Essay:The Loser Manifesto

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I recently decided not to bother to seek employment, due to some of the reasons listed here for why being an unemployed loser is better than being employed.

Contents

Arguments[edit]

Our economy isn't really set up to accommodate people who aren't very good workers[edit]

The way our workplace is set up, is that you hold a position and get promotions or a pay raise if you're particularly good at it. But you do have to start taking on more and different responsibilities in order to justify that pay increase, which means you're doing a qualitatively different job. (You might get a bonus for doing quantitatively more work, but it's usually not guaranteed, and would have to be approved by your boss's boss.)

There are always going to be some people (such as me) who are slightly sub-par at even doing their core job duties, though. They take longer to do their tasks, or they make more mistakes, than a typical worker. In a purely capitalist society, such people would simply get paid less than their co-workers with a similar job title, but our system isn't really set up to do that, probably because it would be considered discriminatory. Our system is set up to pay people a certain rate for a certain number of hours, rather than being based on quality and quantity of output.

To the extent some consultants and such are paid more, often they're being paid for meaningless bullshit, like having more advanced degrees and credentials, or working for a bigger and more prestigious firm, than lesser consultants. It isn't usually based on having more or better output.

There's always going to be 50 percent of workers who are below-average, and the economy doesn't have much of a place for them. A lot of them just stay in the same position for years because no one feels like going to the trouble of firing them, but they're prime candidates to be fired as soon as there's a downsizing, restructuring, etc. or if they're ever found to have an undisclosed felony in their past, or some other BS like that. People with sub-par performance are simply fired, and after they've been fired enough times, it gets harder for them to find jobs unless they can get away with using fake references to explain away why they kept changing jobs.

I suspect a lot of people who turned to crime and ended up on Jay Leno's "stupid criminals" segment, sucked at the workplace, or would've sucked at it. That was why they turned to crime. It would've been cheaper if society had just said, "It's not your fault that you suck; you just happen to be in the bottom 50 percent" and put them on the dole (which, if I'm going to be libertarian about it, I guess I should advocate should be privately funded).

It's the same way with starving artists. They don't even necessarily give a shit about what society thinks of them, as long as they get to pursue their artwork and buy the occasional coffee shop latte. Might as well give them a little dignity.

Arguably, we need to stop pressuring sub-par workers into the workforce, because they do whatever it takes to get hired (including lying, if they need to) and then they cause a lot of problems once they get there, because they're being put into jobs where they're expected to perform at par, yet they're not performing at par. So they either get fired or they just keep providing sub-par performance and getting paid for par performance, while filling a position that could've been filled by someone more able.

Now, given the law of comparative advantage, maybe these sub-par employees are actually freeing better employees to do more important work, and thus they are still making a valuable contribution. But I would argue this is not actually being done in an orderly way, except maybe in industries like fast food, where customers typically understand they're getting shitty quality service in exchange for paying a lower price. With the minimum wage being increased, though, fast food seems to be going away. (McDonald's for example is closing stores.)

Our economy isn't set up to accommodate people with felony convictions[edit]

No one wants to hire felons, because of liability concerns. Maybe the guy was a crack dealer 30 years ago and is now a born-again Christian, but he can't ever hold a white-collar job because people are worried he'll quit an investment banking job and go to back to crack-dealing, or maybe just decide to deal crack out of the investment banking firm, or do a drive-by shooting of people encroaching at his former crack dealing turf just for old time's sake.

If you're a felon, you're going to repeatedly get a big "fuck you" from society, not only during the job application process whenever you disclose your felony or get caught having a felony you didn't disclose, but also when you get fired for being a felon. Theoretically, when you have a job, you're a success, but every time you get fired for having a felony, people are going to consider you a loser.

That might not matter too much, if you can just get into some trade that you're good at, that doesn't care about felonies. But, if you're also not a very good worker (see above), then you're fucked. Our economy definitely isn't set up to accommodate people who not only suck at working, but also have felony convictions.

