Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 198: I Explain (Yet Again) How It Is Possible To Be "Working" And "Non-Working" At The Same Time

Here I am, sitting in my armchair, smoking a small clay pipe, supping on a glass of absinthe and inserting my tiny little monkey paw into a packet of Hula-Hoops. That is happiness, my friends; deep happiness. A happiness you can only feel if you are Truly Non-Working (in your heart). It is not to do with unemployment, holidays, being fired, or taking a day off. It is a state of mind.

I thought I'd explained the difference between "Working" and "Non-Working" before, but no. Only this morning, JonnyB left a dramatic comment on an earlier post. "You need a new identity for your internet web log ... Otherwise you are a liar", said he, in response to the astonishing news that on my 199th day of non-working, I will be moving to Amsterdam to live in a canal and do things with advertisements.

Oh, there's no doubt that I admire JonnyB. He's everything I want to be: a popular and respected blogger; an owner of ladders; a man. But sometimes he just doesn't listen. And so, for the sake of JonnyB and anyone else who insists on tiresomely pointing out that I am, in theory, now in a state of "workingness" rather than "non-workingness", here is my final word on how being "non-working" does not preclude being employed.

What is "Non-Working"?

"Non-Working" is an international movement spearheaded by me. So far, it has spread to the front door of my plush Brixton apartment and down the road a bit. It is a state of mind; a way of seeing the world and in particular, the world of work. It is perfectly possible to go to an office every day, do a good day's work, commute a bit, have a sandwich with Colin in accounts, be paid, do your expenses, take telephone calls, wear a suit and steal stationery - in fact, do all the things that would usually add up to be "working" - and yet be "Non-Working".

In essence, it is the strong desire to do very little (unless it's something you really like doing) and be answerable to no-one, whilst understanding that working is necessary in order to get money, which we need to live. (Unless we live in communes in trees and barter things, e.g. a dog on a string for a new jerkin.)

How do I know if I am "Non-Working"?

You are "Non-Working" if you work to get enough money to live. If you do not know where you see yourself in five years' time and couldn't care less, you are almost certainly "Non-Working".

The benefits of "Non-Workingness"

Happiness usually comes with "non-workingness". Ironically, also, being "non-working" can often make people much better at their jobs. They are less irritatingly eager to please; they are less sycophantic; they are relaxed, and have time to think. They are often more creative, nicer to work with and better at stealing stationery. Strangely enough, they are often better managers because they, more than anyone, know that everything else is more important than work. As a result, they often inspire a strange and beautiful loyalty in their teams.

How do I know if I am "Working"?

Oh, you'll know. (Clue: BlackBerry.)

I suspect I may be spiritually "Working" rather than "Non-Working". How do I change?

Cretin.

And now I must put down my glass of absinthe, leave my armchair and pack my satchel for Monday morning. But my armchair won't be empty for long, for in five weeks I will be back, absinthe in hand, admiring my new clogs.



I shall post from Amsterdam about anything that is not to do with work. Despite the fact that I have decided to get a book deal, I have had no offers (yet!!!! Come on, Faber! Ring my ding-a-ling, Random House! Ooh, Penguin! I'm a Modern Classic, I'm tellin' ya!!!!), and must be Sensible.

40 comments:

martina said...

I am "nonworking" too. Rather than tell other friends that I am working part time, another friend refers to me as being "semiretired". I first thought she said semi-retarded and shot her a dirty look-then she enunciated more clearly.

monkeymother said...

I know they're open-minded in The Dam, but do you think, perhaps, you should put on your fig leaves when going to work?

Sadly, that nice Mr Dave never came up with the lovely bolero and matching dirndl skirt I suggested - so much more appropriate for the office, particularly when accompanied by a nice pair of sensible shoes (or clogs).

P.S. I am surprised that clever Mr JonnyB (and others) don't seem to understand the state of mind that is non-workingness. Perhaps you should send them over here, and I could run a nice workshop to help them come to terms with their difficulty?

Anonymous said...

State of mind is where it's at, for sure. Right on n.w.m.

Mikey said...

Re: Book deal. I was at a publisher's party the other night and sang your praises to anyone who would listen. The fact that these praises were mixed in with my acerbic observations about Jade Goody and my rather eccentric options about the British Education System may have diminished their impact, however.

