Reader Mailbag: Career Advice

10 Aug
image stolen from

image stolen from

Bob Marley writes:

Since you know so much about careers, I wanted to ask for your personal opinion on which would be wise for a young lad in England to pursue.

I’ll take to heart whatever your decision may be.

Work is fundamentally evil. No matter what, it will make you unhappy. If you do what you love as work, you will come to hate it. Maybe this is not true of rock stars. But no future rock star ever asked for career advice.

So it doesn’t matter what you actually do for work. Live cheaply, and work at the place with the most pretty girls.

I’ve worked many jobs, as you note. I flipped burgers.* I packed unicorn-shaped candelabras on an assembly line for cornfed soccer moms to sell at pyramid scheme parties, nine at night until five in the morning. I hauled splintery lumber and jagged finger-amputating sheet metal around on construction sites. Painted pipes with toxic paint right next to a hand-amputating exhaust fan that sucked up solvent fumes from the whole job site into my face. I was on top of a ladder which was itself on two stories of scaffolding. I’d get woozy and almost fall to my death several times per day. I telemarketed. I sold ads for Tantric Sex Retreats™ at a shitty small town newspaper. I answered fifteen different sniveling pricks’ phones in Hollywood. Got berated endlessly over nothing, just like Swimming with Sharks. Held back tears as a grown man.

Eventually I had a “prestige” job at a “cool” production company. Everybody I met got excited, wanted to show me their script. Get themselves cast on something. When I told people what I did I sounded accomplished for once. I met celebrities. Hung out with filmmakers I’d fantasized about meeting since I was a kid. I’d thought that was my dream.

It sucked. It sucked ass so hard that I hate movies now.

My boss was a prick, and there were no girls around. So the “cool” job felt the same as flipping burgers. Your happiness has nothing to do with what you do. It has everything to do with who you’re with.

I’ve only been happy about getting up in the morning when there were girls at work. Hot interns, cute new hires, fellow waitstaff, whatever. When you have a work crush, your day has meaning. You are human again. Because your purpose as a human animal is not to make some rich prick point three per cent more money. Your purpose is to connect with other people and bring joy into their lives. Let them bring it into yours. In other words: fucking.

If you don’t have real emotional contact with people at the place you spend all your time, you have to scrimp for it elsewhere. Chase it desperately in your meager exhausted hours outside the office. “Pick up” girls at bars. Spam OKCupid. Mercenary, mechanistic hollow versions of connection.

The good news is: you’re fucked anyway. You couldn’t sell out even if you wanted to. There are few “real” jobs now and soon there will be none. Doctors have to see fifteen patients an hour. Hurriedly scratch out a script for whatever insurance-approved drug gave them a free pen. Their pay will get pushed down and down. There are more lawyers than we will ever need. Bankers will get strung up soon. Unions are dead. You can’t make 36 an hour to tighten engine bolts at the Chevy factory. “Stable” government jobs are fucked. You can put in 50 years and they’ll take your pension away with the stroke of a pen. Your education will be useless. Not just the “liberal arts” but the much ballyhooed “STEM fields” too. Tech jobs will be exported to Indians. Or Indians will be imported here. Despite their billions in available cash, tech companies “can’t afford” to train domestic labor. They must look for slaves in places where the water gives you parasites. Don’t get me started on journalism, the arts, making money on the internet.

Unfortunately, you will still have to try to “succeed.” We all gotta eat. But more importantly, we all have to answer “what do you do.” So you will work and work and work and crush the best parts of your body, mind and soul for a hundred hours a week. For money that barely sustains you. For the ability to not sound like a loser at parties. For the promise of “getting somewhere.” There is no somewhere. You will not get rich. To be rich, you have to own shit. To own shit, you have to inherit shit. Or in a distant second place, you have to make money your life’s purpose by giving up your soul and conscience. Every self made rich person is an asshole. There are no exceptions.

Forget about work. Don’t think about it. Work is a nuisance to avoid, not a dream to obsess over. Live cheaply. Work as little as possible. Do it around cool people and pretty girls. If you can pull this off, you will solve the problem of loneliness. Which can solve the problem of unhappiness. Which is what people stupidly work and chase money for.

But then, how the fuck would I know.

* A McDonald’s grill veteran knows this is merely an expression. You do not flip the burger. McDonald’s proprietary clamshell grill technology cooks the meat evenly on both sides at once, to delicious perfection.


32 Responses to “Reader Mailbag: Career Advice”

  1. docillusion August 10, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Learn a trade. Become a diesel mechanic or marine engine mechanic, those guys make bank. Learn to weld. Become a plumber.

    In the words of Vox Day, as long as people are eating and drinking they need plumbers. And everyone wants the lights to stay on, so they need electricians.

    Also, the trades aren’t crowded. We are desperate for new blood because everyone wants a desk job.

    • pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn August 10, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

      I got a buddy went through an apprenticeship for underwater welding, that motherfucker makes loot. But he’s never home, he’s constantly travelling. He worked on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, he worked in fucking China somewhere for awhile. Right now he’s working on these power turbines at the bottom of the East River in NYC. Dangerous as fuck, but, hey, that’s why he gets paid what he does.

      Same thing with electricians. I remember when I first started my apprenticeship they showed us a slideshow of arc flash victims with fucking charred stumps where their hands used to be, or just completely roasted like pigs, and at the end of it my teacher says to us, “this is why you get paid what you do.” And it’s really not that much comparatively.

      I’ve never gotten seriously hurt, just a few minor mishaps. Sliced the shit out of my hand with a razor knife one time stripping wire drunk and had to get like thirty stitches. Had a 480V ballast blow up in my face doing site lighting maintenance in a bucket truck, cause the dude I was with was talking on his cell phone when he was supposed to be taking apart the fused connectors at the base of the pole. I opened the light up and started working on it like it was dead and BOOM. Luckily I didn’t get hurt. My uncle had a big-ass spool of 500 mcm cable fall on his foot and cut off three of his toes.

    • Anonymous October 23, 2014 at 1:34 am #

      Who gives a fuck about “making bank” at a shitty 100 hr job with no women

  2. dressyarson August 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    God, you are such an unmitigated loser. You have actually managed to work yourself into such a state that you can never find meaningful, lasting happiness. And apparently you continue to dig yourself deeper every day. You put all of your emotional stock in a standard of value that is how others perceive you and how you compare to them instead of how successfully you meet your own needs. The purpose of life is survival and happiness, not slavishly to obey some monkey instinct for approval and validation.

    I love the work I do so much I get excited when the phone rings. And I’ve got even better things in the works. Creating something beautiful and amazing is the only source of happiness that never dies. And maybe that’s not your vocation, but it doesn’t have to be.

    • L. Roy Aiken August 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      So many money quotes in here. For all I know you’re exaggerating a little when you said you didn’t like movies anymore, but I was once in a band. Wanted to be a rock star. I got to hating it so much (for reasons too lengthy to go into here) I didn’t listen to music for a week after I quit. You’d think it’s neat to be able to name the key a song is in and what it’s doing in the middle-eight, the turnaround, the coda. Fuck that. It’s horrible, especially when you find yourself doing it for no damn good reason but force of habit. It was months before I even picked up a guitar again. I missed hearing songs as *songs,* something you nod your head along to, not some mechanical contraption to be taken apart and duplicated exactly. “Here’s that chord change that really hooks ’em! You only play it once here, but you allude to it later just after the second turnaround….”

      Later, I let myself be talked into playing guitar for someone else’s “vision” of an original band. It turned out this guy just like yelling at people and bossing them around. He had no desire whatsoever to succeed. He took pride in alienating people because if you didn’t agree with him, that just meant he was the Lone Voice of Truth. The good thing about that is when I was fired, radio pop was actually a subversive relief to listen to, knowing “Granny” (as I ended up calling this guy, because he bitched like a fussy old woman about everything) wouldn’t approve.

      Moral of story: If you want to be a rock star, don’t work for other people. Not in a covers band, not in someone’s “vision.” Just write and arrange your own music, hire your own people, and pray you don’t suck. Although I think no one will ever suck quite like “dressyarson” above, who loves sucking cock for a living so much his mouth waters when he hears the phone ring. Just remember, son: “They can see your smile over the phone” so DON’T STOP SMILING, SLAVE. And who said you could get on the Internet and brag about your cocksucking job to other people? We’re gonna have to let you go if you don’t shape up and meet this week’s metrics! That load won’t swallow itself! Now, don’t forget, SMILE! The customer likes getting VALUE.

    • vsoze August 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

      “I love the work I do so much I get excited when the phone rings. And I’ve got even better things in the works. Creating something beautiful and amazing is the only source of happiness that never dies.”

      hahahahahaha. Sure, old sport, sure.

  3. Another Mary August 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I don’t have a career question. I’m pretty happy with my job; I make alot of money. I’ve been there for awhile, so I can pretty much come and go as I please. I’m repeatedly reprimanded for my attitude, but they’ll never get rid of me. My attys really like me cause I’m an asshole like they are. I guess I’m curious about what kind of music you listen to. I think you can tell alot about a person as to what they listen to. For example, I’m going through my working class British phase right now, so I’m listening to Sham 69, The Jam, maybe some GBH and Anti-Nowhere League mixed in. I’m not above listening to Bon Iver and my favorite group of all time is Wu-Tang. What do you listen to? When a girl comes over, do you put mood music on? What is it?

    • pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn August 10, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      DT listens to folk music like Surfjan Stevens and Mumford & Sons and fucking, who’s that fucking guy sings the song if you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts could tell. Just like a paperback novel, bout a ghost in the wishing well. In a castle daaarrkkkk or the forrrrrtres strong with chaaaaiiiinnnnsss upon my feet, you know that ghost is DT? That guy. That’s probably why he’s so depressed, he listens to all that emotional shit. Probably listens to a lot of Morrissey and Joy Division, too. The Cure. Shit like that.

      Here ya go, add this to your British Punk playlist.

      The problem with Punk is you gotta sift through mountains of shitty songs to find a gem.

      • delicioustacos August 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

        True story, I’ve been singing that song to myself all day. The Gordon Lightfoot one you’re talking about. I used to listen to it with Gertrude. I don’t remember what prompted us to play it. But we would listen to it over and over. I remember looking it up, finding out that the “ghost in the wishing well” refers to an old Abbott & Costello movie. Maybe you are her sock puppet. I hope so. We used to talk about how your comments were better than the actual blog.

        I went down to the duck pond today and saw a girl that looked like her, so, the song started playing in my head I guess. Or not even. I was just sitting under a palm tree writing about girls who were near me. Here is an excerpt:

        Girl kneeling in the grass, her ass sticking out. Tight olive drab shorts. A robust ass for an Asian woman. She looks like Gertrude. Maybe it’s her. She has a Skrillex haircut. I want to eat her out. Work my tongue all over her nice sweaty snatch. Now she’s leaving. She can detect my thoughts.

        And I had an idea to not jerk off for a day and go to the park and write about every girl who walks by. At the top would be a youtube link to that exact Gordon Lightfoot song, “If You Could Read My Mind.”

      • pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn August 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

        Gordon Lightfoot, that’s the guy. Christ, that folk music is depressing. Here’s a folk song that’ll cheer you up:

        Better than the original.

        You still haven’t written the shit jobs assembly line post you said you were gonna. You can title that one Shit Jobs: Behind The Candelabra

      • pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn August 11, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

        I saw you mention Gordon Lightfoot on one of your tweets on the sidebar there months ago, and that’s the only song I know of by him, that’s why I threw it in. Don’t know how the fuck I remembered it – the tweet or the lyrics. When I was a kid I had a photographic memory, I could recite half of a fucking movie line for line if I watched it a couple times. But I destroyed it doing a lot of drugs, I think.

  4. L. Roy Aiken August 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    Goddamn it, I didn’t mean to reply to that crotch-snogging idiot up there (except at the end, when I call his weak ass out). That was supposed to be a standalone comment. Shit. My bad. Back to the zombie mines for me.

  5. pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn August 11, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    Unions aren’t dead, but they are dying. We still got a stranglehold on construction in the Northeast, but we get no love from the politicians beyond the local level. The Democratic Party pays lip service to organized labor, but when push comes to shove they will, and have, hung us out to dry. They don’t need us anymore. Union membership is low enough, and they have enough young voters distracted with bullshit identity politics: gay marriage, feminism, multiculturalism – oh, and if these 11 million illegal immigrants do get amnesty, fucking forget it; they’ll probably start trying to actively dismantle us like the Republican Party is doing right now. Membership is declining, but there is still hope for trade unionism.

    And you can’t even picket properly anymore. It’s funny, I turn on Fox News and hear Bill O’Reilly calling us “union thugs.” I honestly wish we could live up to the reputation. In my union hall there’s a plaque dedicated to the guys who died on picket lines since the founding of the local. Gone are the days when you could jump on a picket line and crack some fucking heads. Gone are the days when you could go to a developer and say, “hey listen, you’re gonna hire union labor on this job, or we’re gonna come back here in a couple weeks and unbolt your fucking building.” People don’t realize that that’s the type of shit that it took to even get them to negotiate. Nowadays you can’t even raise your voice without some wormy cocksucker secretly recording you with a camera phone. You saw that clip I posted of the carpenter’s business agent. Nowadays it’s all about public image. You are never going to get the public on your side until you’re as destitute as they are. And that’s why it’s been so easy to dismantle the unions over the years, because most people have a crab bucket mentality. Instead of asking their bosses why they don’t get the wages and benefits that union members receive, they ask why union members don’t get the wages and benefits that they receive.

    Here’s the thing with the trades: unless you open your own business, work 80 hours a week, or get into a union, you are not gonna make decent money. I know a bunch of experienced, knowledgeable, skilled non-union electricians, and not one of them makes over $25 an hour. These are guys that have been in the trade 10, 15 years. Forget a pension, they get some bullshit 401k where the employer matches up to every fucking 5 cents they contribute. Maybe they get a thousand dollar Christmas bonus. If they want a raise they gotta go in and beg their fucking boss, and they better hope he’s not eyeing up a shore house or a new Mercedes, cause if he is, well, then they’re fucked. And you can bet your ass that if Mexicans were able to do electrical work, they wouldn’t even have a job.

