Jan 30, 2021

The Way Out of a Factory Job

The Way Out of a Factory Job

The Way Out of a Factory Job

Nathan King

Drudgery kills. At least, that’s what it looks like in Joe vs the Volcano. The movie opens with Joe, played by Tom Hanks, shuffling in to work along with scores of other people. They plod, Zombie-like, in to what looks like a factory. Inside, dimly lit fluorescents buzz, a manager yells repetitive and inane thoughts into the phone, and Joe realizes at the onset of this day at the factory job, that he is dying.  

So if shrinking a clip from a movie by 50% is enough modification to allow it onto YouTube for 11+ years, then modifying the modification by -50% (for a tota...

The “factory job,” more often in a cubicle in the 21st century, is impersonal and repetitive. You are not hired for your talents, but for your capacity to complete a task, over and over. The company pays for the task, knowing that some will overperform while others underperform. Seth Godin points out that while you overperform, your colleague who doesn’t sits idly by, earning the same wage. It adds insult to injury. Why should you, Godin asks, accept "factory work at factory wages only to subsidize the boss?" [1]Is the "factory job" mind-numbing, or were our minds already numbed before we ended up there? Drudgery numbs the mind. But the work that we describe as drudgery also suits an already numbed mind. They are made for each other.  Deeply embedded, self-limiting, mind-numbing patterns leave us with a gaze fixed on merely what is in front of us, not on what is possible. We trade our potential to live freely, develop ourselves economically and experience something amazing for a small job in a dimly lit room with buzzing lights. A mind frozen by inertia loves a static life.Psychiatrist Curt Thompson points out that this static inertia, this numbness, is a mental place characterized by shame.[2] This shame is a deep emotion that arises out of events and patterns in our past. And once it settles over us it binds us to a much diminished life.We feel trapped, but we’re not. A potent energy stands by for us to tap in to. "Love bids us to move," he writes. It is an antidote to the factory worker life. The movement that love pushes us towards results in accepting personal responsibility. Every day we make micro-decisions toward a life of shame – drudgery, of being the "factory worker" that someone else gains from – or towards being the boss of our own life. Love takes us towards being the boss. In each micro-decision, says Thompson, we choose either "a more integrated, resilient life of connection with God and others, or a more disintegrated, separated, chaotic and rigid life." Those of us who find ourselves in the "factory worker life" want to choose to be the boss, but we struggle to shed the shame. The good news, we know what the category of love looks like, and can begin to train ourselves in choosing to respond to the possibility of love. If we do that, we won't even notice that we aren't a factory worker anymore. Our lives will unfold in unimaginably rich ways, blossoming in creativity and meaning.References[1] Seth Godin. Linchpin. Kindle Edition, Location 469[2] Curt Thompson. Soul of Shame. Kindle Edition. Location 2675.




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