Work Doesn’t Need a “Recess” it Needs to be Abolished!

Don’t be fooled. This is hardly a harmless bit of fun.

Apparently June 19th was “Recess at Work Day” which means something to the effect of dressing up the horrible times we have in our lives as just something that is up for free negotiation with our bosses and something that can be made to be slightly on our own terms.And even if such a fantasy land existed what would it matter? What do these recesses really do exactly? They reaffirm to the employer that they’re great for being on top and for helping the capitalist “free market” along. And the employees are reminded of how benevolent  the employers are.

So…who is exactly winning here?

Really, this whole thing seems to be a band-aid on the gaping hole of work. And I also don’t understand why exactly using terminology that children have within the prisons of school should make us feel liberated. Should we look up to our masters for letting us have a little play time? This is more or less the definition of a “bread crumbs” strategy. That we should be thankful for any little bit we get (once a year!) from our bosses. It isn’t something we do or define but in the end is something done by the bosses and for the bosses. Again, who owns the benefit?

I don’t see how workers are really victorious just because on one day of the freaking year they can decide to let loose a tiny bit in comparison to how they usually are. And then just go back to the regular grind the next day. Is the point to institute this sort of “recess” break every day of the year? If so, that’s certainly more commendable. But it still doesn’t get the (if you’ll excuse the unintentional pun) job done. Because we don’t need a recess from work. We need work to be abolished.

And if there is going to be a near-constant recess from it or if this is what we’re aiming for or if we’re allowing that sometimes laziness, slacking and taking it easy is (heaven forbid!) a good idea then what does this make the capitalist system around us that always tells us otherwise? Whether they want to admit it or not the people involved in these types of projects are both fundamentally reinforcing and undermining the norms and ideas around them. And that’s obviously a mix of good and bad depending on the norms involved and to what extent a reinforcing of them is happening.

In this case I don’t think the idea that we should rely on our boss just so we can see the little bird playing outside for a few seconds while being just barely outside the prison walls. This sort of thing is like putting a steak far away from a dog and then actually just giving it its regular dog food and never letting it taste the steak. It’s a foolhardy and pointless message that only really reinforces current conditions and the idea that they can’t be ended.

You can even see it on the site that this is mostly to benefit bosses.

Credit where credit is due it isn’t like the site tries to hide it (note: these are most of them but I have excluded a few):

  • Employee Retention – what does a new hire cost you?
  • Your current products and services suck need some improvement.
  • Employee Morale can always be improved
  • Increased Productivity
  • Your bottom line just might soar
  • Any size organization can do this; you need little or no budget – of course the more you spend the more you’ll be liked

Notice a pattern? It isn’t about how awful work is or how great slacking and relaxation is. It’s all about productivity, the bottom line, anything that has to do with the management. Sure your customers may think you are fun and your employees may like you more for it but this is still centering things around you, the manager. It isn’t as if we become less self-centered or important sounding just because we briefly consider other people as side-effects of our actions.

And honestly, I don’t know if I want employees to feel satisfied with the current system. As much as I’d like people to be happy (generally speaking) and flourishing in their lives if this flourishing comes at the expense of others or arises from systems of exploitation then how am I supposed to feel? Am I supposed to cheer about something like this? Maybe I should take a recess from these dumb ideas about how to “reform” work.

Because that’s all they are. This process smartly doesn’t involve any of the workers negotiating with the boss from what I can see. It’s some “disinterested third party” wisely pointing out the obvious that the busy life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. And that lounging around, playing games and relaxing may be (perish the thought) good for you!

But these thoughts once again lead to something much more fundamental than just some silly recess idea. It leads to the notion that the whole fucking thing needs to be done away with and replaced by something better. And that’s because at a basic level capitalism won’t let us be not busy. It’s all about productivity and spending your time and doing things for people who command you, etc. It isn’t about your own time or what you want as much as how it serves the interest of people who think they know better than you. A professionalized (so-called) class of wise (mostly) men and women who just have your interest at heart!

To be blunt, that’s bullshit.

None of these people want you to benefit from this system in the way they do. And if they did or do then they sure as hell aren’t gonna get it. That’s not how the system was built and that’s not what it is made to accommodate in the end.

What it was made for was for the rule of others on you. And the fact that you can get a small little break from living in a work-driven world isn’t even breadcrumbs in the end. It’s actually an attempt at trying to make breadcrumbs look like a big piece of the pie.

The problem is, we don’t want your fucking pie.

We want the bakery and more importantly the ability to leave the fucking bakery and go to sleep for the rest of the day.

So take your stupid recesses and shove it up your ass.

Yours sincerely.

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