Last night was one of those classic Amsterdam nights that involved a whole lot of things to do, places to be, and people to spend time with. The kind of night that helps to remind oneself why oneself lives in this place.
The highlight of the evening was attending a reading by my friend Dishwasher Pete, who’s book is flying off shelves everywhere. Over at the American book store, Pete treated the crowd to free artisan brewed beer and an opportunity to ask him questions, get your book signed,and of course – hear him further explain some of the adventures included in the book.
While it is probably often considered comedy or travel if you look it up on some Amazon type site, I see this book as something far more important – political. By political I mean personal-politics, the most important politics one has.
As I read this book it was his personal politics that jumped off the page for me, at least the way I read it. The idea that a job is not the most important thing in your life. Or even beyond that, that no job that makes you miserable should be kept. The power of your feet, to walk out, walk away, and walk on when some force threatens to destroy or damage your mental or physical quality of life. Typical societal values would call such a philosophy “lazy”, but then again, typical society is miserable, in debt, uninspired and hoping to drag everyone else along with them.
Nowadays many of us live the reality of this “new economy”, which is a fancy name for a world where jobs come and go, and people have hardly any employment security or financial guarantee in the future. Hopping from 6 month contract to 6 month contract, accepting low salaries in exchange for the empty promise that it will significantly increase.
Yet being so disposable brings some of the very benefits that Dishwasher Pete realized more than a decade ago; the freedom and power of using your feet. Just as jobs use todays workers, todays workers are learning how to use jobs. They are no longer paranoid of losing their longtime jobs, instead often looking forward to an upcoming resignation. For those that understand and believe in their ability to find something else when needed, like the dishwasher, todays workers can also say goodbye to the irrational or incompetent boss. And of course, there are more and more of us that love to find ways to steal naps or wander off during the day.
My point today is more of a theory. And as I live my day-to-day, I see a connection between Pete’s marvelous thoughts and wisdom, and personal politics of today’s young “professional.”
Or maybe I should just replace the term “young professional” with “ME”.