This morning, work started by me meeting a woman – let’s call her Ms. X – out in the parking lot who was in the throes of a nervous breakdown. She’s on her way to the hospital now; she told me she was going “over the edge” because of this dump we work in – she feels mistreated and taken advantage of. I know her and her job, and she’s not wrong; her bosses treat her like shit and get her to do extra work for them. Then they fuck her on her review and rob her of the dignity she allows them to bestow upon her.
When did we all start living like this? When did work become this way? The industrial revolution? The “invention” of offices in the fifties? Are things better or worse then they used to be? To quote Tyler Durden “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” I wish I could be all high and mighty, all Henry David Thoreau about this whole thing, but I can’t seem to do it. I’m stuck just like the rest of us.
I was talking with the husband of Anastasia’s cousin one day, and he confided in me how much he made. He is the sole provider for his wife and three children. He pays monthly child support for a daughter from a previous marriage. When he told me what he made, I almost fell over; it was so little in comparison to what I make. I felt a rush of shame – how can this dude support a family of four with a salary so low?
It’s because of my perspective. Because I’m out buying shit I don’t need constantly; things I “can’t live without.” What happened to the person who was able to live on fifty bucks a week in college? Was that person the “right” person, or am I the “right” person, with all this stuff I think I need around me? Why do I never seem to have enough money?
L. Dennis Kozlowski is on trial for looting $600 million from Tyco International. God knows what he was worth before the robbery. Is it ever enough?
I already know the answer – no. Money begets itself. It’s a ravenous beast that is never sated; it consumes everything – you, the things you own, the person you are – everything. It’s the reason why, despite being in the hospital right now dumping her guts out to a therapist, despite holding on to sanity by what she feels is the thinnest of threads, Ms. X will be in tomorrow to answer those phones.