People might argue, "Just don't commit crimes and you'll be fine." Okay, well, so much for civil disobedience, then, which is the main way of changing government policy, aside from participating in a democratic system that mostly is run by a wealthy oligarchy of rent seekers, and whose elections are usually decided by meaningless bullshit (like who got Swift Boated, or who got caught on tape saying that stars can grab women by the pussy). Also, most people do in fact commit crimes; George W. Bush was a felon, i.e. a cocaine user, but because he didn't get caught, he was able to rise to the highest levels of government. It's all just a bunch of hypocrisy when people say that felons are less trustworthy than others. Nick Danger writes:

What you have to understand is, this is not a problem which leads to a discussion. Having a felony is a problem that leads your application, resume, and anything else that happens to be lying around with your name on it, directly to the round file.

Take it from someone who has been in the job market for slightly over 30 years with a felony on his record - if you actually want to get a job, lie about it. Don’t mention it at all, even when asked about it. In the box where it says “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” check “No.”

If you don’t ever want to work again, check “Yes.” What Vani there said about the little line to give your explanation about your felony is true - it’s there. Explain yourself on that line. May as well do it there because you’re certainly never going to get an interview. You are now a category, not a human being.

Now, if you do take my advice and lie about it, a few different things can happen:

Ideally, you could get the job. No background check might be done, and you might totally get away with the lie. This is unlikely, but possible - it depends on the job. Generally, the better the job, the better chance they are going to run the background check, even though it costs them a few dollars to do it.

The next best thing that might happen is, you might get the job, then the felony might come to light after you become a valuable employee. If the company isn’t a corporation with a black-and-white “No felons” policy, this might open the door to a conversation. You might point out to the employer that you are sorry for lying, but you really needed a job. The employer might be sympathetic at that point, having come to value your work. And you might get to keep the job. Or you might get fired from a job you never would have gotten if you hadn’t lied.

The next-to-worst thing that can happen is you get caught lying. So what? It’s your only defense against a society whose laws and employment requisites have deemed you categorically unworthy of survival. I’ve been caught lying about my felony many times. I have never apologized for it.

But what’s the worst thing that can happen? The worst thing that can happen is, you get the job, keep it for many months or even years, come to rely on it, take on a car payment, insurance, rent, phone bill, electric, and all the other financial obligations that come with a normal American lifestyle. Time goes by and you become entrenched in the company. You even have “that conversation” with your boss - the one where you tell him you lied on your application and you actually have a felony on your record. He’s cool with it. You’ve been a good employee. “Thanks for finally being honest, but we already knew about it,” he says, or maybe he didn’t already know. Probably he did.

Then, the day comes when there is even the slightest reason to get rid of you. The boss doesn’t have just cause to fire you - factually, if he fired you under normal circumstances, you could sue his pants off and win. But guess what - he doesn’t need a good reason to fire you. He already has one.

Anyway, life as a felon in the USA is pure torture. Far as I’m concerned, every sentence is a life sentence, because you never really get out of prison.

But I do what I can to get by anyway, because that’s what people do. That means lying about the felony. All the time. Every time. There is no possible good outcome to telling the truth about it.}} People used to tell me that it didn't matter if I lied about my felony on job applications, as long I didn't steal anything after getting hired. "All's well that ends well," they said.

After I got fired for not disclosing my felony conviction, after being on the job for year, I concluded that it didn't actually end well. They put all that training into me, and then it was wasted when they had to fire me. A large part of the point of having a job is to feel good about being productive and contributing, and that is defeated when this happens.

Not only that, at this point, I feel like most jobs at which I could work (especially in this DC Metro area, which I have to remain in because it's where my family is) are governmental or quasi-governmental jobs anyway. In other words, it's not that much different than the work I did when I was in prison. I've worked for government contractors, for CPA firms, and for the pharmaceutical industry, all of which heavily lobby the legislatures and regulatory agencies to get favorable treatment, often at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. Where's the sense of pride in working for those companies?

