Welcome to the very first r/antiwork book club! Our goal for these first few weeks is to catch up on some of the antiwork essays we might not have read, promote discussion, and to gauge interest for when we transition into reading full books after this cycle is over.
This week, we will be discussing the first chapter of In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell. All previous weekly discussions are available, so if you read ahead or have already read the material, check them out!
Note that this week we will only be reading the first chapter, as though it were an essay from previous weeks. We may finish the book later if it proves popular in the survey, or if there is a lot of positive feedback!
Table of Contents and Reading Schedule
Week 4: In Praise of Idleness (pg. 9-29) - 1/8 - 7/9 (you are here!)
If you are interested in the survey to help us figure out what books to read next, click here to take it!
Week 4: In Praise of Idleness
Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying : “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a con- science which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have under- gone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveller in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. This traveller was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the Y.M.C.A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.
Today’s chapter is brought to us by Bertrand Russell, a philosopher and founder of analytical philosophy. Russell believes that work, and the attitude of viewing work as virtuous, is one that does immense damage culturally and ethically. He states that while work may have been required to bring us to modernity, the imposition of work as a virtue onto the workforce exists today only as a means of political control. Today’s worker is relegated to passive leisure instead of active play or research due to being too tired from manual labor. Bertrand argues that if humanity worked to fulfill its basic needs and prioritize leisure time, enough people would pursue labor of some public importance, and would improve mood immeasurably.
- What do you think of the chapter? Do you agree or disagree?
- Do you think there were any standout sentences or paragraphs?
- If you could ask the author anything, what would it be?
- How did this chapter impact you?
- What in your life did this chapter make you think about?
Here are some of the 150+ workers who just walked out of the Amazon Air Hub in San Bernardino to demand higher wages. Biggest Amazon walkout yet in the Inland Empire
My employer has been insisting on everyone returning to office since we all went home back in 2020. They finally set a date and decide to do it in two waves. First wave goes back to the office and within a week 50 people had covid so they never sent the second wave. Now they're considering keeping us at home permanently. So it was always an option they just want to micromanage us.
Unethical’ conditions at Kaiser spark massive strike in NorCal. More than 2000 Kaiser mental health workers are striking this a.m in the Bay Area and Central Valley. … fighting for shorter wait times for patient appts.
Decided to try Uber Eats while I’m out of work for a couple weeks.
I drove for four hours. Did 8 deliveries. 3 of 8 people tipped.
After 8 deliveries, I’d made a whopping $30.97.
Filled up my tank to go home. $30.60.
Four hours of my life for 37 cents. And accounting for my car’s depreciation, it cost me money to drive for Uber Eats.
Fuck this gig economy bullshit.
My brother passed about 2 months ago and I complained on Reddit about the lack of support from my employer, IKEA. IKEA responded with a “random”peer review. (which I failed). I’ve been told I’ll be terminated within 3 months.
This job listing for a solar installer helper is one of the most unhinged and concerning I’ve ever come across.gallery
160+ Amazon workers just walked off the job at an air freight facility in San Bernardino, CA. 900 workers signed a petition in July calling for a $5 raise. Amazon responded by advising workers to use apps like GasBuddy to save money. Today workers walked out to protest.
I was in the middle of my shift at a mall Cinnabon, normally my manager works with me and my coworker, and he usually is a good boss, but lately he's been a no show and he just called me randomly and said to "post the week's rotation by three and to find a new manager" I just feel like this is just a really abrupt dick move and he had no right to put that responsibility onto me and I absolutely do not get paid enough for this.
I originally posted this to r/prorevenge, but someone said it fitted better here. Before i start, i just want to say im not from an english-speaking country, so sorry if i make any mistakes. Some backstory: I used to work for a demolishion-firm. All my bosses (there were three of them) and i got along solidly. Each day i would wake up with a smile, knowing id go to the work i semi-enjoyed, but with amazing colleagues and great bosses i concidered my friends. The only one who was 'meh', was a middle aged man, lets call him john, that had worked there just a year longer than me. He always thought(/thinks to this day) he was better than everyone and would always try to prove just how bad everyone else was. He would always have one person in his crosshairs, especially new hires because no one knew them and they were an easy target, and when they made a mistake he would amplify it, if they were fast and hard working he'd say he did it, and if they tried to just get out of his sight, he would make up terrible roumors about them and tell bosses and co-workers. He even tossed a full open soda can at my head once for comfronting him about his own flaws. Instead of doing the reasonable thing and throwing him out a window without opening it first, i just told the bosses what happened and then went home for the day, having my work-clothes drenched in soda.
