Everything In Between

If your project so much as pretends to have a profit motive, I will tell you to go fuck yourself and your project.

I quit, Because Capitalism

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One lazy Saturday morning in New York City not so long ago, I woke up hungry. I knew there was a great little bistro with delicious coffee and a $4 scrambled eggs breakfast special not far from where I was staying, so I figured I’d go eat there. I remembered the place because the last time I’d been there, on a weekday shortly after noon, it was empty, quiet, and the wait staff seemed to enjoy my company as I chilled in the back corner for several hours.

But as I approached the restaurant on this mid-day weekend, it was overflowing with people, and a hurried anxiousness was oozing from every smile the busy wait staff offered their customers. Augh, I thought to myself. It’s the weekend.

“I hate capitalism,” I said, invoking that now-clichéd phrase so many disaffected youth cite whenever, in many of the older generations’ eyes, they are “being lazy.” “And fuck the 9-5 workday,” I said. “And FUCK WORK!”

Who the fuck are you to say “fuck work”?

First of all, it’s important for me to mention near the start of this story—so this seems as good a place as any—that I’m a person with a sizeable chunk of class privilege. And yet, the reason for that may not be what you expect. Let me explain.

My parents are immigrants to America, first arriving in New York City in the early 1980’s with little more than the clothes on their backs and some savings in their pockets. In their own ways, both are artists. My mother is an art teacher and my father is a graphic designer.

By the time I was born, my father was working 70-hour-plus weeks for micromanaging bosses and my mother took a second teaching job to make sure our family could make ends meet. I didn’t grow up in squalor, but I didn’t grow up in splendor, either. When my brother was born, our studio apartment in the back of the first floor of an “inner-city” neighborhood was even more cramped.

I grew up hating my religious day school, hating god, and hating not just homework, but all work. However, I also grew up loving books, my parents, and any activity whatsoever that I could learn something doing. My favorite video game was SimEarth because it taught me about how a planet’s weather impacts the ability of lifeforms to survive and evolve. That’s why my favorite movie was “Jurassic Park.” For my birthday one year, a classmate gifted me with the Jurassic Park soundtrack on CD, and it served as my introduction to scores of John Williams soundtracks I’d later pirate off Napster, even before seeing their associated film.

My second favorite video game was SimTower, because it taught me about capitalism. SimTower, for those whose only familiarity with the “Sim” series of games is the “SimCity” classic, is a game where you play a real estate tycoon who’s purchased a plot of land and is trying to build a skyscraper. It’s basically SimCity-in-a-building. You place shops, elevators, stairways, fire escapes, and more in various places on the high-rise you build, floor by floor, all with the goal of watching your bottom-line soar.

Most people will never own a skyscraper. Hell, most people on Earth will never even walk into the lobby of one. But for a struggling child in a struggling family, getting to play a real estate tycoon was a helluva lot more fun than getting browbeaten into being at religious school at 8:15 in the morning to stand for 60 minutes of prayer I didn’t even believe in and then spend half the rest of my day in Bible class, day in and day out.

By the time I was 12 and in fourth grade, I’d had numerous different knowledge-fetishes, including archaeology, astronomy, and genetics. At that point, my newest obsession was biology. When our “science class” consisted of going to the park and outlining leaves with crayons, I was reading books like “Muscular Dystrophy,” and “Your Brain.”

But I digress. The point is that, eventually and with much familial infighting, I dropped out of school. Shortly thereafter, I began getting interested in computers and by the time I was finishing my teenage years I had moved out of my parents’ apartment into my own place in New York City’s West Village, and was running my own web design and development business with a focus on website accessibility for people with disabilities. And, to everyone’s amazement, I was actually breaking even.

One thing lead to another and within a few years I was a highly-sought after technology consultant who, during my heyday, spent my days sitting across from the Chief Technology Officer of a Fortune 100 company that no longer exists because they helped cause the financial crisis of 2008. I was 23 years old. I wore suits to work. I made boatloads of money. And I hated it.

If you ever want to avoid questions like, “Why did you drop out of school?” slip the fact that your desk was next to the desk of a CTO of a major multinational bank early in every conversation. Trust me, I speak from experience on this one.

What this all means in practice is that I’m no longer lower- or “lower-middle-class.” I’m solidly middle-class now. I know this is true because the first year I made more money in 6 months than my parents annual salaries combined, two things happened. First, they stopped pestering me about dropping out of school. And second, my taxes quadrupled.

But it also means, in a capitalist society dependent on technology to facilitate every major and minor function of its ongoing machinations, I’ll never be “poor.” Because even if I have no money—and there have been times in my life like that—I will always have the ability to access money in what is to many people an astonishingly short amount of time.

That’s class privilege. Class privilege is not what one spends one’s money on. Class privilege is not a number in one’s bank account. Class privilege is one’s ability to lose all one’s money and then get it back—and easily!—because when you have class privilege, you don’t even have to care about money, budgets, or personal finances. I’m pretty sure I have a 401K from those years in corporate jobs somewhere in my name, but I have no idea where and I don’t even need to know. That’s class privilege.

I’m not class-privileged because I come from a rich family. (I don’t.) I’m not class-privileged because I graduated from a fancy school. (I didn’t.) I’m class privileged because, in today’s Information Age, I’m a magical creature who can talk to computer systems and make them do what you want.

I’m employable. Or, put more crudely: I’m sellable. My service offering? Robot taskmaster. Overseer not only of machines, but of people-who-work-with-machines, too. When I was a highly-paid data center automation technician, my entire job function was to set up computer systems in such a way as to obsolete the jobs of scores of lower-level computer operators and system administrators. (Yeah, I know, it’s gross.)

Of course, if you know anything about me (and if you don’t, let me tell you), you know that I don’t currently have a “job.” I’m a “digital troubadour,” or the information age’s equivalent of a wandering minstrel. These days, I live on the streets, sleep under overpasses and on generous people’s couches, and my primary source of earned income is donations from, yes, people like you. People who read my writings, like this one, watch my advocacy videos, and send me electronic donations, or put money on my café gift cards to keep me caffeinated and fed. (And I’ll always take the opportunity, like now, to say: hey, thank you for that. So, hey, thank you for that.)

But recently, I got a job. I didn’t even last the month, because it reminded me of all the reasons why I really, truly, hate capitalism. Here’s what happened.

A “dream job” is just a different kind of nightmare.

Every so often, I’m asked if I’m available for a tech gig. Most gigs are just flat-out horrible. “Contract-to-perm” so-called “opportunities” to work on some mindless, meaningless, Machiavellian monetary “loyalty discount” system or another. A new social network project struggling to launch that needs a “rockstar” web developer. I ignore them all, because fuck you and your stupid idea.

All except one: a project my ex-partner Emma was working on, called the Gender Spectrum Lounge. She’d asked me, repeatedly over the course of years, if I had time to work on this project. They already had a developer but, frankly, he was horrible. So in late April, I finally said yes.

I had four main motivations for agreeing to the project. First, I was looking for a new project to work on, something technical and relatively low-key but that still offered a fun time to hack on some code. Second, I’ve been familiar with Gender Spectrum as an organization for years and I always liked their stated goals. Third, I wanted to get a car, because I’m really tired of hitchhiking and relying on the shitty public transit options in America. And fourth, I really missed working with Emma.

“You don’t understand,” Emma would tell me time and time again. “This project is over budget, it’s late, it doesn’t work the way we’ve asked. It seems like every time our developer makes a change, something else breaks. We go months without hearing from him. It’s a nightmare.”

The Gender Spectrum Lounge doesn’t even have complex project goals. It’s supposed to be a community who are supportive of gender variant people, or are genderqueer themselves. Gender Spectrum as an organization works largely on educational outreach and support programs for youth. The Lounge’s whole point was to have an online space where age-based groups could overlap in facilitated ways to allow for various kinds of interaction, such as between younger teens and young adults. I rarely see projects like this explicitly address cross-generational solidarity, and this project hit many of the things that are important to me personally, such as youth advocacy and mentorship.

Beyond all that, and despite its major technical issues, the Gender Spectrum Lounge seemed to be directly benefiting the lives of its participants. Emma shared some posts from the forums with me. A mother wrote about how hard it was to deal with the school district on behalf of her child’s discomfort with binarily-gendered bathrooms. Another mother consoled her, then cheered her on, telling her she was an amazing parent and doing the right thing. A youth described self-image concerns and another youth responded telling them they were beautiful. It was heartwarming. Reading some of the postings literally made my eyes water.

Even if I wasn’t going to get to participate in that directly (and I shouldn’t, it’s not my space), I knew I’d never get close to anything like that in the corrupt world of corporate IT. Burn the banks. Jail the CEOs. They are unmitigated evil, and I’m so fucking over being part of their disgusting globalized deception.

The Gender Spectrum Lounge was different in size, scope, and purpose from the big banks, but it was exactly the same as every other company that has to deal with technology. They hired technicians who don’t care, who half-assedly delivered an incredibly insecure and shitty result, all while overcharging for it. In Gender Spectrum’s case, not even the defaults in the, free, open source forum software they were using as the site’s platform were functioning properly because the developer had fucked it up so bad.

The developer they’d hired took totally free software that worked out-of-the-box, broke it, delivered the broken free thing months late, and charged them for it. And here’s what you gotta understand: that’s not rare. That’s the norm. After I left the Fortune 100 world I went back to doing freelance gigs, and for the next several years, I made money exclusively off “clean-up” jobs. These were gigs where I was hired for the sole and explicit purpose of fixing something a previous technical hire broke or failed to deliver. You might be amazed how well that pays.

That pattern of taking something that works by default, breaking it due to sheer ignorance, malice, or self-serving greed, and then charging for the fuck-up, is how every single for-profit exchange works when you have a builder who knows more about the thing they are selling than the person they are selling to.

It’s Capitalism 101. People seem to intuitively understand this with, for example, cars and mechanics. You know you’re gonna get screwed over if you don’t know the first thing about cars and you go to a mechanic who’s not your friend. This happens in the tech world, too. Only the tech world is a bazillion times worse because the gap in understanding is so much greater. And this pattern doesn’t just exist between individuals, but entire systems. Did you know that sending text messages costs the telcos nothing, but they’re still the most expensive part of many mobile phone contracts?

But I digress, again.

I went to work on the project. I restored some of the basic out-of-the-box functionality the original developer had broke. I built a development environment so that Gender Spectrum could have a place to make and test changes before deploying them to their users. I packaged some of their customizations into plug-ins that they could turn on or off without interrupting the rest of the system. And I did all this as part of necessary, preliminary arrangements (like using a code versioning system) in order to make it easier, faster, and more reliable to make future changes and for other developers to pick up and run with. It’s like Abraham Lincoln once said, “If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I will spend the first four sharpening my axe.”

For instance, one thing Gender Spectrum needed to customize was the interface text of the software they were using. As you’d expect, every system unnecessarily defaults to binary gender pronouns; it will use “he,” and “she,” but not “zie,” or even the grammatically correct singular “they.” (Why? Because Sexism, but that’s another whole blog—which you should read, since I’ve already written it.)

So, naturally, organizations like Gender Spectrum hire someone to change the system’s use of pronouns because they can’t go around claiming to be gender-inclusive if their website is constantly misgendering their users. And naturally, because they hire developers who almost certainly don’t actually give a fuck about them, they never make the change in a way that’s repeatable, or sharable with any other organization. Rather than using the software’s built-in language customization features, the developer that Gender Spectrum hired changed the default language files, meaning that if Gender Spectrum were to ever update their website’s system software, the changes would have to be made all over again. It’s like getting double taxed.

Many organizations want to be gender-inclusive, but rather than one organization that uses phpBB, and one organization that runs off Drupal, and one organization that uses Joomla, or whatever, writing one gender neutral language pack that every single other organization that uses the same system software can use, each organization hires a shitty developer to make the same change to their one site only. This is fantastic for greedy capitalist scum like most web developers, but it’s horrendous for everyone else. And these developers can get away with it because nobody else knows what they’re doing, and the orgs don’t have access to other people who give a fuck, and they’re all small non-profits supporting marginalized peoples anyway so they just get screwed over, over and over again.

Why? Because Capitalism. Capitalism trains us not to give a fuck about human beings or human lives.

The ironic thing is if a group like Gender Spectrum comes to me and says, “We’d like not to have to deal with this gender neutral pronoun thing repeatedly. Can you write something that will solve this problem and distribute your solution to the Internet for free so we can use it?” I would’ve jumped for joy and probably would have enjoyed doing it with them.

I still would. (So, contact them and ask about the “en_us_x_gnp” language pack I wrote for phpBB3. And if you use phpBB3 and want to use gender neutral pronouns on your boards, let me know and I’ll help you get that set up. No charge.)

On “quotes,” “estimates,” and other bullshit

When I started the project with Gender Spectrum, I was asked for a quote. Here’s the thing: I don’t give quotes. Every quote you ever get from a developer is going to be straight-up bullshit, just some number they pulled out of their ass. Especially when you’re a freelancer, you have to get really good at pulling bullshit out of your ass.

Quotes and estimates are bullshit because nobody knows what’s going to come up out of the code. This is doubly true for “nightmare” projects where the premise of the work is “things are fucked up and we don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it!” At that point, any reasonable estimates would be so broad as to be meaningless in the first place.

Since I wouldn’t give a quote, or a project estimate, I was asked to track my hours. Here’s the thing: I don’t track my hours, either. I don’t track my hours because I don’t work in hour, or even in minute, chunks. I do multiple things simultaneously. As any person who performs creative tasks like writing or painting or even having sex with a lover or with oneself will tell you, “hours” are a meaningless unit of measurement for such things. Do I charge for the hour where I took a walk and thought about the structure of the project’s codebase? How about the half hour I spent reading the internationalization and localization API of the system’s software?

Tracking hours is a distraction from actually doing the work. Tracking hours is additional hours of (busy)work. Tracking hours is an interruption. Charging “hourly” consistently makes the project longer, makes my work less good, and annoys the fuck out of me.

So when I was asked for a quote, I countered: “One thing I want from this project is a car. Don’t pay me anything other than a car, if you have to think of it as paying me something in the first place. If you agree to help me get a car, that’ll help me fix your website.”

Asking for help getting a car instead of asking for money for working on the website seemed like an obvious win for everybody. It was quite literally the best possible deal. I didn’t even want a fancy car. A hardy Honda Civic or trusty Toyota Camry would be fine for me. A couple thousand dollars, tops, plus help taking care of the bureaucratic red-tape of insurance and registration. The whole thing would’ve cost Gender Spectrum a few thousand dollars, including the stipend for whatever intern was assigned to help me out. In contrast, tracking my hours for the project at $125 per hour (my standard going rate, which is highly competitive with the $120 per hour their previous freelance developer charged them) would’ve easily put them over the $6,000 mark within the first two weeks of my employ.

Emma thought the car thing was a good idea, too. But the idea didn’t go over so well with her boss at Gender Spectrum. Her boss wanted to have a meeting with me, some vagueness about making sure I could “commit” to the project, and in the meantime Emma convinced me to just charge under an hourly rate agreement, which we both knew would net me more than enough money to buy a car. Using that money, I could then hire her to help me do the stressful logistics pieces for figuring out how to actually get this car.

This seemed like a good idea, with one major problem. The whole point of having a car was so that I would have enough stability and time to do the project in the first place. Remember how I’m sleeping under overpasses and on generous people’s couches? That actually takes a lot of time to make possible. Every day, I spend anywhere between 2 and 5 hours setting up different couchsurfing arrangements, orienting myself in physical space with different travel options, learning public transit routes or just fucking walking with my pack on the streets of whatever city I happen to be in. Not to mention the emotional and social energy it takes for an introvert like me to interact with the people who generously host me. After a few weeks of hopping from one person’s couch to another, sometimes all I want to do is curl up in a corner and not talk to anybody ever again. None of these are situations in which I can sit down and focus on writing code.

Having a car would mean a helluva lot more freedom to plop my ass down at a coffeeshop and just hack on some code. Having to work for money to get a car was a Catch-22. However, as circumstances had it, I lucked out and found myself with an opportunity to have a stable housing situation for the month of May, exactly when the Gender Spectrum project was due to spin up. So, I agreed to the hour-tracking fiasco.

I arrived at my stable housing situation. May 1st came and went. I began tracking hours. Within a week, I’d racked up an invoice for Gender Spectrum in the $3,000 range. And that’s when we needed to “have a meeting.” Another week came and went. We didn’t have a meeting because the boss was busy. And what was the meeting about anyway? The answer I got was more vagueness about being sure I could “commit” to the project.

This delay was a problem, because time was a factor, because I didn’t yet have a car. Throughout this delay, I made clear to Emma that I don’t “commit” to stuff. It’s ridiculous and insulting to be asked to “commit” to work if you know that it’s just as much a mirage to commit to work as it is to commit to paying for work. It’s all just a fucking agreement. Asking me to commit to work is no different than me asking you to commit to paying for the work. Haven’t we already worked that out?

So being asked whether or not I’d commit to a project I was already actively working on raised, in me, the following question: are you going to pay me for working on a project you already said you’d hire me to do?

This should be fucking obvious, but since it isn’t to capitalists, which is most people I’ve ever had the displeasure of interacting with, I apparently have to repeat it: agreements don’t mean shit without trust. Nothing, not even your punitive legal system of contract law, can give an agreement value without trust. You can strong-arm people into doing what you want if you have enough power over their environment to get them to servilely accept whatever increasingly shitty circumstances you’re putting them in, but that’s not trust, and it’s not an agreement. There is no such thing as freedom of choice in a “free market” where the only choices are employment or starvation. That’s not a choice, that’s a threat.

I don’t take well to being threatened, and that’s not some kind of moral fucking failing on my part. And being threatened was exactly what was happening. All the vagueness about “committing” to a project was certainly not reassuring, and I’ve been around the block enough to understand when business-speak is a facade on a fundamentally untrustworthy relationship.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened in our meeting, which we finally held in mid-May. Long before we spoke, I had communicated to Emma, who had told me she’d communicated to her boss, that I don’t commit indefinitely to future work. We had already drafted a Scope Of Work, another one of those business-y documents, useful for clarifying what work needs to be done but terribly inane when treated like a contract. I had already delivered a few of the line items and I had no intention of asking Gender Spectrum to pay me any monies until the scope of work was completed in full.

So why were we having this meeting? Lisa, the Gender Spectrum executive director, spoke to me about how she didn’t want high developer turnover. Everything she said to me made clear she didn’t know what the fuck she was talking about from a technology perspective. This is no surprise, of course, coming from someone whose other full-time job is the VP of Marketing at Genedata AG, Inc.

Fucking marketing professionals. Do humanity a favor and kill yourselves.

I tried to make it clear that developer turnover is a problem when you have shit developers who do crappy work that they don’t document or tell anyone about. It’s actually not a problem when you take knowledge transfer into account and actually include documentation as part of the scope of work—which we did. I thought the whole point of being hired was to empower them, not to make them dependant on me. I was beginning to deliver something that made developer turnover irrelevant. But if they didn’t trust me to do that, having a meeting about my feelings about commitments was, itself, irrelevant.

The meeting lasted an hour. I tried to reiterate my complete and total unwillingness to commit to any relationship with Gender Spectrum beyond the Scope of Work already laid out. It fell on deaf ears. Over and over again, I’d say something like, “I won’t be able to guarantee any work outside of the Scope of Work,” or “I’m not in a position where I can actually commit to working past the agreements I’ve already confirmed with Emma,” but nothing seemed to get through that thick marketer’s skull of hers.

An hour into the meeting, we were finally starting to wind down. Then I hear Lisa say, again, “Well, it sounds like, maymay, you need to think about it and tell us if you can commit to working with us for longer.”

And I just lost it.

“Lisa, I’m going to need to interject something here. Listen, I’ve been very clear with Emma for weeks and I’ve been very clear in this phone call that I’m not going to commit to an indefinite project with Gender Spectrum. There is nothing more I need to think about here. As I’ve been saying, I know exactly where I stand. We’ve been talking about this in circles for an hour. I have other things I need to do with my day. Unless there’s anything else someone on this call wants to tell me, I’m going to go.”

There was a short silence. “No, I think that’s everything,” I heard Emma say. “Lisa?”

“No, nothing else.” Lisa said.

“Great. Lisa, it was very nice to meet you,” I lied through my teeth. “Have a good day.” I hung up.

A couple days went by with no word from Gender Spectrum. By now, the end of the month I’d set aside specifically to work on tech projects was fast approaching. I was sick and tired of waiting on Gender Spectrum, so I got involved with the re-launch of the “I Am Bradley Manning” photo petition website I’d helped launch two years ago. You might have seen a news cycle about the celebrity Public Service Announcement video we made. You might have surfed on over to iam.BradleyManning.org when you saw it linked on your Facebook or Twitter. Well, now you know, I helped make that.

I didn’t work on it for money. I worked on it because I wanted to.

A couple days after the phone meeting, Emma told me Lisa thought the meeting was “kind of refreshing.” It was too late, though. Every single time Emma pinged me about Gender Spectrum over chat, we’d end up getting into a fight about it, or the project, or the meeting, or how little time I had left in the month to focus on code. I told her I’d gotten involved with the Bradley Manning Support Network’s new social media project. Hey, it was a techie project, and I had specifically set myself up with time to code this month, so I thought I should use that time to code this month. I told her I’d still do Gender Spectrum stuff but that I’d only do it until the end of May, and I’d only give it fifty percent of my attention, tops.

Emma said that was fine. She also said Lisa tentatively agreed to a pared-down Scope of Work, but would hire someone else after the fact, and didn’t want me to continue to work with them afterwards.

There was no longer any reason I should work specifically with the Gender Spectrum people, and therefore there was no reason I should work for them, either. Gender Spectrum showed themselves to be exactly the sort of people I don’t like and can’t communicate with. Any agreement I made with them would’ve been meaningless because I don’t want to work with people like that. The whole fucking point of refusing to sign contracts or make meaningless commitments is to avoid getting tied to some commitment I wasn’t going to keep. Agreeing to such things only constrains me, not them. I charge for work done, not work I will do. And I won’t commit to work I will do. I do work I want to do, and if I get additional benefits like financial compensation out of that, all’s the better for me.

The emotional and personal cost of interacting with this stupid system was high, and the “payoff” was non-existent.

What Lisa actually wanted out of our meeting was some kind of proof that I’m a trustworthy person to work with, but that’s not how trust works. You don’t make friends by passively-aggressively making people promise to be your friend. And yet that’s what employer/employee relationships are all about: coercively making people pretend to be friends, under the threat of starvation due to losing access to money. Bosses like to do this thing where they pretend that they’re not really your boss, just your friend and colleague with a different position in the company than you have.

Fuck that shit. The best bosses I’ve ever had knew they were my boss and didn’t try to sweep the fact of that being a non-consensual power relationship under the rug. I’m privileged enough to be able to lead a lifestyle that means I don’t have to do employer/employee relationships anymore—I hate having relationships where I voluntarily give up my agency for the sole purpose of getting taken advantage of—and I’m smart enough to usually figure out when I’m being asked to have one of those.

Money is a technology that destroys trust. Its entire purpose is to short-circuit human relationships in order to insert itself as a middleman. It makes everybody spend more money, at more emotional cost, for things that make them angry at each other. I love Emma. But every conversation we had turned into a fight. I am not exaggerating when I say that’s capitalism’s fault.

So, after the meeting, I quit. Not immediately, although I should have. And after Emma and I talked about it over chat, we realized that I should have quit the instant Lisa rejected my initial offer for helping me get a car as a way to collaborate on helping fix Gender Spectrum’s website. I have this blind spot because I love Emma where I believe she won’t hurt me. She wants to protect me. But because I’m a human, I’m irrational, and thus I somehow believed getting involved in an abusive relationship with capitalism was going to be fine just because Emma didn’t want to hurt me. In hindsight, it’s obvious that was a stupid mistake, because Emma and I had put ourselves into a situation in which she was effectively forced to try and hurt me, because it’s her job, and if she didn’t do her job, she couldn’t keep paying rent.

Here’s the thing. Capitalism doesn’t just harm people by bludgeoning us with money. It harms us by getting us to bludgeon each other and ourselves with money.

Epilogue

When I did finally communicate to Gender Spectrum that I’d quit, I did so by sending Lisa the following resignation letter:

Lisa,

Effective immediately, I will no longer be working on Gender Spectrum projects.

The work I have completed to date for Gender Spectrum includes fixing various bugs, removing obstacles to maintenance and future updates, and creating a development environment for Gender Spectrum to use in future development tasks. I tracked a total of 26.25 hours on this work. My hourly rate is $125.00 per hour.

You can choose whether or not to compensate me for my work. If you choose to compensate me for all or part of my work, make a cheque in the amount of your choosing payable to Meitar Moscovitz and send it addressed to me at:

> [ADDRESS REDACTED]

Sincerely,
-Meitar Moscovitz
Personal: http://maymay.net
Professional: http://MeitarMoscovitz.com

I know this sounds like an awkward resignation letter, but I actually spent almost a week carefully composing it. I didn’t want it to sound like an invoice, not because I think charging money for one’s time or labor is some unforgivable sin no one should ever do, but because doing that is unhealthy for me. Capitalism isn’t just bad in some objective sense of the word, it’s concretely harmful to the human life I care most about: mine.

Also, while drafting this piece, I got another email from a recruiter. I realized I’ll just keep getting emails from recruiters, and capitalism will still be there, like an abusive ex-partner, constantly trying to seduce me into bed with it again. For my own health and safety, I need some way to actively shield myself from getting job offers.

So, I’m starting a long-overdue revamp to my LinkedIn profile, which is where I assume these devil-spawn come from. Under the heading titled “Advice for contacting [user name]:”, I’ve written:

DO:

  1. Have an interesting project. Make it ambitious. Ambitions are interesting. Everything else is boring.
  2. Treat me like a friend and collaborator (not an employee or a magical creature who can talk to computers).

DON’T:

  1. Offer to pay me. Seriously. If you offer me money, I will decline on principle.
  2. Be a recruiter. First, I don’t answer recruiters. Second, I don’t want the job.
  3. Support capitalism. I am an avowed anti-capitalist. Yes, really. If your project so much as pretends to have a capitalistic agenda, I will tell you to go fuck yourself, and your project.

This is just a quick, off-the-cuff edit, and I eventually want to change the rest of my “tech professional” web presence to match that sentiment. Thing is, I’ll always be excited about working on all kinds of cool projects. But I absolutely hate money, everything to do with it, and everything it stands for.

Written by Meitar

June 14th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

4 Responses to 'I quit, Because Capitalism'

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  1. Beginning to understand why you feel the way you do about capitalism and money. Thanks for sharing.

    Shir

    14 Jun 13 at 11:02 PM

  2. […] the “goal of obsoletism” is not applicable to “a sex work relationship.” It very much is, just as it is for every other job-relationship. I can flag my political activist cred with the best of ‘em (“sex work is work,” and all […]

  3. I feel the exact same way about many things in this world mentioned here. Especially the “pay by the hour” concept and what a load of shit that is. I literally laughed out loud reading that section & I feel like I could go on for hours on that subject alone.

    That really goes into how all generalizations are false (including this one). Nothing in life is simple enough for such a board, miscalculated generalization considering even a fraction of all technicality (even the phrasing of this response).

    It’s a great horror knowing that soon I’m going to be working full-time in this world of convoluted, greed and corruption-influenced matter full of corporate letdowns.

    This reinforces how I want to work for the general welfare of people and life (not some smoke and mirrors BS for penny-pinching madness) or on a project that benefits others for the greater good. No institution full of archetypes or protocols but one where people define them in terms of what is best for us as a whole. Not for money. Not for fleeting, over-hyped “happiness”.

    It’s reviving to see someone else with the same viewpoints that doesn’t simply ignore indifferences by feeding oneself BS/lies or drowning oneself in substances to cure the pain. Someone that goes out and changes things for the greater good while ignoring the boundaries set in place to prevent us from doing such (money>food>water>basic necessities).

    Kudos to having the courage to literally be homeless before succumbing to the capitalist system (as I certainly don’t quite have that fortitude).

    Thank God (literally) that this world isn’t our final destination.

    Mike

    17 Jan 14 at 5:41 PM

  4. Capitalism ain’t fair. Why should poor job-seekers like me pay some money to rich money-hungry corporations? Then, I have no real job as they promised. All Capitalists are liars. I hate Capitalism. Those people who support Capitalism must be rich manipulators. Capitalists are as evil as terrorists.

    Anti-Capitalism

    17 Apr 14 at 12:15 AM

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