Employers treat job applicants like shit anyway[edit]

It's been noted by many that companies treat job applicants like shit (or like "dirt," as they have to say in publications that are required to be safe for work). Gee, how enticing for those who are unemployed, to put themselves through this:

Liz Ryan writes:

To begin the hiring process, we write delusional job ads that drive talented people away and make the average, capable job-seeking person decide that it's not worth applying for the job because they'll never have a chance of getting it.

Next, we force job-seekers to fill out endless forms on our bureaucratic, inhuman Applicant Tracking Systems. Can you imagine forcing customers to fill out form after form in order to buy from your company? You'd never dream of doing that!

Your company would go out of business in six weeks if you treated customers the shameful way you treat job-seekers.

Why are employers willing to treat job-seekers like dogmeat, and why do job-seekers tolerate the abuse? It's because we've all grown up with the idea that employers are mighty and job-seekers are a dime a dozen.

We kiss our customer's rear ends because they buy from us, but who powers our organizations? Who makes our customers want to buy from us in the first place?

Who designs the amazing products and services we sell? Who takes care of our customers and processes their payments and keeps them happy? Our employees do!

We have the value chain upside down. We treat customers like gold and we treat our employees -- the people who keep our customers loyal to us -- like dirt.

The bad treatment starts when someone applies for a job. Anyone can tell how much your company values talent. All they have to do is look at the Careers section of your website and they'll know everything they need to know.

As a job-seeker, you're wasting your time and energy applying for jobs online. Most applications sent through automated recruiting sites don't get a glance.

Even if your application or resume contains all the keywords found in the job ad, that won't help you.

Tons of people know how to cut and paste keywords out of a job ad into a resume. After the keyword-searching algorithm narrows the huge stack of applications down to a smaller stack of them, there are still way too many applications for a human being to look at -- so they don't.

Wasting your time is bad, but depleting your precious mojo is even worse! Automated recruiting sites make brilliant and talented job-seekers feel like garbage.

When you deal only with machines and wait weeks for a friendly word that never comes, your confidence falls through the floor. Who could be surprised?

It's even worse if you're a felon.

When you have a job, you're mostly just working to support losers anyway. But why is it better to be a provider, than to be provided for?[edit]

When I look at a typical paycheck, a large percentage of it is going to support losers, or even malefactors in some cases. Let's look at the deductions:

Deductions from gross pay
Item Amount Comments
Gross pay 1923.08 This is what I theoretically make. Wow, what a lifestyle downgrade I'm going to have to make, if I want to subsist on welfare instead, right? But let's run the numbers before jumping to that hasty conclusion.
Federal income tax 121.89 Pays for losers such as corrupt politicians and political appointees, defense contractors who survive on pork barrel projects, psychopaths who want to enlist in wars of foreign aggression so they can be badasses and go shoot people in real life (not just video games), drug warriors, and federal bureaucrats who wouldn't be able to get a comparable job in the private sector
Social Security tax 107.81 Pays for losers who feel entitled to be lazy once they've put in a certain number of years of work, or who because of old age are too decrepit to support themselves anymore; if no friends, family members, or charity finds them worthy of being supported, they should probably just kill themselves and free up resources to support the young instead
Medicare tax 25.22 Pays for losers who probably neglected their health for years and now want the taxpayer to pick up the tab for a leg amputation necessitated by preventable type two diabetes
VA state income tax 76.58 Pays for losers such as public school teachers and correctional officers, who mostly or entirely exist to babysit and/or warehouse people who have done nothing to deserve having their freedom restricted, and who aren't being very effectively educated or rehabilitated by these socialistic institutions; also pays for the losers on food stamps and unemployment benefits, who have to pretend to be unsuccessfully job hunting
Dental 42.97 Pays for losers who didn't bother to brush their teeth and now need fillings. When I had a job, I didn't even go to the dentist, because I was too busy working and didn't want to use my 80 hours a year of Paid Time Off on appointments, rather than on vacations
Health insurance 138.29 Pays for losers who seek antidepressants because they (and the people who influence them) believe psychiatrists' pseudoscience about their unhappiness being brought about by a chemical imbalance, rather than by their being in an unfavorable position resulting from their own or society's dysfunctions. Also pays to support losers with expensive terminal diseases, who insist on staying alive when they really need to just die already since what they'll produce in their remaining months or years will never outweigh the costs of supporting them, and they're probably not even living a happy life anymore. However, it's hard not to sign up for health insurance when you have a job, because if you have to visit the emergency room, you might actually be held responsible for the costs because you're not indigent.
Vision 2.89 Pays for losers who apparently didn't realize they could just save up, or put on a credit card, $150 every couple years to buy glasses, for the same as what they pay for vision insurance premiums
401(K) 48.08 Pays for my future loserdom, after I become too lazy or decrepit to work anymore; in reality, though, they're probably just going to cash it out and give it to me early (less 10 percent penalty) if I stay unemployed and don't roll it over
Net pay 1359.35 Wow, that's all that's left?