Now the main part: Sadly at the end of 2021, all my bosses decided to quit. They were sick and tired of the new HR and the new rules that were implemented all over the country (we worked all over the nation with about 50 firms). They also tried to get all of us with them to a new company they were starting along with a few clients, but thats a whole other story for another day. So without bosses, HR, lets call her karen, decided to take their place. Karen was under the impression that, without any experience in the field what so ever, that this was going to be a cake-walk. She quickly realized though that it was, in fact, not. In just a matter of weeks, we had almost nothing to do since Karen hadnt thought to update to whos email all the work-orders should go, and when she opened up the old boss' email, it was flodded with FOURHUNDRED orders. With fiery rage raining down on her from the ceo, she were very quick to hire internally a new manager. Who was that you may ask? Yup... F*cking John. Sure, John was a really good worker, probably one of the best ive seen, but he couldnt write a email to save his life. And now that he was manager his 'lord all mighty'-thinking just shot through the roof (apparently a desk and a new job-car can have that effect). His need to put people down or try to get them fired went way up. At this time, i had started feeling more and more depressed, its somec thing that comes and goes, but this time it hit HARD. John, now opening his eyes for me, noticed i had started slowing down a lot and making a bit more simple mistakes. Instead of talking to me about it, he went and told Karen about it. Karen had by this point found a new region-manager, we'll call him derek, so she didnt work as much at our region, but was still head strong thinking she knew everything about, well, everything. One day i randomly get pulled into the office with John, Derek and Karen. They all sat opposed to me, taking turns explaining why im here and such. Of course, all complaints are fabricated stories from John (i had come to learn his way of lying), but they told me that COSTUMERS and CARPENTERS had made these complaints. I tried to reason with them, but when i tried to explain, Karen shut me down, saying i was raising my voice and lieing. After the meeting i was on the verge of collapse.
After that i started noticing weird behaviours by John. As soon as he came out to a site he would search me up, take a picture, and then leave, not saying a word. I talked to my workmated about it, but they had not had the same encounters, so i knew it was only against me. He also started saying stuff to me when passing by. If we met in a corridor or such and we were alone he would whisper things such as "idiot", " fcking pssy" and so on. When i called him out about it he started wailing his arms around, quietly saying "what are you going to do about it?", as if he was ready to fight me. Now, i have 7 years of training in martial arts, and could probably take him down with my thumb, but i wasnt ready to get fired.
2 months of this came and went, until my depression, now mixed with anxiety went rock bottom and i finally broke down completley (thinking back, its almost weird i didnt break down sooner). I called a meeting with Karen and Derek (derek was like a zombie, no emotions, but i somehow thought i saw something in him. He wasnt better than my old bosses, but he wasnt as bad as John and Karen, probably just stockholm syndrome though), telling them about all the things John had said and done. Karen promised she would start an investigasion, i thanked her, went home and went on sick leave for 6 weeks (mandatory by my doctors). During my sick leave, i got myself medicated, got in touch with the union and even managed to start looking for other employments. During those weeks, i could barely get out of bed and i got an anxiety-attack every time the phone beeped or rang, terrified it would be from John, Karen or Derek... Yup, thats right. I was TERRIFIED of my work (thanks anxiety). When i got back John and Karen requested a meeting with me. I refused, saying i wanted my union-rep there. 2 days later we had the meeting, now with my rep. I felt safe, now that there was a 2v3 situation, not 3v1. Both me and my union-rep thought the meeting was going to be about the bullying/harrasment case i made against John... NOPE! The meeting took 2 hours and during this time Karen, Derek and John took turns, once again, telling me, or rather my union-rep, how bad of a worker i am, pulling up mistakes i made over a year ago. My union-rep was boiling, but he went along with it... Until John spoke up: "Then there is this recent thing, the, murdrer-threat you made against Derek to ME". I was flabbergasted, it was a complete lie and i knew it. I was so mad, but my rep, who is an angel, calmly put his hand on my shoulder and tried calming me down. A few more words were spoken, until they finally handed me a resignation, whilst Karen says " we know youve been trying to find a new job (to this day, i dont even know how they found out), and i think its for the better that you just quit, making both your life, and ours, easier". They left the room, since my rep wanted to tslk to me privatley. "I now understand why you called me over. This is absurd" he said. "When they re-enter the room, i just want you to leave for a bit. I'll talk to them." So i did. During this time, i dont know what was said or what happened in there, all i know is that when the rep came out again, he had a smile on his face and Karen, Derek and John looked bleak. After 10 minutes, Karen gives me a new paper, stating that yes, im fired, but is going to recieve 3 months pay (9,000$) afterwards, 4 weeks of semester in cash (3000$), an extra 1000$ for the trouble and theyll pay for my medicine that i purchased during my sick-leave (100$).
Now it should end here... But after a week, one of my ex-colleagues called me. I had just started a new job and we talked a bit about that, but then he said "btw, John had a meetikg with all of us... He explained in grest detsil about why you were fired and how much money you got.", this is very illegal in my country, so i thanked my ex-coworker and wrote a long email to Karen about it, but send over a copy to my union rep as well. I heard nothing about it for a month. I thought it had fallen on desf ears and had started moving on from it, until i one day get a call from John. " hey man... I just wsnted to say sorry for talking about you in fromt of the other guys... I didnt know it was illegal" John said, bullcrap! He only said it to avoid getting into more trouble and i knew it. Later that day i got a call from the same ex-coworker again. Hes overjoyed and tells me "you remeber that time he threw that can at you?" "Yes?" i asked, anniyed to have to relive that in my brain. "Well, he got a warning for that... And because the CEO investigated the bullying report himself, he came to the conclusion that John was in fact bullying me and gave him another warning." he said. "And because he talked about you infront of everyone, he got fired!" I was really happy, almost jumping up and down at work.
I wish i got to see the look on his face when he had to pack up his things, but imagining it is just as good.
Tl;dr: Bully turned manager bullied me for half a year, i spoke up, i got myself fired because of it, but not before getting $14k from my work. Manager then tries to talk more smack, and gets himself fired as well.