Imagine if there was a method guaranteed to reduce your personal productivity by 35 to 75 percent. Would you take it? If you could choose to leave your own technology and software tools sitting idle at home, in a comfortable work space, arranged to your liking, to instead work on older, less powerful computers, with worse and fewer software tools and inferior Internet connectivity, chosen by somebody else, at a desk in an open plan room, would you choose that? Would you choose to create your best work in an environment where two out of three people have to hack workarounds, just to get their work done? If there was a working arrangement purpose-designed to screw you over and take full advantage of your creative output, while returning only a small sliver of the value of that output to you in return, would that seem like a good deal?
What if there was somebody whose sole focus was on preventing you from experimenting, learning, taking chances, failing, changing the pattern of your work and the products of your creativity, seeing new opportunities, innovating or self-directing your work? Would you keep working with them, even though their entire purpose is to hold you back and slow you down, for fear of losing control of you?
Would you choose to work somewhere that insisted that you fit in, instead of standing out? If only one in ten of your colleagues, at this mythical workplace, believed it provided them with the means to achieve their dreams and become their best self, would that be a place conducive to fostering your creativity? What if the organisers of that workplace saw you as a cost to be reduced, not as a value creator with loads of unrealised potential and a consumer of the organisation’s own products? Would you feel great about devoting a big piece of your life to that?
Welcome to the world of the day job – an arrangement that has been so one sided, in favour of the monied, for so long, that it is in very real danger of being a significant drain on the creative capacity of all of humanity. It has had an entrenched monopoly position for so long, viciously defended, that not working in a job has been almost totally impractical. The toll, in terms of lost opportunity, unrealised productivity and innovation, in crushed dreams and souls, is incalculable and tragic.
There are technologies that have the potential to overturn this situation, reducing the stranglehold that capital has over creative individuals. Blockchain has the potential to favour individuals, rather than companies. People are also simply refusing to work under these oppressive conditions. It makes no sense to them, when their work is their life. Why would any sane, rational person choose to be held back, in their life’s work and personal development? Why would they leave their self-actualisation to people asking the wrong questions?
But these are not the only dangers associated with having a day job, to support your art practice. Companies are often the refuge of people that aren’t very creative or innovative. As a highly creative, innovative person, you’ll be met with petty jealousies and people who think it their company-mandated duty to micromanage the creativity and innovation right out of you. You represent change and they resist change violently.
If, heaven forbid, your innovations actually make sense, those that have limited creative and innovative capacity, but who are in charge, will insist that your ideas cannot be implemented until they have thought them through themselves. They don’t trust your conclusions. They need to think about them in their own time. This, of course, is ridiculous. If they had any capacity for creative, innovative thought, they’d have reached the same conclusions you have already, but they haven’t been paying attention thus far and are unlikely to have a creative, innovative epiphany simply by taking their time about it. More likely, they’ll spend their thinking time marshalling spurious arguments against the change you propose.
So, as an artist, those are your choices, today. Spend your time fighting with one hand tied behind your back against the allied forces of capital, or acquiesce and work for a company, to fund your art, dealing with the frustration of being arbitrarily held back, for a large portion of your life. It’s not much of a choice, is it?
The hope is that this absurd arrangement has already almost played itself out and that blockchain technology will utterly transform the basis of value creation and reward. Time will tell. What we know is that the current world of work cannot sustain social contentment. The cracks are already showing. Change will come, one way or another.
Something’s got to give.