Why be the chump who pays to support losers, rather than being one of the losers yourself? (I wasn't sure which category of deduction pays for malingerers with fake back pain who collect disability, so I didn't mention them.) These deductions don't even take into account the fact that my employer is having to spend even more money to support losers, by paying for Virginia unemployment insurance (which I've never collected) and for half of the Social Security payments that are made on my behalf.

There are a lot of other job-related expenses, too[edit]

But that's not even the end of the job-related expenses. There are all kinds of other expenses:

Job-related expenses
Item Amount Comments
Net pay 1359.35 Oh well, at least I get to keep this much, right?
Cell phone 22.13 (44.26/month times 2 pay periods/month) Every member of my family has their own cell phone, plus we have a house phone, and in an emergency I can probably borrow a phone. So I don't really need a cell phone, except that I might need to take a break from work, or use my lunch break, to conduct personal business sometimes, like calling to see if my car is done being fixed, etc.
CareerExcuse 25.00 (50/month times 2 pay periods/month) I just need this in case I get fired and need to job hunt again
Car repairs, maintenance, and depreciation 60.00 (Just a guesstimate, based on buying another used car every year or two for about $1,000, and then spending about $2,000/year to keep it in working order and make it fit for inspection) My car ownership and use is mostly work-related. I could walk to the store, and borrow someone else's car, or ride with them, to go other places
Gasoline 120.00 (Six fillups a pay period, for $20/fillup, to pay for sitting in 600 miles of stop-and-go traffic every pay period while going to and from work) To help empty out the highways of all that excessive rush hour traffic, it's time for me to join the ranks of the unemployed
Car insurance 21.02 ($41.05/month times 2 pay periods/month) If I drove someone else's car, I would just be covered by their insurance, and not need to pay this
Interest on credit cards 50.00 I end up living beyond my means because family members expect me to keep shelling out money as long as I have enough money to afford to make payments on credit cards. When I'm unemployed, I can just default on credit cards because I'm judgment-proof
Legal expenses 160.00 I had to spend a bunch of money on legal expenses for family court because I wasn't indigent, and therefore didn't qualify for court-appointed counsel. It's just an example of the kinds of stuff people have to pay for out of their own pocket when they have money
Remaining pay 901.20 This is barely more than what people on federal disability get for sitting on their couch doing nothing

That leaves $901.20 for other expenses. So really, I only earn about $11.26/hour, if you figure I work 80 hours per pay period. And when you consider, I spend 3 hours/day sitting behind a wheel when I work in this area, that's actually more like 110 hours every pay period devoted to work, so I'm making $8.19/hour, which is barely above the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour.

What was the point of going to college? I could walk to the Dollar General across the street and be a cashier making that much. I wouldn't even need to buy my own work clothes; they'd give me a uniform.