  6. Emily August 11, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    *real emotional contact*

    So that is what you strive for/advise?

    *Your purpose is to connect with other people and bring joy into their lives. Let them bring it into yours. In other words: fucking.*

    And this comes from…fucking?

    Funny how,via email, you explained to me that I had come to this conclusion mistakenly:

    “…you have built up some idea of what you need out of sex. Fucking is just fucking. It’s just a mechanical act. ”

    I think there is work worth doing. Life is a process of finding it. It’s important to ignore advice.

  7. Anonymous August 11, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    So… is anyone really happy? Other than the Mozart from the previous post, of course.

    • bawz August 11, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Obviously no one is ever happy in this day and age, because we’ve allayed our fears about the meaning existence and death that were previously mitigated by the fallacies of religion and community with an even more devoid-of-soul medium centered around consumerism, sexual competition and the resultant rocks off end that they are means to.

      You’d probably be pretty happy if you actually had to provide for yourself in the world and you managed to kill a rabbit and find a hole to eat it in, though.

  8. Anonymous August 11, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Gertrude? God.
    Fantasy is all you want

  9. Mike August 11, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I’ve got a ‘job’. I’m a car salesman. I’m also young and healthy.

    I do actually like my job. I’m not micromanaged, I work on salary plus comission and usually determine my routine and how much work I need to do. There is actually a lot of freedom and ample time for computer use. I am good at what I do, so the owner of the dealership and all my managers like me. Work is good….

    However, relationships are a screaming failure for me.

    I have to go way out of my way to have any interactions with real potential women. And this is usually a self defeating process. You should see me out there. Driving from city area to city area, mall to mall. Bars, the beach, starbucks, barnes and noble, yoga class, wherever.. Trying to find girls that I’m attracted to who are also attracted to me. It’s a frustrating game. I went this whole weekend without any real hopeful conversations or numbers. I want to kill myself, I havent eaten in a day. Girls don’t really reject me, they just stop talking and walk away.

    Having dinner with my buddy yesterday the cute waitress left her phone number for him. Oh fuck. I literally found out what it feels like to be the fat girl whos friend always gets hit on.

    Fuck man it didn’t used to be like this. When did my value drop so hard? Why are only fat girls and hopeless women giving me approach signals?

    It sucks because since graduating college I’ve had terrible luck with women. No amount of reading can change that. And you know what I think it has to really do with the shit you’re writing about. You NEED that proximity to cute girls. You need to be in a position where they can witness you executing your dominance.

    fuck man I need to make life changes. fuck

    • vsoze August 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

      You came to the right place, mate. Just read DT and Bukowski, mirror them a little in relation to women and philosophy of life, putting your own spice in it, and you will be good to go.

    • roboticist August 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Here’s my advice: fuck some hookers. Not as good as finding a woman who actually wants to be with you, but it’ll restore your sanity. If you happen to live in CA, there’s a nice site called myredbook.

  10. Little Miss S August 12, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    I miss your Gertrude entries

  11. Bob Marley August 13, 2013 at 12:34 am #

    Cheers delicioustacos, this was the kind of advice I was looking for. Even that guy pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn gave a good shout. I guess I should rethink my goals of getting a physics degree at Oxbridge….

  12. Roe Jogan August 13, 2013 at 10:01 am #

    Good shit, man. Some real talk.

    Remember that quote from Fight Club, something like:

    We were raised to believe that one day we’d be millionaires, movie gods, and rock stars, but were not. And we’re slowly learning that fact.

    I think today’s version of that is:

    We were raised to believe that we could follow our passion, and make money doing something we love, but we can’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact.

    Ever notice that the people who make money online are teaching people how to make money online?

    Ever notice how the people selling the follow your passion idea just happen to be following their passion of teaching people to follow their passion?

    Not everyone can have a location independent, passive income financed, passion-fueled, muse-funded, 4 hour work week, dream job.

    This generation knows it won’t be rock stars and movie gods, but what about startup founders, niche business entrepreneurs, food truck vendors, ebook sellers, online money makers, or Etsy shop owners selling artisanal cutting boards?

    FollowYourPassion-ers are the new Rockstars. Do What You Love is the new delusional dream job.

    Except this time it wasn’t a dream sold by the mass media, it was a dream sold by the “rock stars” themselves through internet and social media.

    Fantasies for sale. Five dollars a pop.

    • anon1 August 15, 2013 at 6:17 am #

      The irony of that whole scene being brad pitt was then and is a millionaire movie god, rock star

  13. dust850 August 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Reblogged this on Medical School Trap and commented:
    funny stuff..great writing

  14. Robby September 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Very shortly this website will be famous amid all blogging
    and site-building people, due to it’s good content


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