On The Leisure Track: Rethinking the Job Culture

On The Leisure Track: Rethinking the Job Culture (book manuscript in progress)Cultivating leisure.  In a culture held in thrall to the Protestant work ethic, the concept of consciously cultivating a culture of leisure sounds suspect to many people, and conjures up images of frivolity and uselessness.  One of the objections to unconditional basic income, for example, is the notion that too much leisure will lead to degeneracy.  If people aren’t made to work for a living, so the argument goes, they’ll waste away in front of the computer or TV.  The prevalence of this sort of rhetoric leaves us ill-equipped to understand what leisure time is, and why it is so valuable.

Leisure is much more than free time, and can in fact serve as a vital and oft-overlooked form of resistance to an ecocidal, genocidal, white supremacist, misogynist, homophobic, ableist, work-til-you-drop culture in which millions are structurally coerced into wage labor jobs for lack of viable alternatives.  Among the many reasons leisure has inherent value is that it provides freedom to do things that matter – things that we care about – whether or not they pay.  What most of us call “work” is actually wage labor: selling our hours to employers in exchange for money to survive.  A culture of leisure, by contrast, would provide freedom to work on our own terms, and to enjoy ample leisure as well.

On The Leisure Track: Rethinking the Job Culture is my in-progress book manuscript about the importance of cultivating a culture of leisure, and the tools and methods we can use to help us along the way:

  • unconditional basic income
  • decolonizing our time
  • dismantling the Puritan work ethic and the ways we internalize it
  • countering get-a-job nonsense
  • embracing gift culture
  • listening to the land
  • properly valuing care work, housekeeping, and emotional labor

…and other cage-rattling to help build a world beyond ‘earning a living’.

Chapter titles

Introduction
My Story
Chapter One
“I Need a Job, But I Don’t Want One”: On Earning a Living as Structural Violence
Chapter Two
Paths of Least Resistance: Conventional Employment and the Lie of Financial Independence
Chapter Three
Do What You Love, Lazy Bums Who Refuse to Work, and Other Lies of Job Culture
Chapter Four
Decolonizing Our Time: Un-Jobbing and Unlearning the Protestant Work Ethic
Chapter Five
“Is Nothing Sacred?” On Doing Nothing and Leisure as Resistance
Chapter Six
Emotional Labor: A Feminist Valuation
Chapter Seven
Working in the Gift: Gift Culture, Basic Income, and Listening to the Land
Conclusion
Toward a World Beyond Earning a Living

The manuscript is still in progress; it’s approximately half finished.  I don’t have a book contract or an expected publication date yet, but the introduction can be read in full online.

When further progress updates are available, they will be posted to my Patreon page.  Note that Patreon has a feed similar to Facebook’s feed where you can like and comment on public posts, so all you need to do is set up a Patreon account and you can follow and comment on my public updates there even if you are not a patron.

In the meantime, feel free to share these memes I made, featuring quotes I love!

Postwork future - Tim Dunlop quote

Idler's Glossary - not being used

Quote from Francis Weller on the obscenity of the phrase

Quote from Laurie Penny on the abolition of

Laurie Penny quote - Rethinking the Job Culture