By the way, I haven't even counted the costs of job-hunting, such as driving to interviews and such.

There are some people who move closer to the city, and deal with the extra crime, the higher cost of living, having to live in a smaller house in closer proximity to neighbors, etc. just so they can have a shorter commute to work. Talk about a major job-related expense!

If I decline to work, and instead live out in the boonies on government assistance, then I'm helping bring down the cost of rent and property ownership near the city, by reducing the demand. In that way, I'm making others' lives better.

When you have a job, you don't have free speech, unless you speak anonymously, which has its limitations[edit]

When I was applying for jobs, I had to take my blog private so that I wouldn't face employment discrimination based on my past and my opinions; and when I had a job, I had to take my blog private so that I wouldn't get fired if people googled me and found out about my past. When I'm unemployed, I have freer speech.

When you have a job, you can't implement your ideas for side businesses, hobbies, etc. whenever you want; you have to go to work and spend your best, sharpest, most alert, most well-rested, most potentially creative hours sitting behind a wheel, or doing some corporate gruntwork that you're really not in the mood for[edit]

'Nuff said. If you rise to the higher levels, you can do more interesting stuff, but guess what..

To succeed in the work world, you typically have to not only be good at your job, but be good at office politics, or dealing with customers, etc. You have to be willing to suppress your true personality and beliefs, and be a conformist[edit]

Some people just don't have a knack for that shit. They're not very diplomatic and good at being fake. Or they're just weirdos who don't fit in.

Weirdos can do some lower-level job where they work for some understanding individual, but they'll never rise to the highest levels. Unless maybe they fill a particular niche like IT guy, where they succeed due to their extreme acumen at their specialty. But not everyone has that; see above, about sub-par workers. In fact, the whole reason why these specialists are able to succeed despite being weirdos is that their skill is rare, and therefore only a relatively few people are going to be able to use that to succeed. The rest will need to be good at the office politics and whatnot.

When you're a loser, you stop being so dissatisfied with what you have, because you consider yourself lucky to have anything at all[edit]

There's no more saying, "Do I have the best job I could have? Am I getting paid what I'm worth? Do I have the best wife that I could've gotten?" If you live off handouts, you consider yourself lucky to get anything at all. It's easier to have a mentality of gratitude.

Also, you realize that the people around you aren't there because of your money, but because they like you. In fact, if they're willing to support you even though you're basically a financial burden, that shows they must really like you (assuming they don't feel socially obligated to support you).

I don't have a lot of stuff that's important for me to fund, that I can afford on a middle class salary anyway[edit]

If I were rich, I could fund some important businesses and causes. But, being in the middle class, all I can really afford are a few donations here and there. I could save up money to run for office, but it seems pointless because I'm politically homeless and not really looking to start a one-man movement. I would want there to at least be a second person involved (or at least on my side) to provide moral support.

I don't have any kids[edit]

I don't have any kids that I'm allowed to raise, and it's unclear whether I ever will, so I have less invested in this society than I otherwise might. I got punked out of the opportunity to raise the one kid that I had, and guess what, libertarians weren't even supportive of my getting to raise her; at most, they thought what happened was "sad" rather than "wrong". They may have viewed it as necessary and right, although unfortunate.

Fuck society, man. Why should I do anything to support it? I don't fit in anywhere, and I'm not appreciated or wanted (or, arguably, valuable) where I would seek to contribute. I'm not even allowed some of my basic rights.

Oh, I could try to improve society, rather than just bitching about it. But like I say, I want at least one person actively on my side, first. I'm tired of fighting alone, getting nowhere, and then getting demoralized and giving up.

Sub-par workers are either irrelevant (in which case it doesn't matter what they do), or fellow Atlases who can influence society by going on strike (and therefore maybe not losers after all, in that capacity)[edit]

The know, the thing about Howard Roark, is that until he actually had the opportunity to take part in designing a building that would be built, he was a loser. There are a lot of people like that: people with great ideas that could change the world, but who don't get the chance, because they don't get buy-in from those who have the necessary resources.

