May 16, 2021 • 25M

199 Solving The Self-employment Paradox

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Larry G. Maguire
The Sunday Letters Podcast is the weekly audio newsletter from organisational psychologist Larry Maguire on the meaning & purpose of daily work and our paradoxical relationship with it. We explore how we may break free from tiresome means-to-an-end labour and take command of their own working lives. Topics include solo working, careers, entrepreneurship, small business economics, society and culture. Content follows the written newsletter, which goes out to subscribers every Sunday.
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The guy was an asshole. His only ambition as far as I was concerned was to make me understand the extent of his importance and authority over me. Ever since the day I went against his explicit yet sub-optimal instructions, he was gunning for me. He would show me who was boss, why his shitty ideas were better than mine, and it made my working life miserable.

I put up with the arrangement for about twelve months until I couldn’t take it any more. I handed in my notice, and on my final day on the job, I punched him in the face, pinned him to the ground, and beat the living shit out of him for a good eight minutes… ok, I didn’t. But I wanted to. Such was the extent of the pressure and intimidation I felt from his presence. The horrible, miserable, useless can of piss that he was. He reminds me of Mr Huph in The Invincibles cartoon movie, only his skin was paler, his hair thinner, and his eyes beadier.

That’s the nature of the hierarchical workplace and the power of position to hide personal insecurity and fester narcissistic tendencies. We’re all narcissistic to some extent. We all want to be seen, to be noticed and acknowledged for our work. But sometimes, for some people, that need for external recognition can feel threatening when they’re upstaged. Hierarchically based workplaces tend to allow nasty little bastards like Mr Huph to propagate unchallenged. So we either punch their lights out, or we leave. I left. But maybe Mr Huph did me a favour.

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