Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Sorrows of Retirement

My last day of work was this Friday. I am at once overjoyed to be free at last from wage slavery, yet a bit sad at the same time. No, I will not miss working, it has nothing to do with that. What makes me sad is the thought that my generation might be the last to end a life of slavery with ten or twenty good years left to enjoy living. The corruption our society has undergone in the last 25 years is such, that the rulers in their sociopathic greed are trying to force people to work longer. We have seen pensionable age extended in Italy and the UK and there is much noise in the media about the so-called upcoming social security crisis in the US. Private pensions have disappeared, more correctly stolen by the companies that were once obliged to provide these services to their loyal slaves.
The propaganda that "we cannot afford to pension the boomers" is total rubbish. At most it would cost another couple of percentage points of GDP, and this from a system that has been happy in the past to squander 40% of the GDP on murdering people, oops, sorry, I mean in wars.
Yes, there are jobs from which one would not wish to retire. These are the jobs that integrate life and work. Think of being a professional musician who is paid to play the music he or she likes, or an archeologist. But not much work is like that. Most work is shit work and we do it only to survive. Even if it isn’t shit work, having to do it for 40 hours a week makes it a drag. Hence, the majority of us look forward to our pension cheques and the free time to do what we really want to do.
A foolish person might well ask me, "Why do you care, you got your pension!" I can answer right now, that such a person ignores the fundamental reality that everything is interconnected with everything else. If the younger generation are bullied into working till the last ounce of labor is squeezed out of them, for sure, the society that would do such a thing is going to be unpleasant in other ways. Such greed and inhumanity might mean cutting my pension or the services offered to the elderly. Such amorality might mean the end of medicare. Minimally, the level of suffering would increase and this would have a negative effect upon society as a whole – a society I remain part of. Even if I did not suffer materially, at the very least, it is no pleasure to see others suffer. The suffering of others I consider a degradation of my personal environment.
My sadness has been tempered by the massive demonstrations and strikes in France. The people are revolting against the bloodsuckers who seek to degrade their living standards and working conditions. If this is the beginning of a trend, then future generations will not have to worry about their retirement.


Blogger Guerrillas in the Midst said...

Congratulations on retirement, and thanks for your concern of the next few generations.

It has got to break at some point; the planet won't last much longer.

Hope you don't retire from blogging!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Werner said...

Hi Larry,

Glad you're finally able to get out of the grind. You're right that the "best" ( or least worst ) jobs allow people to be genuinely productive and useful. But there are still problems otherwise. I'm a designer for a company developing and selling solar energy products across Canada. But I have no pension or other benefits. I'm an educated grunt. Oh goody.


8:14 PM  
Blogger Pat Murtagh said...

Good luck on the retirement Larry. Hopefully the move isn't too much.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

I'll keep an eye out for you on the golf course.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:02 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Larry. I recall reading your childhood memories of VI in your old Porcupine zine, and it sounded like a really neat place.

Interesting that you say most work is shit work and people do it for the money, look forward to getting away from it on the weekends and permanently at retirement. Coincidentally, I recently spotted a "Fish! Philosophy" banner hanging on a bulletin board at The Hospital That Must Not Be Named. Seeing that is kind of like being told you've got a real purty mouth. It's advance warning that something's going to be done to you that you probably won't enjoy.

I recently bought a copy of Fish! just for the fun of tearing it apart (rhetorically, that is). The TGIF attitude of viewing work as a means to an end, and one's "real life" outside the job as the end, is something the Motivational Mafia hates like the devil. The complaint about that in Fish! is in the intro by Blanchard, btw. Blanchard also wrote the preface to Who Moved My Cheese?, and one of the co-authors of Fish! is a vice president in Blanchard's organization. So now even the Motivational Mafia is controlled by interlocking directorates.

Even while they're capping real wages and making work more and more of a living hell every year, they are increasingly obsessed with whether we love Big Brother or not. Even as (and because) they make sure there's less and less in it for us materially, they want to indoctrinate the "what's in it for me?" attitude right out of us. The only people allowed to have a "what's in it for me?" attitude are the people running the show.

It's probably why HR Nazis are so fond of the Myers-Briggs test, as Barbara Ehrenreich said: to weed out the introverts. See, an introvert is somebody who finds social interaction draining and is energized by time alone to concentrate on private interests. So by definition, an introvert is someone who views work as a means to an end, something to escape from to one's real life at the end of the day. Not good at all, from the boss's POV.

See, it's not enough to show up and do your job decently. They have to know that you love Big Brother. They have to manufacture a myth of the happy darky in order to feel safe with all those slaves surrounding them in the plantation house.

When you're getting shit on by management, you can either fight back or learn to like shit. The latter is what Who Moved My Cheese? and Fish! are about--how I learned to stop worrying and love shit.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Pat Murtagh said...

Vancouver Island and its "neatness".
How very true...
The other year the wife and I were out in Victoria at a conference. As is my way I was cruising every bar in the downtown. As is her way the wife stayed at the hotel. I was at what is apparently the most famous microbrewery/bar/restaurant in the city, and I had struck up a yak-yak with a couple from England.
Being as I was no longer in Winnipeg I wasn't watching my back. Suddenly - "whack", but it wasn't the usual thing that you get from a barroom whack out here on the prairies.
The waitress was carrying a tray of beer that hit my head-mercifully my skull is very hard- and I got the proverbial beer bath. Soaked head to foot.
Huh,huh, what, what, fucking Jesus,etc. ! After a few billion apologies from the waitress and the manager, during which I was doing one of my comedy routines-"I've been bathed in the blood of the Lamb; I'm saved;I'm saved,Alleluia, etc." I received the following:
1)A free souvenier tee-shirt from the place and...
2)free beer for the rest of the night.
I staggered back to the hotel much later, still quite soaked but very happy.
The following should be noted:
1)If something hits you in the head in a bar in Winnipeg you assume that somebody wants to kill you. Comedy routines are not an option. Fast counterattack is.
2)The best you could expect out here on the prairies is an apology and NO demand that you pay for the spilled beer. It's a totally different world.
3)Everybody out here wants to retire to BC. Speaking of different worlds. Magical things happen there. As the son-in-law said, "Oh, you got a beer bath AND a tee shirt. It must have been the culmination of the dream of a lifetime".
Many good times in Nanaimo Larry. A place where wierd actions are the occasion for gut busting laughter and not plain gut busting. Hopefully things are still rather inexpensive in Nanaimo.
Pat the M.

7:19 PM  

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