Of course, there are also a lot of people with bad ideas that would fail if implemented. But, till they're implemented, we don't know which is which.

Anyway, you don't have to be successful before you can go on strike and have it be meaningful. You won't get recognized as having been anything, but you can at least write a loser manifesto and justify it to yourself (and anyone else who will listen, which may or may not be very many people), which is half the battle.

The film American Beauty was about a fictional heroic loser who dropped out of the white-collar workforce. From working at Mr. Smiley's, it's only one step to being totally unemployed.

MGTOW is fucking awesome, by the way, and that's what Lester Burnham basically became. (He was gonna fuck the high school chick, but decided not to, although the reasons for why not are kinda murky.) Without MGTOW, we would really not have much way of escaping the corporate grind, unless we wanted to become alpha jerkboys, which is not really a path that's suited to everyone.

The white-collar corporate world, outside of the senior positions and some sales- or computer-related jobs, isn't really suitable for men anyway[edit]

Men are risk-takers and more likely to openly engage in deviant talk and behaviors. Therefore, they're more likely to get fired for saying or doing something HR finds offensive, or to have criminal records, etc.

At the last company I worked at, I think I was one of only two men who worked there, who was at the level I was as at. The other guy was an accounts receivable guy who came on board not long before I left.

All the other men were sales guys, or computer guys, or senior-level staff.

I feel like HR really has become an oppressive presence in modern corporations, with all their political correctness. Of course, the general counsel tends to be just as bad. I'm glad I don't have to deal with them anymore.

Our culture is set up to make the uneducated feel inferior to the educated, and to make the educated feel like losers if they don't become white-collar workers[edit]

In Scarface, there's a scene where Tony Montana says, "I come from the gutter. I know that. I got no education."

I've noticed that a lot of people without college educations are kinda sensitive about it. They are quick to say that they want to give their kids opportunities that they didn't have. Then they tell their kids about the importance of education and buy them an education that, in many if not most cases, they don't end up making much use of (especially these days, when the job market is pretty unforgiving toward any kind of mistake made in one's career).

Why are there so many stories of people rising from nothing, to the middle class or even higher? It's because they spent their youths doing more productive stuff than sitting in a classroom. They knew they weren't going to have the opportunity to go to college, so they didn't lazily rely on that as their ticket to a cushy life. They grabbed opportunities to learn by doing, they sought to distinguish themselves by the quality and quantity of their output (rather than by earning high grades), and they made connections wherever possible.

Yet because of their past, they'll always feel a little vulnerable and insecure, as though they have something to prove that they'll never be able to satisfactorily. Meanwhile, the college graduate feel disgruntled if everything isn't handed to him on a silver platter, because he "paid his dues" sitting in a classroom being bored out of his mind and toiling away at a desk solving fictitious problems for his homework assignments. All along, he humblebragged about getting nothing more than "a piece of paper" for all this time and money invested, yet he's fully expecting to wow the hiring managers with his high GPA. When he's not in class, he's probably wasting his time partying or playing video games rather than working, because society tells him it's okay to do that, as long as he's a full-time student.

When he finds that he gets paid less starting out than the apprentice plumbers and electricians who will become journeymen after only a couple years of vocational schooling, and that he has learned no skills that would be useful around the house, he's going to be resentful. But what if he doesn't even succeed in his white-collar career? Then he's going to feel like a waste of invested resources. People without degrees will tell him that if they'd had the opportunities he'd had, they could've done a lot more.

If asked what I think of this bourgeois life, I'd have to respond in Sick Boy's words, "No, it's not bad, but it's not great either, is it? And in your heart you kind of know that although it sounds all right, it's actually just shite."

Note[edit]

Maybe I should've called this "My Loser Manifesto" rather than "The Loser Manifesto" since it seems there are several of them:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]