I’m at the mall, waiting for my wife to try on some clothes. There are few people in the shop, it’s a working day, lunchtime.
A conversation nearby catches my attention.
“You know in IT, to get a raise, you have to change companies.”
The phrase reaches my ear, and then, continuing scrolling on my phone I listen carefully to the conversation.
The lady in charge, in a confident and contented tone, tells about her son who ended up working for a software company in the US. After more details, she asks her conversation partner if she has been to the US. The other lady also visited US, just once, and was not impressed by the experience. The prices are higher than in Germany and the places she has been were not that special.
The programmer’s mother quickly replies, trying to defend America’s pristine image: Honey, don’t be selfish, look, I visited America last year and had a memorable experience. My son rented a car and we drove from Las Vegas, all over California, saw X, Y and Z, everything was amazing. And next year we’re going on an ocean cruise. Of course I’ll pay my share, I don’t want to be a burden to him, but it’s not a problem anyway because he’s earning very well at the company in California.
The lady had a talent for storytelling so I felt projected into the Californian story. My father is too old to imagine me taking him on another vacation through the grand canyon, but the image of me with my (of course accomplished) son behind the wheel of a convertible at the edge of the ocean didn’t seem bad.
Still in the mall, waiting for food, scrolling through my LinkedIn feed unfazed this time.
A young man ecstatic that he can work from the beach. He posts proof that the work environment has evolved like the man from the mindless crawlers. Happiness can be read on his skin warmly pampered by the all-pervading sun. The warm light touches his being more deeply, resonating with the obedient pixels also exposed to the universe. Work in these conditions gets a cosmic scope.
The big cake of modernity, consumed without limits, deposits layer after layer of superficiality on the arteries of human consciousness.
We no longer think things through. Always savouring the desert, we forget that real power comes from food grown with sacrifices over time.
We replace inner analyses with superficial and false projections.
The modern professional is no longer the dedicated individual who fights tooth and nail to learn the profession, but is represented by the picture of the colleague on LinkedIn. Relaxing in the sun, click here and there. We’re having a good time, paycheck received each month, life is good. Thank you society for finally opening your eyes and understanding what’s important! Finally, the Freudian God has turned his eyes towards work, freeing us from the unnecessary constraints imposed by the repressed subconsious. Liberation! Let no one tell us where, when and how to work.
And the employer, though he puts up the money, has skin in the game, let him go about his business, do what he does best, pour the money. Hashtag don’t-work-for-companies-that-don’t-accept-remote-work. Why not make remote work a fundamental human right?
And yet, reality is different, and no matter how many projections we post on social media, in the end life validates reality.
Reality is what is left behind us, like a perfume trail. Value and quality are not relative terms that we can each define as we please. If I have to restart my computer twice a day to do my job, if the error I see on the screen is unintelligible, if I get stuck with the door handle, if I come out of the car service and my car gives me trouble again, if the food I am served is cold and doesn’t taste good, then someone has not done their job well.
I am writing this article from a picturesque garden. The sun goes without feeling it to bed, the fingernail tip of the moon pierces the blue blanket and appears over the trees, the sheep’s talons gently dangle my ear, without feeling their unpleasant smell, they are far away. The crickets are rehearsing their song for the summer season. The fresh green smell of the forest reminds me of my childhood.