A pointless job is a slow-acting poison

Ben Charles
3 min readJun 15, 2021

I know I am by no means the first person to realize that their ‘good job’ was actually rotting their soul from the inside out and leaving them an empty sack of skin that used to be a human being. I do however want to add my voice to the existing cohorts who are telling you that this is a pretty normal and to be honest, understandable reaction.

Now spare me your condescending eye rolls and mutterings about young people. We’ve heard it all before and we’re bored of it. Why on Earth are some people so zealously committed to the idea that we should just shut up and be miserable like everybody else because that’s how the world works?

Is the idea that I might not want to work for two thirds of my waking life, be stressed and unappreciated, spend my time doing mundane and largely pointless tasks all day for somebody else involving no passion, spirit or creativity while at same time being grateful for the opportunity to earn minimum wage, really so bloody strange?

In fact I shouldn’t mention money because it’s not actually about money. I know for a fact that I could be earning half a million a year but if I still felt like the paragraph above I’d still be writing this blog post.

You might look at me like I’m entitled or I think the world owes me something but I look at you as someone who gave up. The system beat you and the terrible irony is that you’re annoyed about all the same things I am you’ve just had the will to resist slowly expunged out of you by the truly absurd cultures, bureaucracies and general nonsense we’re expected to tolerate as human beings in the work place.

It doesn’t take an abusive boss or manipulative colleagues or deliberate attempts to undermine and belittle us to make a job more or less unbearable. It can simply be that it saps the very life force out of us through the sense that all those hours, days and weeks of your life are spent doing something of next to no consequence, all the while being forced to endure managerial incompetence and apathetic colleagues.

Look it’s not like this a new story. The narrative of the bulls**t job is long established; a job where you get the sense that if you were to just… not do it, the world would be largely unchanged, which then begs the question why is it worth exchanging the limited and precious minutes of your life for in the first place?

This can be an alarmingly toxic environment in which to spend large amounts of your time but it’s a slow-acting poison; it’s very tempting to argue that it’s not all that bad and other people definitely have it worse and the pay is OK etc. But waking up every day and plodding off to work absent any excitement, interest or passion is a slow and steady but guaranteed route to a psychologically crushing existence.

I really fail to see the entitlement in taking an honest look at what you do for work, deciding that it offers neither you or others anything of any value and wanting more from the activity that you’ll likely spend a third of your whole life doing.

Abandoning such a job is not entitlement or being spoilt, or lazy or undisciplined. In fact it’s borderline your duty as a thinking, feeling human being who is capable of so much to make better use of the brief window in which you get to exist and to value yourself and your time sufficiently to understand that your resources are better spent elsewhere.

You’ll have to forgive me ending on a cliché but one thing that’s guaranteed is we’re all going to die one day and wasting any of the devastatingly short time we actually have to enjoy being alive on a pointless job is a fundamentally terrible thing, regardless of that fact that other people might have it even worse.



Ben Charles

Writing about self improvement, travel, finance, big ideas, technology and anything else I find interesting.