“Quit Your Job, Work is a Sham,” Might Magazine, June 1995

Frédéric’s blog has taken the trouble to transcribe my famous 1995 essay for Might Magazine. He made quite a few typos, but it’s difficult if not impossible to find this online. (There’s a different version of it in “Revenge of the Latchkey Kids.”)

Rereading it 12 years later reminds me what a great editor I had in the person of Dave Eggers, who has since become known as a memoirist and founder of a literary journal named McSweeney’s. He questioned everything, suggested important changes, and helped make my voice more articulate. Now that I do some editing, I know how difficult that can be.

5 Responses to “”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    that’s a prophetic piece. corporations are actually communist institutions. healthcare is why they would rather make 1 person work 60 hours instead of 3 people working 20. healthcare costs are the epicenter of our economic offshoring woes. but i digress.

    in 1995 you’d certainly received the clear vision; unfiltered. How you you feel now, 13 years later?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    I’m in my mid-20s and close to finishing grad school, so I’m definitely in the “do I really want to do this work?” phase. Your essay was right on. The trick is being able to pull the trigger and doing what you want to do at the risk of little to no paycheck. I’m glad you pulled it off.

  3. John Madziarczyk Says:

    He might be a good editor but honestly, his contributions as recorded in the “Might!” book are pathetic. Your stuff is good but the whole thing comes off as a sort of an upper class white boy attempt to cash in on the spirit of the ‘zine culture, which tended to be populated by people who were really, really, disempowered. The people making zines and liking fringe culture weren’t the sort of people to rent an office in San Francisco and actually think that putting out a ‘zine constituted some sort of a job, although it’s work of course.

    If I remember, and I threw out my used copy of the “Might” book, David Eggers’ starring essay featured him complaining about people using the word “fuck” because it was causing some sort of coarsening of our culture.

    Now he edits an uber-pretentious magazine for hipster frauds of the type living in Williamsburg. And his fiction is a long whine on the theme of “I’m pathetic, so have sympathy for me and, um, fuck me ok? Because, like, patheticness is sexy and I’m a genius.”

    A heartbreaking work of heartbreakingly self absorbed prose, that no one would give a shit about if writers of the kind that even existed twenty five or thirty years ago were around.

    Stop being to try to be fucking cute with your packaging of your so hip McSweeney’s and focus on some actual content, Eggers.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    We have always defined ourselves by our work. When Americans meet, the first thing they ask each other is: What do you do? And the problem is that we usually dont really want to know what that person does.

    great observation. as always, it would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic.


  5. Anonymous Says:

    Actually, Ted is on the ball with his “shortened hours/regular pay” option: BMW in Germany does that on their assembly lines, where people work half-shifts on regular pay. However, in an atomized country like America I think that having a shitty job and complaining about it has taken the place of having a personal philosophy and doing whatever it is that you want to do. It’s easier to follow the herd – right off a cliff.

    – Strelnikov

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