A recent shit-storm of inane debate was kicked up across the internets caused by an article from Jason Calcanis, CEO of Mahalo. For anyone who doesn’t start frantically jerking off whenever they see a shiny, reflected logo or a bright, shiny BETA symbol, Mahalo is one of these fancy, web 2.0 start-up thingies that is vaguely described by its creators as a “human-powered search engine”. When I performed a search for Crunkfish on Mahalo, however, I received no results so perhaps a “far-shitter search engine than Google” would be a better description.
Regardless, this article isn’t about the pretentious, pointless and presumptuous conceit of Mahalo – it’s about work ethic.
Calcanis offered some advice for fellow start-ups about how to save money on his blog. To be fair, his pointers aren’t bad – even if they do start to resemble those penny-pinching tips sent in to weekly women’s magazines by people who wouldn’t hesitate to save on expensive face lotion by starring in their own bukkake movie – but some of what he had to say came off as pretty good-damn extreme. In short; they may be quite effective (I don’t know, I haven’t tried them), but so was Stalin’s rapid modernisation of Russia in the 1930s (and I’ve tried that – very messy).
The money-saving tip that proved the most contentious was number 11: Fire people. Although Calcanis has since toned down the language, it originally read:
“Fire people who are not workaholics… come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. don’t work at a startup if you’re not into it–go work at the post office or stabucks if you want balance in your life. For realz.”
I could join the debate by offering my thoughts on this issue and saying something antagonistic like, “if your staff isn’t motivated to put their all in for your cause, maybe you should try encouraging them more so they actually enjoy working for you, you draconian bastard”. Instead, I’m going off on a bit of a tangent with the intention of laying down the law about how much you should actually work…at work.
First off, the average salary in the UK is £22,000. This is the benchmark. If you earn 22k a year it means you start work at nine, finish at half-past five and take an hour for lunch. You are obliged to take a coffee/fag break in the morning, another one in the afternoon and shouldn’t feel guilty for spending some downtime on Facebook. Evenings and weekends are work free and, if you don’t meet that impossible deadline last thing on a Friday, it can well and truly get fucked until Monday morning. Finally, when it comes to the Christmas party, you can take advantage of the free bar, charge your taxi home to the company, and have sex with anyone who earns less than you.
Sounds fair, right?
Well, if you get paid any more or any less than this standard, you must expect to change your work ethic to adjust. Let me give some examples:
You should be earning the hatred of every cleaner in your office for the number of half-drunk cups of coffee left on your desk and the sheer immovability of your ulcer-ridden body. The moments between work beginning and work ending is a half-noticed blur, largely consisting of detached arguments with the spouse and confused bouts of emotion that hit you when those strange midget creatures who call you ‘parent’ cry bitter tears after you cancel a promised trip to Legoland for the fifth time. You should hate your life but it’s ok because you don’t have time to live it. At the Christmas party, you are joined with your partner and sit with all the other execs and their partners to talk about work – pretending this is in a far more jovial way than it normally would be. After your spouse gets drunk and makes a scene/screws half the warehouse staff, you pay for a taxi home – though you do have to pop back into the office to finish off a few things and end up staying there past the New Year. Which is better than spending it at home.
c. £30,000 –
It is your duty to greet all junior members of staff with a smile as they enter the office – after you’ve already been there for half an hour. You make a point of NOT letting everyone know that you start before them and finish after them, although they MUST have noticed. Even though you are expected to start earlier and finish later than those earning less than you, there’s no real obligation to spend all that time actually doing any work. An hour-long lunch break has been subtly replaced by regular cigarette breaks, in which you discuss important work stuff with your chain-smoking, fellow 30k-ers – much to the annoyance of the tar-free suckers who are still sat at their desk angrily drafting letters to HR that they won’t have the guts to send. You’re too busy and important to take any coffee breaks on top of this, but that’s what the grunts are for – they love any excuse to get away from their desks. Expect your evenings and weekends to be intermittently interrupted by work issues. It’s a pain but, hey, that’s why you’ve picked up the coke habit. At the Christmas party, you largely avoid the bar (sticking to your own class-A pick-me-ups) and spend the night looking for someone who gets paid less than you to suck your cock (men), or for someone who gets paid more than you to suck their cock (women).
c. £22,000 – This is the standard (see main text).
c. £17,000 –
For 17k you are entitled to turn up late every Monday and duck out early on Fridays. Although you get no official extra time for cigarettes or coffee, you are expected to spend a good forty-five minutes or so (both morning and afternoon) flirting with the temps. Unless a major deadline is impending, Scrabulous takes priority over your, more menial, duties and a reasonable amount of time is alloted to allow you to forward that funny video of somebody hoovering a cat’s face to everyone you know. At the Christmas party, you rinse the free bar and smuggle out a few bottles of wine before you leave early to hit the local slut-hole and rape-box you call a club.
c. £13,000 –
If you’re earning around 13k and actually working, you’re as stupid as your salary suggests. Most likely there’s a machine that can do your job more effectively than you can and your employment is only part of an unspoken agreement between companies that they need uneducated fuckwits to earn money and buy the crap they’re producing. If you do turn up on Monday morning, you should do so still recovering from the hangover from Saturday night and, at the end of the week, if you’re not doing fuck-all except complaining that your office should have a ‘dress-down’ Friday, you’re dressing-down and doing fuck-all anyway. The other days of the week are a mixture of whining that you’ve got too much to do, bitching about what’s expected of you, and whining like a bitch because your current responsibilities do not rigidly follow what has been laid out in your job description that you spent the whole of Tuesday meticulously reviewing. Whenever you come back late and drunk from a lunch at the pub, the afternoon is then wasted writing a nasty response to your line manager’s “friendly telling-off” about such transgressions in which you point out that you’ve wasted an afternoon writing this email. At the Christmas party, you turn up late with all your mates in tow – each packing a hip flask full of White Lightning – and proceed to decimate the free bar, call your MD a cunt, and pass out on the street knowing that someone else will make sure you get home alive. Courtesy of the company, of course.
This is the way things should be. How does that stack up with your work? Name and shame those bastards earning more than you but not working as hard as you in the comments section below.