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.
Day in the life working with @LightartClub pic.twitter.com/XanfUp0VuP
— keni ψ (@ChristineKeni) April 5, 2023
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.”
I am sure by the end of today @LightartClub will rethink who is their brand ambassador.
This just didn't sit well with society. https://t.co/lQ3K2HEwD5
— DJ KROWBAR (@DJKrowbar) April 6, 2023
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.
People are angry at this because we have been socialized to expect and accept suffering in the work place. Also, this may not be exactly how her day went. She obviously crafted the content a specific way. That being said, my opinion on Gen Z hasn't changed. https://t.co/T31zsL4y19
— Miss Rachel (@RakeriSays) April 7, 2023
Most of ya'll so stuck deep in the rat race and romanticised struggle that you can't process the existence of enjoyable employment/work options.
One thing the pandemic should have taught ya'll is whatever you know/do isn't the only way. https://t.co/6uf6r52s1g
— Beautiful Boy (@RozenIan) April 7, 2023
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.
Must be an Elon guy https://t.co/cDLtZwCX0V
— Choji Akimichi (@afrikandionysus) April 7, 2023
Why? Because she's not doing capitalism the way you do it?
People were not made to be machines or slaves but you wouldn't know coz maximum exploitation is the only system you know. https://t.co/FDpJfXjvOW
— Insufferable Good Girl (@marthamwatha) April 7, 2023
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.
Church rhetoric bs https://t.co/XHCAVvfxBj
— TopDawg🎙️ (@AllanKaranJah) April 7, 2023
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.
Dying for capitalism and corporations that are just waiting to fire you to cut costs is definitely a choice😭💀 https://t.co/GFew1aIoBy
— Firelord Zuko's Wife🍉🎙 (@thepinkbender) April 6, 2023
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.
Affirm: I release the need to be seen as productive by toiling aimlessly https://t.co/2KIerUjchz
— Mūūmbi 🧡 (@maumauzdaughter) April 7, 2023
Why do people associate productivity with hard physical labour? It's 2023 bana https://t.co/Imsx4Pqd7Y
— ∞ (@deexon_) April 7, 2023
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.
In your time, DJ careers were mocked… I really hate that so many Gen X and Millenials have become the out of touch, grumpy and petty oldies that used to talk down to us when we were younger and daring into new ways of being and doing. I really hope I never turn into this 😭😭😭 https://t.co/i9duCDwxkS
— Mwende Ngao (@mwendesusu) April 7, 2023
Old folk really get pressed when gen z doesn't glorify hard work https://t.co/pUkP1UUNzH
— Usiri (@usirinc) April 7, 2023
The reminder that other people still do backbreaking work
"After taking 24bags of cement up to the 8th floor then I felt asleep so I slept I slept I slept…"
..woke up jobless. https://t.co/zfm6l0FKd5 pic.twitter.com/Aw5PsqnCPp
— Æ Ryan (@RyanHatari) April 6, 2023
We are still as superstitious as ever
Or maybe just a little ‘stitious’ about sharing our wins for fear of being sabotaged.
It why I'm against sharing your Ws on social media. Evil eyes are very much real. https://t.co/HSkzmKFESH
— Adrian (@Adriansitialo1) April 7, 2023
Not everyone is on board… yet
I showed this to one of the fundis I work with and he went on a rant for 30minutes straight 😂😂 https://t.co/Ha2Gqc0uDz
— TAITAN (@pj_the_deejay) April 6, 2023
This is the dream, the future
— WRONG TURN (@_salim_ke) April 6, 2023
Me when I get hired there https://t.co/Y5xK88djMI pic.twitter.com/1q92LvPd4P
— 𝕵𝖆𝖉𝖚𝖔𝖓𝖌' (@hvmsternotnice) April 6, 2023
With a light touch
Just when you think she's done not working https://t.co/NIemxMZfRF pic.twitter.com/ENfpCmqea0
— . (@evanson404) April 6, 2023
— ed'anto (@edanto_) April 7, 2023
Us waiting for the work to actually start https://t.co/bjO2zXMHyg pic.twitter.com/MqnJpDvstd
— Hoodie Bender (@resident_foodie) April 6, 2023
Hii Nairobi ukichunguza utapata ni wewe tu unafanya kazi ngumu has never been more true😭
— Mwitumi (@hoseamwitumi) April 6, 2023
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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