• The Six Lies 9~5 Employers Use to Secretly Manipulate You

    Took my entire career and one year away from the madness to see the truth.

    Photo by Joseph Kellner on Unsplash

    Employers are smart enough to manipulate you.

    Their ability to “sell you the dream” determines their success. Without workers they have nothing. Without people to exploit they wouldn’t be in business.

    Without taking more than their fair share from the value employees create they’d have no profits. This isn’t supposed to be a sad reality.

    It’s one that should wake you up.

    A job working for an employer is fine to begin with. But it shouldn’t be the end goal. (Hat tilt to Ankur Warikoo from Do Epic Shit.)

    Lie #1 — Companies give you perks to make the workplace a happy, fun place to be

    Companies like Google made free lunches and ping pong tables in the office a trend.

    Now many modern companies offer perks. They’re basically bragging rights. They’re designed to attract more suckers who mistakenly think a ping pong table is more important than meaningful work full of creativity.

    Once you have these workplace privileges it’s hard to give them up. They become the new norm, so anything less feels like a no.

    I call that corporate entrapment. Others call them perks for jerks.

    Lie #2 — Companies pay you a salary to help you feed the family

    Nope. A salary is part of the debt machine that fuels the entire world.

    A salary is an unwanted drug that pays the debt down so slowly it’s like watching grass grow.

    Without a predictable salary you wouldn’t qualify for bank debt. Having you take out loans is an employer’s porn fantasy. If you do it, they’ve got you by the curly ones.

    The predictable debt payments make it hard for you to try anything new or take calculated risks.

    Employers secretly know it. That’s why they pay you the way they do. The financial model determines work hours, holidays, employment contracts retirement funds — everything.

    A salary is manipulation. Read that again.

    Lie #3 — Companies give you promotions to progress your career

    Most promotions I had were useless.

    I’d get a small pay rise and a change in job title. The difference it made to my life, most of the time, was zero.

    The purpose of job titles is for companies to gamify your career. Promotions become a way to tap into the tribal nature of humans who seek status and to rise to the top of the herd.

    Companies know this, and they use it spectacularly well to manipulate the shit out of you.

    Most promotions lead to regret.

    Every time you want to live your life or perhaps take a holiday, the guilt from a promotion makes you second-guess your decision. “Maybe this will be bad for my career” you think. Or “they need me.”

    It’s why so many people don’t take time off. Don’t worry, I’m not immune.

    I spent large chunks of my career never taking a sick day or a single day off. I cashed in my holidays most years. That’s what promotion manipulation does to your brain. Now you know.

    The prospect of a promotion is nothing more than another opioid.

    Lie #4 — The job they offer will lead to the true definition of success

    When I get a new job I always marvel at the induction.

    Induction is really indoctrination. It’s where the company sells you the dream that the job they’ve so kindly given you will lead to the true definition of success that’s beyond your wildest imagination.

    The truth is the actual definition of success is one day not having a job.
    The people you admire don’t work regular jobs and warm office chairs. They’re out their doing epic shit & changing the world in some small way.

    True success is not being told what to do each day and tapping into your limitless creativity. 99% of jobs don’t offer that.

    (Let’s skip a few lies ahead…)

    Lie #45 — Making money online is a fairytale scam

    In my last job, I loved discussing the opportunities to earn additional income streams from the internet.

    Most of my colleagues were switched off. They were punch drunk, going to work sleepwalking. Barely breathing.

    They became so brainwashed by corporate HR that they were damn skeptical of everything outside of the cocoon of their job.

    This is by design.

    Your boss, colleagues, or employer don’t want to you to believe there’s another way to earn a living. Or that you can get paid more than once and, perhaps, use the extra money to work less.

    Employers want you to be a dependent like a toddler.

    Too tiny to nourish yourself with anything but their breast milk. Too naive to think for yourself. Too small to leave their office by yourself.

    Meanwhile, they pay you the bare minimum and keep most of the profit from whatever work you do. Smart.

    Lie #46 — Employers care about more than profit

    This lie never fooled me, and I’m not that smart.

    The purpose of 99% of employers is to use and abuse the people who work for them so they can maximize shareholder return.

    No point being cute about it.

    Once that harsh truth slaps you in the nose, a career looks different. All the causes employers say they care about are just a secret form of marketing.

    If they change the company logo to a rainbow it makes them more profit. If they say Russia is terrible their corporate image improves, and so, they collect more profits.

    If they say everybody can have unlimited vacation days it looks amazing as a headline in The New York Times. Except if you actually take up their offer you’ll probably get murdered at the next performance review and get kicked to the curb like a bum.

    We’ve all got to stop getting tricked by employers. “Caring” about social justice or charity is just a brilliant form of marketing.

    And in today’s cancel culture environment, employers have to be seen to be saying the right thing so employees or customers don’t cancel them.

    Solution: Forget what employers and leaders say and watch what they do. Nine times out of ten they don’t do jack. There’s your answer.

    Bringing it all together

    Employers lie. That’s their job so no point getting upset.

    Find a job, learn all you can about the industry and the business, then have a plan to slowly quit and go do it yourself to keep more of the profit and reallocate time back to what matters: living.

    The point is to use a job so it doesn’t use you.

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