Daily reasons to quit your job and go your own way - Because employment is not an antidote to depression

Daily reasons to quit your job and go your own way

Because employment is not an antidote to depression

You’ve heard the arguments from professors of economics, who also seem to consider themselves experts in sociology and psychology. Unemployment, they say, causes depression. Therefore, they say, employment is good for you.

Leave aside that the professors’ only experience of employment is at a university where they’re paid to have ideas, teach ideas, communicate ideas. Also, they can’t be fired. It’s nice work if you can get it.

Leave aside that the people they’re writing about have a rather different experience of employment: office workers whose work is mind-numbing slavery to nonsensical procedures; industrial workers whose work is hard, repetitive and dangerous; service workers who have to deal with abusive customers all day every day.

Leave aside the fallacious logic. Professors of economics, of all people, should know that correlation is not causation, and that normative assertions cannot be said to follow from observational assertions.

The professors’ arguments betray, more than anything, a failure of imagination.

They cannot think beyond the all-or-nothing of full-time employment versus unemployment.

They seem to forget that there are people who work part-time, people who work for more than one employer, people who work on contract, people who work summer jobs in the summer and winter jobs in the winter, people who take gaps between jobs, people who work in their own businesses, even people like me who work part-time for two or three employers at the same time as running two or three side hustles.

They cannot conceive of a society that does not consider it shameful to pursue anything other than full-time employment for the same employer through your entire career.

They seem oblivious that such a society is already long gone. Well, long gone everywhere except in the universities where these professors work, that is.

Employment is not an antidote to depression.

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