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MY JOB IS HELL!!!!! What did I do to deserve this? What? What did I do? Why does work have to suck so bad? Is it just the nature of things or is there some more sinister explanation? I'd really like to know because I suspect a conspiracy. Also, finally, can you tell me how to take stress disability so I can screw the company I work for out of lots of money and never have to work again? Thanks for your help.

Okay, excellent questions all. And very relevant since many people such as yourself who periodically experience employment during their life do encounter at some point the silmy, sticky, gooey pits of Hell known as Unbearable Job Stress, Job Hatred, Take This Job and Go Fuck Yourself in the Ass With It, Get Me Out of This Job I'm Dying, and Huffy Severe I Hate You All and Want to Quitness.

Now some of your questions we can answer quickly and others will lead us to embark on a long, meandering, time-wasting stroll through Job Philosophy 101 which will improve your attitude towards yourself and increase your cynicism towards everything else. Always a worthy endeavor!

So let's get started. First, let's dispense with the whole ridiculous idea of stress disability or whatever. Of course you can claim stress disability and stop working and screw the company you work for out of lots of money. You can even sue them if you'd like. You may not have a reason to, but this America, and you don't need one!

The only disadvantage to this plan of action for dealing with Job Stress - is that it's stressful! That's a major drawback. You'd think sitting around on your ass would be relaxing and soothing, but believe me, there's paperwork and bureaucracy involved and if you thought your actual job was bad, wait til you get a load of stress disability. It will fucking kill you. And soon everybody, even people that you actually liked who didn't have anything to do with your job, will see your paperwork and bureaucracy and lawsuit oppressed self and they will start to see you as a pathetic loser and they will all edge away from you surreptitiously until you are all alone in the middle of an invisible circle of isolation fighting Capitalism, Companies, The American Work Ethic, Bureaucracy, Injustice, The Health Care System, the Legal System, The Various State and Local Governments in your area, and your own Stress - all at once. You're not that ambitious! Forget about it.

Now you may know some people who taken stress leave or disability or what have you and you may think to yourself, Fuck! Those people have it made! Why am I not doing that? But realize that underneath it all, you fucking hate those people and despise them and think they're unnatural. They're unAmerican. They are Cheating The System, and screwing Institutions and big business and the government and other things that are bigger than them.

And that's just not the way to earn respect in this country. In this country, we earn respect, money, and adulation by screwing things that are smaller than us. For example, Bill Gates - maniacal destroyer of itsy-bitsy competitors, nascent products, small businesses, and the long-forgotten concept of computers that actually work is also Bill Gates - industrious, obscenely rich, and vastly admired. Whereas a Welfare Cheat is not. Welfare Cheat - bad and lazy. Bill Gates - powerful enough to kick your ass, no matter where your ass may be.

I'm not saying this is right or wrong. I'm merely gently suggesting that this is America, buddy, get with the program. If you want to be an American, then act like one, we work for what we get around here mister, get off your ass loser, stress is for pussies! We like being ruthlessly exploited in this country goddammit! It's one of the precious freedoms we fight and die for! (Well actually mostly our ancestors fought and died, thank goodness we didn't have to, that would really suck, but anyway somebody fought and died!). We know ruthless exploitation is the foundation of incredible billionaire richness and as long as we are being exploited then we feel in our guts we have the chance to get incredibly rich. And if you are the kind of exploitation rebel who'd rather take leave than work your exploited fingers to the bone -well then I guess you just don't want to get rich now do you, you pinko America-hating Commie! And so on.

Better I say this to your face now - because other people will certainly think it behind your back. When you get off the treadmill and start cashing in on the system's freebies, you make everyone else feel stupid for their blind dedication to their own misery - and nobody likes that! Everyone will hate you!

Now that I have scared you off stress disability and unexpectedly subjected to you some entirely undeserved verbal abuse, it's time to move on to conspiracy theories! Because you weren't really going to file a stress claim or anything else, you don't even know how. And finding out how would involve researching your rights and dealing with HR and all sorts of other things you are too lazy and depressed to do, god bless you.

