Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wage Slave

I now have my first regular full-time job. It's right and proper that I should get paid, of course, but it also feels strange.

I've pinpointed the awkward feeling to three things:
  1. Many of the activities of my new job are very similar to things I used to do in college for free. If I were an undergraduate, I would probably be expected / willing to do this job for free, if not even pay to have the opportunity. But once I pass the magical boundary of Commencement, I suddenly get the right to demand payment for providing these services. That's strange, isn't it?
  2. When you're working in large group projects, it's hard to tell how much your labor is worth. When your contribution gets mixed in with everyone else's, how do you tell how much your contribution is worth? The wage you receive seems strangely detached from your work.
  3. Participating in the labor market doesn't just mean getting money for your service. It also means refusing service if there's no money. Otherwise how would people take your fees seriously? If the work is tedious and unpleasant, refusing service is rather easy. But if you go into work that you love, and which you would probably do for free anyway (which is what they tell you to do in all those Commencement Addresses in the first place, right?), then you're trapped between your natural instinct and your need for money, which can make you feel either cheap or unappreciated, depending on whether the former or latter feeling is stronger.

1 comment:

  1. Dude, capitalism is weird! I'm also confused by this full-time job thing, which is why I went to graduate school and why I'm considering all the possible ways I can get a full-time job that is in essence everything I do now so that I can keep living my life without being confused. I just don't get how real jobs work. Let me know when you figure it out, okay?