness. Have a good time picturing that.

Endnote

Work at its essence is about the people you are going to help. And that requires being – and this may traumatize you – thoughtful. I wish someone told me this when I got started. I thought work was all about something called a career path. Which is essentially living up to society’s expectations of you, where the holy grail is to one day have people doing things for you.

You are never going to design or do anything significant if all you care about is you and your getting ahead. It’s why what we call customer/client/jackass has morphed into measurable money extracting opportunities instead of an immeasurable being there for someone who needs your help. This could be the guy sitting next to you, choking on his purposelessness after the fifth meeting of the day.

Great products have been a result of empathy, enthusiasm, and experience brought together by thoughtful people. These products don’t succeed because of their timing. It’s more because they are timeless.

To make it worse now, there’s this new nincompoop: scale.

Screw helping one person. It’s either a million people or none.

It’s why you have little passion for what you do. Even you can’t convince yourself what you are doing is going to affect a million people. You have so little passion for what you do because “people will buy all kinds of shit” is not a healthy business model. It only makes the workplace toxic.

The greatest misconception is that your work will undergo a sudden change once you become a leader. It’s the salvation we all wait for at work: the precipitous passion reserved for you at the corner office: one that will wake you from your heavy slumber: a time when people will clean-up crap for you: Applause.

But what really happens is you numb yourself into doing — falling into a deeper slumber: people hate you because you are always giving them crap to clean-up: the corner office is your cage: Congratulations.

When we start at work, we bring in nauseous levels of empathy and enthusiasm. And it gets stabbed, over and over again, by this one idea: “you don’t have enough experience.” By the time you have the experience – the thing you believed was your emancipation – your result from all the years of doing — you are kinda done. You feel nothing. You use your doing in order to prevent your undoing.

Why do we fear for a time when robots take over our jobs? It may be the only time we understand work. It may be our only salvation. It may be the help we need.

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