Every other post on social media that is not about sex or something angry and hateful is about work – flexing about how hard we’re working, how we’re building generational wealth, and places to find work for desperate unemployed people. Our lives are about work, it’s how we make sense of things, how we determine how to treat people, and how we determine how to value ourselves. Recently on Twitter, a DJ sparked fierce pushback when he suggested that the brand ambassador of a local organization didn’t deserve her job because she wasn’t working hard enough, and wasn’t grinding hard enough. That interaction revealed interesting clues about how we perceive work. Here are just a few of the reactions.
Timeline of events
Christine Keni shares a short video about a day in the life of a Gen-Z content creator in her capacity as the brand ambassador of Light Art Club.
Local Dj, DJ Krowbar comes across it and shares it with the comment, “I’m sure by the end of today @LightArtClub will rethink who is their brand ambassador. This just didn’t sit well with society.”
Kenyans assemble (and cook)
One of the best things to come out of the communal ‘cooking’ of Dj Krowbar is the overwhelming support the brand ambassador got and the underlying evidence that our perception of work is changing.
Work is not synonymous with pain and suffering
There’s this perception that if you’re enjoying something if it’s fun, you must not be working. Work must necessarily be difficult and painful and stressful. People are pushing back against this view.
No more glorifying hustle culture and obsessively grinding
Social media is at all times awash with the pressure to work harder, and spend longer hours working. It’s work, work, work all the time. Looks like people are no longer buying that propaganda.
The religious link
Some of the obsessive work cultures are linked to Christian beliefs about work a la ‘If you don’t work you should not eat’. Perhaps there are some remnants of Calvinistic theology which suggest that all men must work and that that is how you serve God and are saved. Some people believe that this protestant ethic is linked to the capitalist view of work which puts pressure on people to work hard at all times.
You don’t owe corporations
In the past when people worked the same job for 30, or 40 years, there was a sense that you should be loyal to your employer. One of the things that is become increasingly clear over time is that companies do not extend the same loyalty to employees. You are just labour to them, only useful as long as they can exploit you after which they will have zero qualms about replacing you. That’s why you mustn’t break yourself for companies. You do your job and go home, the bare minimum if you can get away with it.
Most offices by the rules that they set force employees to perform productivity, to pretend they’re working even when they’re not. It often looks like sitting at your desk playing games while you pretend to work and leaving the office late even just so your bosses see you’re working late and you appear more productive.
How work’s always changing
One of the interesting things multiple people pointed out is how being a DJ wasn’t taken seriously at all in the beginning and now you have a DJ turning around and lobbying the same criticism that was thrown at him at young people in emerging careers like being an influencer or brand ambassador. There will always be new ways to work, and new frontiers, we need to challenge ourselves to stay open-minded.
The reminder that other people still do backbreaking work
We are still as superstitious as ever
Or maybe just a little ‘stitious’ about sharing our wins for fear of being sabotaged.
Not everyone is on board… yet
This is the dream, the future
With a light touch
After the verdict was out and the majority was on board, jealous even of the brand ambassador’s life, DJ Krowbar released an apology. One day we’ll talk exhaustively about the performative apologies celebrities participate in after public faux pas. He said nothing about seeing the error of his ways and being convinced to change his mind by people’s responses, no. Just some vague apology with the dreaded words, ‘I take full responsibility’ for my actions or whatever. That’s a discussion for another day though.
The good news we can hang on to today is in the words of the great Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin’ 😊
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