On Being an Anarchist but Still Going Corporate
I’m fraternizing with the enemy
Here is another article I wrote in 2010 on my WordPress blog when my career was really just getting started and I was sorting out how I felt about working for a big corporation and making lots of money.
I actually went corporate years ago, but now I’m moving up again in the corporate world. I got hired on full-time at the agency where I’ve been working the last six months. Before this I was making more money than I felt I deserved, and now I’m making even more, plus a whole complex package of benefits.
I also get to do something I love, which is sitting in front of a computer coding fancy little user interfaces and dynamic animations for websites and banner ads.
I used to tell myself that I would never work for a major corporation, and it might seem odd that a devoted anarchist would have his own phone extension and company business card. As much as I complain about how society works I’ve found that making the best of it can build a pretty comfortable life.
I’ve realized in the last half-decade that anarchism isn’t about fighting back against the way the world works. Sometimes you need to deal with it and make the best of it. I don’t believe I’m going to change anyone’s minds by working in a kitchen the rest of my life or make any notable difference by going off the grid though I used to believe that I could.
The more corporate I become and the farther I climb up through the middle-class, the more confident I become that the whole system is skewed and unfair. I see people in the drive-through’s, working twice as hard as I do for a fraction of the pay, doing something that isn’t nearly as fun. I feel bad about that sometimes, like I’m just exploiting society and giving less back than someone who washes dishes… though I suppose you could argue that I am building things that people use and in my own tiny way, I’m pushing the bounds and expectations of technology, but the people making the WordPress plugins that do so much for this site are doing the same thing to a greater degree, and they’re not paid anything.
Most people in the corporate world are not programmers who actually build something. Instead, their jobs involve pushing money around in one form or another. In an anarchist society, all that time and energy would either be going toward making the world a better place, or toward leisure activities like spending time with family.
I still love the corporate world for my own selfish reasons. Without it I wouldn’t be able to order sushi or fancy espresso whenever I wanted. I suppose that as an anarchist that does make me a hypocrite, but I’ve decided that it’s better to be a hypocrite than to not care. As an anarchist, I would like to see a world where everyone on the planet could order sushi and fancy espresso whenever they want.