Monday, October 10, 2016

Capitalism is a Bummer

Tomorrow is my first day at my contract job. I'll have to get up earlier than I'm used to, navigate the traffic hell of the Seattle area, and spend 8-9 hours in a place full of strangers, away from home. No matter how hard I work, I have to stay there.

For a serious introvert, this is hard. Today I feel a sadness, almost a grief as though my time working from home is dead, even though this is only a three to six month contract. Still, even three months feels like a long time.

I know I'll get used to it over time, but today I find myself thinking about the tragedy that is capitalism in the U.S. It's pretty terrible that we're all expected to sell our time and energy in order to live. It totally sucks that what was supposed to be an eight-hour workday to give us eight hours for ourselves and eight hours for sleep has grown to nine hours including lunch, which is unpaid, and that doesn't even account for the time it takes to get ready and get to work. 

If I end up taking the bus (which I probably will because parking is clearly inadequate at the office building), considering how much time I need to get ready (something that is very often more time consuming for women due to the beauty ideals place upon us that require that we put a certain amount of care into our appearance to even be considered "professional") in both the morning and at night, plus the time needed to make dinner unless I want to spend a ton of money on pre-made meals or eat heavily processed foods for three months, that leaves me with maybe two to three hours each weekday for myself.

Minus the mandatory overtime that I've been told will happen.

It's been speculated that all this is intentional. Leaving people with only a couple precious hours to decompress and recharge (something I desperately need as an introvert with anxiety) makes them better consumers. We'll buy anything to save ourselves a few precious minutes. I know in the past that I've been desperate to find ways to extend the amount of time I can spend at home, playing video games and pretending that I have any semblance of control over my life. I've hated a lot of jobs in my time and battled depression and general misery because I just hate having to spend so much of my life in a place I don't want to be, doing things that are either dull or make me anxious.

I know things are different now. I've done a lot of work on myself and have learned better coping mechanisms and better thought patterns. But I'm still afraid that I'll spend the next three to six months becoming increasingly miserable because maybe not enough has changed. Maybe I can't do it. But I need the money.

But mostly, what has me so sad that after I finish writing this I may need to go have a cry, is that this is necessary for me now and for so many others. There are so many people who have to work more difficult jobs that are utterly undervalued, maybe two or three different jobs, that have nothing to do with what they enjoy or are passionate about, and have nearly no time to themselves at all, especially if they have children. I honestly don't know how people do it. Maybe I am more mentally ill than I give myself credit for. Maybe I underestimate the human ability to adapt and survive, which is incredible.

The point is, I hate that this is what life has become for so many, and it's expected in this country and so many others. I hope the human species can survive and reach a socialist state that isn't attacked by capitalist imperialists. I hope someday that we can have universal basic income, and people can do what they want and still survive, even if they're not getting paid for whatever they choose to do. But I don't have much hope that I'll see that in my lifetime.

I think we should all be outraged that we're made to live like this. This is not just how the world is. Things could be different. Please remember that. Please believe that.

No comments: