I picked up a book last year, when I was still in my 'omg!! Chapters!@#$%' phase, called 'The Hacker Ethic'. The discussion is the sort of thing the average Slashdotter would approve of - 'Hackers aren't evil baddies, they can be good guys. Or even computer-illiterate, like art hackers or car hackers' and blah blah. One of the things discussed there is the Protestant Work Ethic. For those who are unfamiliar, I will provide a short explanation.
World history is pretty long, but it basically starts out with dinosaurs roaming the earth. After a while, they died and the Romans showed up, and they built aquaducts and roads and took over Jerusalem. A short time later, people claim, Jesus was born. For a more accurate historical analysis of this event, rent Monty Python's The Life of Brian, which goes into great detail about the coming of the messiah. Anyway, after he died, but didn't really die, the people who listened to him started gathering together to talk about him behind his back, and eventually they made a church and took over Europe. Everyone had to do what the Church said, or they'd go to hell, which was alright as long as you didn't mind your entire life and the life of your children being indentured servitude to a bunch of ornately-dressed corrupt officials. Then Martin Luther got pissed and wrote why he didn't like the church and nailed it to his door, and then Europe fell apart.
The result of Martin Luther's actions was the splitting of Christianity into Catholics and Protestants. Luther believed that it wasn't what you did that mattered to God, it was what you felt. It wasn't working your ass off and then giving it all to the Church that got you into heaven, no, it was having faith in God, reading the Bible ('New Bible', as I refer to it as, to distinguish it from 'Bible Classic', which contains my favourite book, Daniel), and making up your own mind. This backfired for Luther because he naturally assumed everyone would read New Bible and come to the same conclusions he did, which they didn't. Still, the idea was founded that you don't have to revolve your life around the Church. Normally, I'd be happy about this. I think faith should be a personal thing. But this sucked. Why?
They had to find something else to fill that void, and so they filled it with work. After that, things went to shit, and then we made computers and offices and cubicles and accounting, and now we're all in hell whether you go to church or not. The Protestant Work Ethic came about because people decided that work was a good thing to replace the church with. Today, therefore, you are a failure unless you have a good job and are making good money. But why? If I earned $150,000 a year, I'd probably spend $150,000 a year, give or take. Maybe I'd take a vacation now and then, but who knows. Chances are good. If I made $50,000/yr, I'd spend it. If I made $19,000/yr, I'd spend it. That's how it works. We get this mindset of 'I have more money, I can buy nice things' but no one knows how to manage their money, so it never goes anywhere. But if you're not making as much as your neighbour, or if you're not in a secure job like your neighbour, you're a failure, and you'll die lonely and miserable.
But there's another option. Watch American Beauty for a good example. Life is hell for this guy, until he realizes that it doesn't really matter what kind of job you have, or even if you have one. He realizes that he's happier without a job than with one, because he didn't like his job anyway. Fight Club is another example, until later on when it gets really fucked up.
I'm the same way, but I have a different problem. I can't focus on things I'm not interested in. I honestly can't, no matter how hard I try, my mind drifts instantly and I can't focus. Ask my 'real life' friends if this is true and they'll tell you how I forget what I'm saying in the middle of a sentence a lot of the time, even when I'm really excited about whatever I'm saying. Then apply that to me not caring at all what I'm doing, and imagine how hard it is to focus. It's hard.
I don't want a job where I get hired, get my desk, then retire 50 years later and die having wasted my life. I want a job where I can meet different people. Where I can work here or there or anywhere. A contracting position for example. Alternately, I would enjoy jobs where I could go from one company to another. Small, relatively insignificant jobs that I can leave whenever I want, and find another one right away. Like the guy from American Beauty. He gets a job at a burger joint. I've made a solemn vow to myself never to work in food service, but the example still stands.
So here's the question: what sort of jobs/opportunities are there out there for someone who only wants to work a little bit and then go elsewhere? Or who wants to move around a lot and make sure his life involves different things? Or, alternately, for someone who wants to basically be able to do his job and then be done (sysadmin, etc) except for routine maintenance?
I tell you what I'd like to do. I'd like to be a manager. Run a department in a store like Superstore for a while. Then, leave, and get a job elsewhere. Maybe Radio Shack. Maybe the Sony Store. Maybe Black's Photography. Corporate stores. I think it'd be interesting. But I'm not sure how one gets into jobs like management without being promoted or knowing someone. It's hard to say.
Anyway, that's my thought for the day. Later today, or tomorrow, I'll start scribing the origins of humanity, as I believe they might have been. I'm hoping the slashdot community will be able to add more to my timeline or correlate/clarify some of my points. It's been a while and I've lost all the documentation I had outlining where my evidence comes from, but it's an interesting archaeological/anthropological theory. At least, I think so.