Still. I meant well. I always do. The young man with the canap├ęs seemed particularly intrigued by your proposal.

JonnyB said...

I consider myself abashed. Forcefully.

When somebody last asked me what I did I told them 'househusband' because I didn't want to tell them what I ACTUALLY did, in the gaps between fucking around all day playing with a baby.

I will use the term 'Nonworking' in future.

Sorry.

Sorry.

Carry on.

Liam said...

And so it would seem that I too am non-working. Because I work what little I have to to pay the bills, and don't know (or care) where I'll be in a year, never mind five. Hurrah!

And if I knew anything about the world of book publishing, I'd certainly try to get your published. Unfortunately, I know as much about that as I do about the mating ritual of the Lesser Spotted And More Striped Leopard.

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Martina: semi-retarded is MUCH MORE LIKE IT in my case, except we are not to use the expression 'retarded' as apparently it is not politically correct. Unfortunately, not being able to use it means I am unable to adequately describe most people of my close acquaintance.

Mikey - too kind. And I Know Where The Dutch Royal Family Live. Woo!

Anon - woo!

JonnyB. Never apologise. Your comment was more amusing than my post and allowed me to write about This, rather than Packing (very boring) or Not Finding Socks. Understand how I admire you, and would in many ways like to touch your arm lightly. Just to see what it's like.

MM - don't threaten things like that. It's far too good an idea.

monkeymother said...

Dirndl skirt or workshop?

button said...

Marvellous. By your definition I am Non-Working. I feel better already.

Oooh there's a stack of post-it notes in the stationary cupboard.

Bob Lordy said...

Woo....

I'm Non-Wworking too.....

Good Luck in the Dam

fiona said...

Despite the fact that I feel quite busy enough thank you, I seem to be failing to bring in enough money to live. Or at least Live. Still, it's 12.12 and I'm in my pyjamas. I suspect I'm officially non-working. But I have been Very Gainfully Occupied for the past hour doing things like Getting Up (takes some time, this one) and Eating Breakfast.

summerofb said...

Unfortunately I think that spiritually non-working but physically working causes some conflict. Inside. Especially if undertaken over extended periods. Like ten years. Or is it just me?

nmj said...

NWM, I must ask, what flavour of hula hoops brings you the deepest happiness? (For me it, is barbecued beef.)

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Buttons! Bob Lordy! Woooooooooooooooo!!!!

(Who wants to be in my "non-working" club? You can, as I have explained v.e.r.y. c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y. have a job, but still be "non-working".)

NMJ - Funnily enough the hula-hoops accurately illustrated here by Mr Dave Shelton: PLAIN hula-hoops. I like very dense crunchy things that get stuck in my teeth and for some reason I find the plain ones work the best. They are also an excellent hangover cure when 'twinned' (bleuch) with a can of ginger pop.

Summer of B - have faith, my friend.

Fiona - yes that's it, exactly! Very strong work. NB: I do not specify what 'live' means. I think it means have enough money to do the things you want. In my case that is going on adventures (small and medium-sized) with a pathologist and buying expensive bath oils, so in actual fact I can have an income approximately half that of the one I had before and be More Than Happy. Plus just not commuting and buying fucking Pret a Manger sandwiches (or having to buy work clothes) saves you about a fifth of your salary every year.

MM - Both?

Liam - you may, if you wish, be in my club.

Miss Tickle said...

I AM NON-WORKING!

I would like to be in your club please. I did not know there were others like me and I am finding it a Great Comfort.

JonnyB said...

For goodness sake. Would anybody else like to cop a feel whilst we are here?

Jack said...

I also would like to be a member of your club and offer to get the ball rolling on designing a secret handshake by which members can identify other pleasant, sane people unlikely to engage you in conversation containing the words 'blue sky thinking'.

Incidentally, the new chicken flavour 'ridged' Hula Hoop is an abomination both in style and taste and your whole life will smell of them for at least three days after having eaten a packet.

monkeymother said...

Have you packed? Did you find that sock? Did you bin the hamster sweater?

N.B. Groucho Marx.

mishima said...

Hurray! I am also non-working. can i now claim benefit?

Cheerful One said...

I'm definitely non-working, by your criteria.

Thank goodness for that.

petemaskreplica said...

The "ridged Hula Hoop" sounds like a folly almost on a par with Walker's Lime and Thai Spices flavour Sensations. I salute you, Miss Monkey, for your loyalty to the Hula Hoop as God intended.

-non-workingmaskreplica

Z said...

My husband used to be Working by temperament, until heavy snow blocked us in our house for a week just after Christmas (for which he had taken a week of leisure), about 25 years ago. My benign and happy influence during this enforced close contact changed his attitude forever.

Twenty years ago, we had a Momentous Conversation, as a result of which we decided to be Non-Working. We earn the money we need doing, occasionally, a job we love for a simple life we enjoy.

Working Kitten said...

Depite my name and having one of those pain in the behind job things, I am also non-working. Hurrah!

Perhaps someone could explain to my boss for me (also known as Twat Boy) that though to all intents and purposes I appear not to be working, that I actually am but am just in a non working state of mind? Ta very much.

Can I cop a feel of Jonnyb whilst we are here? It sounds like an activity completely in line with non working-ness . . .

tea and cake said...

Hurrah! I am not alone; I have been non-working for many, many years and I can claim to be one of the elite as I non-worked in local government.
Plain hula hoops - yes
Feel JonnyB - yes
Workshop - wassat?
Good luck on your travels :o)

JustJude said...

Good luck in Amsterdam! I look forward to reading all about it. I hope that there are many amusing photo opportunities. And stuff to tell us about.

And I am now delighted to confess I am also non-working. Which I have known for ages. But you have helped clarify matters enormously.

I only wish it actually felt that way...

Ms Baroque said...

Jonny, I'll have one.

And MM & NWM, please NOT the dirndl! what's the use of doing all that crap running and having a personal trainer/astrologer and all that if you're just going to wear one of those??

Liam said...

NWM, I would most certainly like to be in your club. I feel truely honoured. :D

Will said...

trying hard to nonwork.
must defocus.
need to stop doing freelance and find a nice stationary cupboard to go and be semiretarded in.
my eyeballs hurt and i must go to bed.
Goodnight Non-Working Monkey. Have a nice time in Amsterdam.

summerofb said...

did someone mention a club?

summerofb said...

pick meeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Clare said...

NWM, I am very shocked that you haven't been shortlisted in any Blogger categories. I felt so sure that you would be!

Farty said...

You'll have to get the Shelton to create a new picture of you - adding clogs, one of those hats you see Dutch girls wearing when in National Costume (I think it's called a Dutch Cap), pigtails and that.

AlwaysConfused said...

I've been Non-Working all my life. I am a major under-achiever who works 2 or at the most 3 days a week. And even then I do as little as humanly possible. Don't you just love life??
I'm a bit worried about the horrible cat. What's to become of him while you're not working in Amsterdam? Tell me you do not plan to (accidentally) starve him to death?
Hope you enjoy A'dam. The weather is dismal over here, but at least the food is bad.

Reading the Signs said...

I am non-working. I eat chocolate, talk to myself and stare at things a lot. I have just had spiced red cabbage with chopped ham for lunch. I am telling you this because that's the kind of gal I am. Beam me up, sister.

asta said...

I just knew that someone familiar with The Advertising would let the secret out. There are many of us who have been non-working for years. We're quiet about it, because if word really got around, everyone would want to join and then who would do all the crap jobs like attending budget meetings, and job description reviews?

That's so pants said...

Works for me.

Morgan said...

Okay, so scratch my last comment about the dole. I admit to skim-reading initially, but only because it all seemed a bit too good and I didn't know where to start. But anyway, this was the best thing I've ever read. Ever. I am non-working in my heart but also actually working with 'advertisements'. I am immensely jealous that you moved to Amsterdam, too. How'd that happen? I want to do that since I can't move to New York.

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Holy shit! I've just seen all these comments. I will deal with them later, when I am NOT AT WORK. (Cough.)

looby said...

I find this discussion patronising and ignorant of what Richard Sennett described as the hidden injuries of class. The purely psychological state of nonworking described here is only available to people who have managed to secure a well-paid job they enjoy, and therefore have the luxury of displaying to others their detachment from the financial and practical demands that people poorer than themselves are deluged with all the time. I find it a bit arrogant, a disguised self-congratulation, and a slight to the vast majority of people to whom working is emphatically not a "state of mind."

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Excellent! I rather suspect you have had what they call an 'irony bypass'. Thank you nevertheless for your contribution to this exciting debate.

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