Work Your Way Out Of The Matrix

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”― Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I believe my unconscious mind is trying to tell me something very important. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but writing always helps me clear my mind. Let’s see. 

I had a crazy dream last night, right before waking up. I always dream intensely at the last moments of sleep. I was working, in some weird offices with 5 or 6 people. I had to do some tasks I wasn’t particularly happy about doing, so I wanted to get out. But, getting out wasn’t that simple. If I wanted to get out and escape, I had to deconfigure a kind of matrix reality of work I was embedded on. I think I’ve been reading too much Huxley and Orwell. 

Anyways I began deconfiguring the system/reality for my escape and plotting it with some coworkers. We got caught as we were climbing up an infinite wall (I’m a rock climber, in real life) composed of building terraces, that kept making themselves larger and larger, with no end, similar to the infinite staircase from the Mario Bros. game, Nintendo 64. 

Finally, I don’t remember how I ended fighting with a giant boss, literally and figuratively, that I knew was a kind of algorithm. He grabbed me with one of his hands like King Kong to the girl in the movie. I had a pointy thing in my hand. I thrust it in one of his eyes. Light sprang out of the wound as he dropped me to the floor and reached his hands to tend himself. I ran from the Matrix. I woke up. 

Crazy dream, I’m guessing you can see it is full of meaning, right? Modern meaning perhaps? 

My day job.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my day job, but I don’t love it either. I am grateful for it as it provides a good life for me, my interests, and my family when they need me financially at least. 

 Nevertheless, I get what Taleb means when he says that a salary is a harmful addiction. You see, when you are unemployed, and you really need the money. You fucking move. 

You find a way, you write, you call, you do this, you do that, anything to get yourself out of the dire situation of not having any money. But once you get the job, after a couple of months of steady paychecks, you get comfortable. And this is the reason why it is harmful. 

For the vast majority of workers, their work, as in their day job, is not their life’s work. Right now I’m thinking about Albert Einstein. He had some rough months in his adult life, jobless and married. It is difficult to think of anything else other than paying the rent and putting food on your table when you don’t have some form of economic sustenance. And so it wasn’t until he got a job at a patent office as a clerk that he found the mental space to develop the relativity theory. Not bad. 

I know a lot of people, hey, I’ve done it myself, that complain about the job they found themselves in. Don’t get me wrong, there are some jobs where you can legitimately complain. Shit jobs that require your full time, and energy, and pay shit. Some others are not so bad, but they are boring. The bingo job is the one that gives you time to pursue your interests. I kind of have that job right now. I am incredibly lucky. 

But I got comfortable. 

Advice to myself, and to you, don’t do this. 

My dog died recently. I thought I was going to have the opportunity to see him one last time before they put him to sleep. I live in another city, I had already bought the plane tickets, I arrived two days late. He was dead when I arrived. 

Life will not wait for you. 

So the first thing that you have to do, in my opinion, is to get the money in order. So you can then solve the problem of what you want to do with your life. I believe this is one of the reasons I dreamt about the ‘work matrix’. It is a problem we all face, at least now. 

Have you ever thought about how not a lot of people can live off of what they love? 

Try living of your writing, or of your movies. It is damn hard, at the beginning. If you want to live off your passions, you have to pay a high price. If you don’t have any money, you need to figure that first so that you can have mental space to think about how to make what you like doing, something that helps others. 

If you already have your finances handled, you need to be careful not to fall into complacency and the comfort of a ‘safe job’. 

It shouldn’t be so hard to get out of the matrix, but for some of us, it is. Still, 

“Love without sacrifice is like theft”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Thanks for reading, 

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