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The alienation of labour when work is external to the worker not part of his nature so that he does not fulfil himself in his work but denies himself and is physically exhausted and mentally debased; this alienated labour that casts some of the workers back into a barbarous kind of work and turns others into machines thus depriving man of his species character of free conscious activity and productive life. Karl Marx, cited Noam Chomsky, lecture Poetry Center of New York 1970, ‘Government in the Future’
Living is my job and my art. Montaigne aka Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Essais
Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth. Criss Jami
Audience Woman on pedestal: I have three jobs and I feel like I contribute.
George W Bush: You work three jobs?
Audience Woman on pedestal: Three jobs.
George W Bush: Uniquely American isn’t it? You are just fantastic doing that. Get any sleep?
The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case. George W Bush
Some of you seem to have got off on the wrong foot with me. You didn’t like some of the jokes I told earlier. You’ve got to chill out, yeah. Trust me, this is what I do. All right? You will never work in a place liken this again. This is brilliant. Fact. Yeah? And you’ll never have another boss like me, someone who’s basically a chilled-out entertainer. The Office UK s2e1: Merger, Brent to new Swindon intake, BBC 2002
We were still in an era of full employment where government thought its main job was to make sure we all had a job. The British at Work: Them and US 1964-1980, BBC 2011
I was very reflective then, and didn’t seem as though I was bothered, but it was a very mundane life, mundane job. We were like robots. It’s like Groundhog Day. The same thing every second of every minute of every day. Sydney Bricknell, interview Kirsty Young, The British at Work: Them and US 1964-1980; subject of 1960s documentary
I am not getting aggressive! I just don’t see why it has to be me to get a job. The Young Ones s2e2: Cash, Neil, BBC 1984
It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours. Harry S Truman
I pity that poor swine, Benny. Nothing to look forward to but sex, drink, money and freedom. He’s never going to know the wholesome pleasure of scraping shite off a plate for £2.50 an hour. Rab C Nesbitt s8e2: Heat, Rab, BBC 1999
People think that scum hate work. We don’t, you know. We don’t. It’s jobs we hate. Rab C Nesbitt s10e2: Fogue, Rab’s commentary, BBC 2011
Job or no job you can tell that I’m not,
Do you enjoy what you do?
If not, just stop, and don’t stay there
And rot. Wham! ‘Wham! Rap’
I should be working at a job that I have some kind of aptitude for. Like donating sperm to an artificial insemination lab. Bananas 1971 starring Woody Allen & Louise Lasser & Carlos Montalban & Natividad Abascal & Jacobo Morales & Miguel Angel Suarez & David Ortiz & Rene Enriquez & Jack Axelrod & Howard Cossell & Roger Grimsby & Don Dunphy & Charlotte Rae et al, director Woody Allen
If my films make one more person miserable, I’ll feel I have done my job. Woody Allen
The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one. Oscar Wilde
5The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up in the morning and say, How is the president? Will Rogers
Go to the tea shop anywhere along the Ganga, sir, and look at the men working in that tea shop – men, I say, but better to call them human spiders that go crawling in between and under the tables with rags in their hands, crushed humans in crushed uniforms, sluggish, unshaven, in their thirties or forties or fifties but still ‘boys’. But that is your fate if you do your job well – with honesty, dedication, and sincerity, the way Gandhi would have done it, no doubt.
I did my job with near total dishonesty, lack of dedication, and insincerity – and so the tea shop was a profoundly enriching experience. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger p51
It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up. [cf. Sugar Ray Leonard] Muhammad Ali
All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. Aristotle
Not since the 1920s has Britain been more socially unequal. As the gap between the rich and the rest has widened so has the gap in opportunity for their children. Richard Bilton, Who Gets the Best Jobs? BBC 2011
Success it seems is more about money and contacts. And the top jobs are still for a select few. ibid.
Of around fifty interns who work at Modus [fashion house] each year, only a handful get jobs there. It helps if you live in the south-east. ibid.
If getting a job involves working for free for months in Britain’s costliest city, it is clearly not open to all. But that is just one of the barriers to getting a top job. There are plenty. And they don’t just affect a poor minority. They affect all of us. ibid.
The medical profession has no nationwide policy on how to get work experience. Which doesn’t exactly help the less well connected. ibid.
It costs £15,000 to study for bar exams on top of a degree. ibid.
In the ’80s the gap between rich and poor widened by about 60%. ibid.
Amongst developed countries we have one of the poorest levels of social mobility. ibid.
For every eleven-year-old that got into Grammar School three others were rejected. ibid.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius
‘So the hours are pretty good then?’ he resumed.
The Vogon stared down at him as sluggish thoughts moiled around in the murky depths.
‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘but now you come to mention it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy.’ Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act meaningfully in our work seems just as stubborn a part of our make-up as our appetite for status or money. It is because we are meaning-focused animals rather than simply materialistic ones that we can reasonably contemplate surrendering security for a career helping to bring drinking water to rural Malawi or might quit a job in consumer goods for one in cardiac nursing, aware that when it comes to improving the human condition a well-controlled defibrillator has the edge over even the finest biscuit. Alain de Botton, The Pleasure and Sorrows of Work