Dolly Parton’s take on the “9 to 5” topped 3 billboards and sold over 300,000 records. A disco hall of famer, it won Parton 2 Grammys and became an anthem for office workers everywhere. It has resonated indefinitely, long after its birth in the midst of the 1980s recession: Dolly’s dim view of the working week is non-cyclical.
The 9 to 5 Ignorati dance to Dolly’s tune most weekends… But hold its lyrics in contempt…
“What a way to make a living?! That’s blasphemy Dolly, pour yourself another cup of ambition.”
Who are they? Well, they are the folk that ridiculed Pythagoras when he declared that the earth was round, the mob that murdered Bruno for ‘’ that our earth revolved it’s sun; they are the ‘flat-earthers’, the non-believers.
Defiantly ignorant of their extreme hindsight bias when they look back at humanity’s greatest insights, this populace lives predominantly amongst ‘the professionals’. Well-trodden career paths – lawyers, doctors, financiers – and respectable ones at that.
It was the Church that executed Bruno. Believe it or not, they felt that they were at the center of our universe. And it’s that same mentality that pops up at dinner parties every weekend when the Ignorati ask, “So… What do you do?”
Because of course, the question is often more about them than it is you. It is a veiled request for an altitude reading on your career.
Upon stating your cruising height, an immediate judgment is made on the relative prosperity of interviewer and interviewee. The roles may then reverse, follow-up questions might be asked, until both parties are satisfied that questionnaires are completed, filed, and ready for mental recall.
Unless of course you answer “I work for myself… I do my own ‘thing’.” At this point you’re referred to the supplementary questions in Section C9 that kickoff with, “Well… Where do you work from?”
For me, this is when I have to tell people that I ‘work from home’, predominantly developing software for my hotel comparison startup. If they have a sense of humor, I take a potshot for common ground as I sigh at how I miss the ‘Friday feeling’.
You see, my position is now extremely hard to quantify. Likely a mental process of elimination ensues – “you don’t have an office, so you probably don’t have employees, and I certainly haven’t heard of your business”. Forget about what you’re trying to do, statistically there’s a high chance you’re business is failing, and statistically they’d be right.
Sure, there’s an Additional Information section in which you could list some recent accolades, but then you’re a show-off, and I’ve always thought it better to be pitied than resented.
So you are sent down, imprisoned indefinitely, just as Galileo was for supporting Copernicus’ theory (that the earth revolved around its sun). You’ll come crawling back to the office soon.
At risk of likening oneself to some of civilization’s greatest minds, I should tell you that I’m not about to solve one of life’s great questions, or indeed occupy a higher step on the ladder than you. Nor am I free of our inescapable human nature to judge each other.
My mission is only to identify this group and render them as benign. As something that should be ignored. Whether the 9 to 5 Ignorati really exist or are a mere product of our insecurity, the emotions they conjure are redundant.
Written ‘at home’, by Jamie Rose.