“What do you mean Big Quit Energy?”
At their core, the writing and projects on here are about helping us develop “Big Quit Energy”—a term I’ve coined for the mindset under which one feels freed from any shame or status linked to productivity or “career achievement.” These “work-humper” attitudes are not only thin and unsubstantial to a good life, they’re also what keep many of us workaholic without the need for a boss breathing down our necks.
Having Big Quit Energy means holding the knowledge that it’s OK to take some slack and set some boundaries. Holding it so deep in your being, in fact, that you take this self-care unapologetically and defiantly despite immense pressure from our work-centered society.
While goofing on bosses is fun, and BQE has its fair share of that, the biggest focus here will be on identifying and debunking the internal stories many of us (our bosses included) make ourselves prisoners to. I think of it as firing the boss within, and I find it a worthy goal because life is best when we can shamelessly fill it with leisure.
“Why are you doing this?”
In all honestly, mostly for self-help. I’m very beholden to these work-humper stories. I still have a job at which I must act the part of the go-getter. While I’ve always been deeply upset by the idea of a “job” being our society’s central institution, discarding perfectly wonderful beings because they “don’t produce value” as defined by a boss or a manager, I’m still very much scared to fully rebel against this arrangement. To set boundaries, or to walk away completely and derive my sense of self completely separately from a career.
Case in point: I make this stuff under a pseudonym, cause I don’t yet feel like being found out, fired, and blacklisted as unemployable. I’ll even admit that I have annoying “achievement brain” when it comes to this project. As much as I just do this because it’s helping me personally, I’m still always tempted to see if what I’ve just published has “done well,” gotten likes, all that stuff.
I’m trying to wean myself off that mindset, because I’ve had it long enough to know that it saps the fun out of all activities. Maybe you feel the same way, and we can build our Big Quit Energy together.
“What core questions are you exploring as you try to develop Big Quit Energy?”
Glad you asked. The current “big questions” all posts, art, and/or background thinking related to this blog fall under include the following:
What are the cultural work-humper stories and assumptions that drive us to workaholism?
This is by far what I think and write about most. I’ve guided my “canon reading” toward disarming toxic but common ways we think about work ethic and leisure. Sometimes I don’t immediately buy into new framings I come across, but I find them interesting enough to “try out” for a while, and see if they fit.
One of my favorite examples is how Devon Price helped me stop glorifying our grandparent’s work suffering. Sometimes, new framings will come to me on their own through journaling or daydreaming, and I’ve enjoyed sharing some of these as well.
What are better stories and assumptions to cultivate?
This gets at cultivating a positive vision of what we’re “quitting into” when we develop Big Quit Energy. If I didn’t love the name of this blog so much, I’d rue it. It focuses us from the jump on what we don’t want, and I think it’s important (and healthy) to have a vivid vision of a positive alternative to work-humping that we can embrace.
What does media with “healthy” messages about work and leisure look like?
Having found a set of remedying stories and affirmations to melt the sociopathic work assumptions that our current media (including a lot of media I love) beats into us, I’m interested in spreading them through art, video, poetry, and other engaging mediums.
Is our desire for status—the urge to rank ourselves and others— “naturally” human? Or can we transcend it?
Throughout life I’ve had the privilege to see many things I considered “natural” (cultural practices, gender norms, our very sense of self) exposed as simply agreed-upon conventions. I’d love to know if this also applies to our reliance on hierarchies and status. At least for me, status desires motor my workaholic tendencies–and it’s not just megalomania. I fear the consequences of losing status in the eyes of my peers, imagining ostracism, starvation, and sometimes physical violence will result if I do. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was common.
I haven’t written substantially about status with the exception of exploring “horizontal relationships” as a cornerstone for BQE life. But I’ve been slowly compiling notes to write what will likely end up being a series exploring it. I’m excited and daunted by it.
How to solve the practical problem of ethically sustaining oneself outside the job institution?
I’m very hesitant to write about this because there’s already so much out there (ex. the minimalism and FIRE movements) and I’m not well-versed in it, being a chump dependent on a job and all. However, this is a question I ask myself a lot (like virtually every other American), and would personally love finding a solution that doesn’t involve imposing the job tyranny on others.
Maybe it’d be interesting to survey the different avenues people have tried to find their sustenance outside an employer-dominated job structure, with the benefits and challenges that come with each. Beside FIRE and minimalism, I’d add co-ops (a democratic job structure), part-time freelancing/gig work, and mutual aid mechanisms.
If there are any other approaches I don’t know about, I’m all ears!
What can a functional society look like if it doesn’t center jobs as the most important institutions?
Another one I’ve shied away from, this one because it’s huge in scope and political (i.e. charged AF) in nature. That said, writing BQE has made me realize that, especially in America, employers are elevated above almost everything else by both sides of the political spectrum. We take it as fine and normal that affiliation to a job is a prerequisite to participate in much of society–even working independently as a freelancer or entrepreneur is systemically discouraged.
Are there different ways to organize ourselves that makes us less dependent on being in a subservient relationship to an employer? There’s a lot I’ve been intrigued by but still need to dive into, including proposals for universal basic income and various anarchist visions for society. I’ve recently begun publicly musing about some of this, but I’m still on the fence about whether I’ll write anything more thorough on the topic.
“How often will I hear from you?”
There’s no set schedule because I only want to clog your inbox when I for real have something to say, but in practice I post on here every one or two weeks. If I ever notice that I’m posting more than once a week, I’ll start consolidating it all into a weekly roundup, to minimize spam.
Thank you for your interest in Big Quit Energy—I’m glad we’ve found each other in this vast internet ocean. If you have any ideas for collaboration, comments, insults, whatever, you can comment here, write to me at LVago@bigquitenergy.com, or find me on Insta, Twitter, and Youtube. You can also gift someone some needed Big Quit Energy (while supporting this platform) by patronizing our cool swag shop.