TAKE THIS JOB AND CAN IT!

And to think that you can turn on the television any hour of any day and find a politician railing against the outsourcing of these manufacturing jobs, as if this is any great loss at all. The outsourcing hasn’t gone nearly far enough if you ask me; we should be outsourcing these factories to the ninth circle of hell, outsourcing them into oblivion! It’s not work fit for a human being….  —Franklin Schneider

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you think my last post featured jobs that stink — stink again. Franklin Schneider, author of CANNED (subtitled How I Lost Ten Jobs in Ten Years and Learned to Love Unemployment) has held every type of job — briefly. He’s detasseled corn in Iowa, served time at a doomed Internet start-up, and for one shining moment became the “Most Successful Telemarketer in America.” But his search for a fairly compensated, fulfilling position free of pointless drudgery taught him one thing: Such a job does not exist. And if it did, his boss would  probably be an a**hole [quoted from back cover].

CANNED is a book with an attitude you’ll probably either loathe or relate to. As I read it, I found myself doing a bit of both, because, although Schneider tells it like he sees it, I was left feeling — well, more or less like a combination of these reviews/reviewers:

“For the majority of you reading Canned, a feeling of contempt will wash over you toward the writer for exemplifying the worst in Americans. Others will read these words and show some form of remorse for the author and his ill-conceived notions as to what he is ‘entitled’ [collecting unemployment benefits while deliberately ducking work]. In either respect, I am sure that every one who is not a Marxist can agree, Franklin Schneider is the type of person this country can do without.” –Charles Signorile

“[It’s] a caustic celebration of the loser life, a ranting jeremiad against the working world and all its slavish pieties. It’s like watching Thoreau hand out tokens at the mall arcade, Melville grind his teeth in an Aeron chair at a media portal startup, or Bukowski lose his mind in an MCI telemarketing carrel: a twisted kind of fun.” –Tom Lutz

“Franklin Schneider’s writing is smart, energetic, funny, illuminating, outrageous, painful (in the best possible way), quirky, distinctive and wildly entertaining.” –Josh Emmons

*** * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ***

I view CANNED in the broader context of a roiling world of differing individuals, groups and classes who can’t put themselves in the other guy’s place, unable (or averse) to consider there may be a happier way to run a steamboat. The late comedienne Joan Rivers put it like this: “Can we talk?” The answer: Apparently not really (unless by “talk,” is meant moving our lips and making sounds). No wonder many of us just don’t “get it.” Sometimes it seems that only kids make allowances.

Like fellow lost-soul Schneider, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was young. Unlike him, I wound up falling into a thirty year career with one company while I “found myself.” It was a career in which I take neither great pride nor lasting prejudice (in other words, I worked to live, not lived to work), from which I was able to retire early and end up doing what I came to want to do. Was it worth putting up with all the “slavish pieties” one must observe along the way? Given the cards we’re dealt, I never felt as if I had a choice.

It’s easy to envy those who have the good fortune to earn a living doing what they love to do, but even some of them go off the deep end, unable to cope. For the everyone else of us, Franklin Schneider cites this quote: This is how the hero of our time must be. He will be characterized either by decisive inaction, or else by futile activity.* Perhaps so. In any case, I rest his case.

*from A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov

P.S. And what was it “I came to want to do?” Well, since you asked:

http://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2016/01/24

 

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15 comments on “TAKE THIS JOB AND CAN IT!

  1. I may have to read this book! I work to live right now, but would love to live for work. .. with the right job. I have never been on unemployment b4, but wouldn’t be ashamed to be now. I want to take classes to change careers, but have no time to go while working! Catch 22. 😯
    I need to change the way I feel about responsibility… why feel guilty about changing jobs when this is my life and I have only a short time to enjoy it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Don Frankel says:

    My 25 year career as a Civil Servant was at times exhilarating, challenging, boring, annoying, stressful, boring, fun and did I say boring? But it was, well, life.

    The best thing is to own your own business which I got to do as well. Now, I follow my passion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. arekhill1 says:

    Still working here. Never been on unemployment, disability or workman’s comp in my life. Find time to write, too, in addition to carving out time to sit on the couch and drink beer. How does it all get done? Saving time by skipping personal pronouns helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mistermuse says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Like

  5. literaryeyes says:

    This is a subject we don’t want to talk about, but many people are stuck in drudgery, and even worse, what they do has no lasting positive value. Most know it, but it’s easier to say, I’m doing it for my family, and I’ll “live” outside work. I love that you quoted Lermontov’s A Hero of our Time (some say a precursor to The Stranger); he was WAY ahead of his time. Worthwhile occupation may not bring you the same monetary compensation, but what is your sanity worth? I made little money doing what I believed was helpful to others, and in the process have a wealth of experience (if I modestly may say so!).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michaeline Montezinos says:

    Worked and or went to school from the age of 6. Schooling is work where you can only learn what your professor teaches. Finally had time to sit on the couch with my fourth daughter and loved every messy minute spent having babies and watching them grow. Not sure if marriage falls into any one of these categories . Maybe it has a passionate beginning and then the work begins. But it is a career you must want to pursue without selfishness and with devotion to responsibility. So I finally married the man who inspires me to do both.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mistermuse says:

    I can think of no job more important than being a stay-at-home mom (or dad, for that matter), but of course, that depends on the family financial situation and requirements (which shouldn’t put acquiring luxuries ahead of giving one’s kids the love, time and attention they need).

    Like

  8. Todd Duffey Writes on Things says:

    Hear hear! I’ve been an actor in cult films and TV shows, and yet I’ve also been on the government teat. If you’ve ever found something you absolutely love to do, nothing else will bring you the satisfaction of that thing. To those who haven’t found it, the point is moot. To those who have, they tax us for just such the occasion that, should we need it, it is there. Not to live off of. Simply to get us to the next opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse says:

      Wouldn’t it be heaven if everyone could earn a living doing what they love to do, whether it be digging ditches, writing the Great American or Great Armenian Novel, or sitting on the couch drinking beer (preferably craft beer). With all the promises politicians make, I don’t know why no candidate has promised that.

      Liked by 1 person

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