So let's move on to your idea that there's a conspiracy. Of course there is. It's a conspiracy of Capitalism and Human Nature. Those two big guns have teamed up to press your squirming little body into a job-sized Hell. Capitalism is, among other things, an Idea, and when Ideas and Human Nature team up, watch out, all kinds of Fucked Up Shit is bound to ensue.

Ideas are one of Human Nature's very most favorite ways to fuck itself up, and when Human Nature and Capitalism conspire to waltz around together in your neck of the woods an incredibly bountiful multitude of shit jobs will shower like fireworks from their love affair and they will land on your head scorching and singeing you until you are bouncing around screaming 'Ouch! Shit! I am being showered with the scorching sparks of Capitalism and Human Nature in my shit job as I try desperately to clamber my way out of the gooey, slimy pit of Job Hell.' Or something like that. If you are really tired, you may just say 'God, I hate my job so much.'

Either way, let's face it, you are not going to fucking reform either Capitalism or Human Nature. Not only is reforming these things a Big Job With a Low Salary (take a look at the lives of Social Workers if you are not convinced) but you don't even want to. Even if you don't much care for Human Nature, you like Capitalism and reforming it is boring. People have tried - it's boring. They are still trying - it's boring. Reform involves massive quantities of Ideas and Other People and you don't like either of these things. And while you and everyone else may be secretly convinced that your own personal job is Not a Good Idea, you and everyone else are still convinced that Jobs In General must be a Good Idea because they Power the Economy and so on. You can't fight big Ideas like that, you are too tired from working in your stress pit Job Hell to even want to fucking figure them out.

Let's face it - if there is going to be a conspiracy involved in your Job Hell, you want it to be a much more interesting one. Because what you want is not reform - it's Emotional Satisfaction. That's why you want to fantasize about being rich and never having to work again, winning the lottery and never having to work again, taking stress disability and never having to work again, getting another job that pays so much you'll never have to work again, or even killing your boss, or proving to all the fucked up people in your Job Environment how fucked up they are until they are overcome with remorse, or Quitting In a Huff, or any of a number of other things that will provide that elusive Emotional Satisfaction.

So let's hone in on the source of your Emotional Dissatisfaction, take aim at it, kill it in an emotionally satisfying way, stomp on it after it's dead, and then celebrate, exult, dance around, and generally tell everyone that doesn't like your triumph that they can kiss your ass.

Sound like fun? Okay, let's start.

Job Hell Principle #1: The source of your Emotional Dissatisfaction is the existence of Other People connected with your Job.

Sometimes it will seem like the source of your dissatisfaction is long hours, low pay, lack of advancement opportunity, overwork, stress, unreasonable demands, lousy working conditions, or something else abstract that is not directly caused by Other People. But think about it - who the hell is demanding that you work those long hours? You? Of course not. Other People are. Who the hell is paying you that lousy low salary? You? Of course not. Other People are. Who's responsible for those unreasonable demands, that hellacious stress, that overwork and those lousy working conditions? Other Fucking People, that's who.

The Other People may be corporate bigwigs who set company policy, they may be Titans of Industry who built the goddamn factory, they may be your very own boss, co-workers, direct reports, rivals in other departments, or even someone else. Other People can pop up anywhere in your job, and unexpectedly. They can make more money than you or less, they may know your name or they may not. But there they are, popping out from around corners, pouncing on you, and affecting your Job Situation. You may call it a Personality Conflict, or you may call it That Bitch Who Runs My Department, or that Goddamn Incompetent Director of Accounting, or Those Idiots I Work With or That Problem Employee, The Client From Hell, or just Office Politics. Whatever you call it - your problem is Other People. It's enough to make you want to get a job as a forest ranger where all you have to deal with is grizzly bears. (Bonus Tip: Forest rangers accidentally have to deal with Other People too. So you can cross that one off your list.)


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