Our education systems are failing. People aren’t excited to leave college with a degree anymore. They’re scared. College graduates are having hard times finding jobs that pay anything beyond minimum wage. They’re overqualified. There’s nothing for them. There is so much anxiety about the future and our traditional methods aren’t fixing it. And more and more, people like me are burying ourselves in student debt only to feel trapped by what we’ve invested so much time and energy into. I think there are a lot of us in our late 20s who did the math and realized we’d be more financially well off if we opted out of college and worked at McDonald’s after high school. I have brilliant friends with college degrees who don’t feel any better off for it because they’re working a job that isn’t fulfilling. The only difference is that they HAVE to work that unfulfilling job now because they’re chained to debt; debt that was incurred so they could be happy in their work from day to day. It’s not delivering and people are restless.
And I could be wrong. But there’s a thing inside of me that looks at all of the anxious, depressed people around me and it hits me that in a lot of ways our generation is completely lost and bottoming out. And bottoming out is a magical thing. When a person bottoms out they start from zero. They get to recreate the rules. They don’t feel pressured to get a job that uses their degree so they don’t feel like they’ve wasted time. They get to dream up new rules. When an entire generation bottoms out, they change the world and dream up a new way to look at it.
—Ted Winkworth, Why I’m Trading a House and Salary for a Motorcycle and Map (via lenticular-clouds)
But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.
We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.