Don’t be a Drone: Some reflections on how people are with their jobs

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Sunday, 4 May 2014 - Last Updated on May 5, 2014

By: Richard Leo Ramos

salarymanOnce you’ve graduated, people (your loved ones, soon-to-be-loved-ones, and other kinds of acquaintances) expect you to do the right thing and get a job. The job should be something that “you don’t necessarily like, but something that can put food on the table,” and it should be stable enough, preferably from a big company.

There will be heaps of advice, on how you shouldn’t stay too long in one job, and always look for better pay, and higher rank. If you have kids, then it’s even more important to find a job that will take care of them. Once you have more resources, you’ll find time for your hobbies and interests.

It’s the perfect lifestyle. However, you have to ask yourself: does it get to be repetitive? Is it a bit of drudgery? Many people will instantly tell you that, of course, you have to learn to love the job, or at least find a job close to your interests that pays well. And it you don’t like the job, then you should just suck it up and think of the money, and how it can at least give you the chance to afford a nice hobby that you like.
Does that sound fair? Would you bite that apple? If you do, then what you should do is prevent yourself from becoming a drone.

Rinse, Wash, and Repeat?

One of the classic arguments about having a stable job is about where the line will be drawn in the sand. For some people, it’s all about earning the money, and to hell with being happy. After all, that’s what hobbies and weekends are for. For others, there is that deep need to integrate what they do for a living with their whole life philosophy.
And that’s where the problem begins, because there is a perceived binary situation on how one should treat the idea of making a living.

Leaving it all behind when you go home for the night

Let’s start with people who actually do hold down what they think are boring jobs, but have no problems about it. I’ve known quite a few in my time – in fact, my own partner holds down a job many would find boring. For these people, the job is important, since they live with the idea that you’re not supposed to enjoy the job, but you certainly should enjoy the money that comes with having the job.
For some of them, the idea is to save up, gain more experience, and generally prepare for the future, or try to reach a certain rank level in work where the pay definitely overtakes the drudgery.

There are definitely benefits to this sort of thinking. For one, people who do this have less of a problem finding jobs, in general. They also tend to have fewer issues about work, unless they feel that they are being underpaid.

But then, that great strength also has its own great weakness. People who are in it for the money also tend to have a compartmented lifestyle – in other words, employers probably won’t find them willing to go to work or even accept calls if it’s the weekend, or even if it’s after office hours.

Loving work, because it loves you

The other kind of people is those who need to like their work. Now, this isn’t an upper-class conceit, as many people would probably think. Some people really just need to have a “humanizing” factor to what they do. For some, it means that the work should be something they can appreciate, something they wouldn’t mind putting in their resume. For others, the work itself isn’t the issue, but how it’s done. They prefer socially active office cultures, and they probably don’t mind workflow structures that don’t make them feel like they’re just another part of a larger assembly line.

The great strength of people who do love the job for what it is that they are the ones willing to go the extra mile when it comes to their work output. They may not totally be jumping up and down for their job, but they love it well enough that they know they better do it well. Again, this is also their greatest weakness, since if the factors that make them love the job are overtaken by negative issues, they may actually leave a job even if it pays very well. Yes, it is rather idealistic, but what makes these people tick is how the job is done, and how they live their jobs.

The drone

It may surprise people, but the tendency to be a drone may affect both kinds. And the reason there is that it’s all about whether or not you let the job affect your other life aspects. For those who do it for the money, the temptation there is simply to shut down all sociability and creativity when doing the job, and it can extend into other aspects of life, by creating a need to justify being involved with anything at all. If you’ve heard about traditional dads who bury their heads in the newspapers even when they’re at home relaxing, then you have one kind of a drone.

For those who are in it for the jobs, being a drone takes on a slightly more disturbing idea. These people just can’t seem to disengage from work. Even when they’re in the middle of the party, they talk about the technical side of their work. They talk shop while relaxing with friends who are in the same field, often in a detrimental fashion, since they can’t seem to talk about anything else. They usually end up missing a social get-together if something has to be done at work. If you have a friend who can’t seem to stop talking about work, no matter how glamorous it may be, then you do have a type of drone.

How can you avoid being one?

In simple terms, you should round yourself out. Admittedly, people who compartmentalize their lives or work for the money (and please, before anything else – there’s nothing wrong with that, unless there’s criminal activity involved…) are the ones who can have an easier time avoiding this, even though the potential to be one is greater, too. All that is needed is to make sure that when you do leave the office, you should also leave the “work attitude” behind. And it’s no surprise that the same goes for those who love integrating their life with their work, except in their case, it’s about minimizing the integration of their work, so they can also focus on other things.

So you see, there is nothing at all wrong with working hard and partying hard, just as there is nothing wrong with integrating your job into your non-work aspects. However, the idea here is that you should know when to just sit back and have fun when the job isn’t there. Hopefully, when it’s time to work, you will be fully recharged. Don’t be a drone. Be human, and have fun!


Photo: “Wind him up” by Newtown grafitti, c/o Flickr. Some rights reserved.


Richard Leo Ramos (73 Posts)

Richard Leo Ramos is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast. When not working, he is a bass guitarist of the metal band Cog. He is also the founding "bar owner" of an online hangout for mecha anime enthusiasts in Facebook, known as Mecha Toys.

About Richard Leo Ramos

Richard Leo Ramos is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast. When not working, he is a bass guitarist of the metal band Cog. He is also the founding "bar owner" of an online hangout for mecha anime enthusiasts in Facebook, known as Mecha Toys.

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