You’ve probably seen some digital nomad flogger on social media peddling this snake oil while wearing a Hawaiian shirt and loafers.
A contrarian to this idea named “The 9-5 Guy” on TikTok a.k.a Connor has turned this way of life upside down.
He wants us to love our 9-5 jobs.
What the 9-5 guy’s life is really telling us
On the surface, Connor’s message is wholesome.
Go to college, apply for a job, get a job, work your way up the corporate ladder. Don’t stand out. Don’t be special. Create habits and follow a routine.
As research I watched many of his TikTok videos. I felt depressed afterward. He doesn’t seem happy. Nothing takes him by surprise. His life is boring and repetitive.
It feels like Connor is living in quiet desperation.
He thinks he’s happy but what’s really going on is he is missing out on life. He’s missing the “something more” and doesn’t even realize it. This post from Connor highlights the big problem.
Why you should stick with your 9-5 job:
– Job security
– Work/life balance
– Build steady wealth
– Career development
– Low risk
These are nothing but lies.
Stability equals routine which leads to boredom. “Benefits” are overrated. Job security is non-existent thanks to the glorious invention of layoffs.
Work/life balance is a dumb idea that suggests you should live to take a holiday from your work. When you’re obsessed all you want to do is do your version of work to the maximum.
Building steady wealth is a lie. Taxes and inflation will guarantee your salary doesn’t keep up with the cost of living and your purchasing power goes down over time.
Career development only exists at a minimum level because, if everyone is a manager, then no one is. And the last one, low risk, is a nightmare.
If you take no risks you’ll never get any rewards.
Connor is dishing out the blueprint to a bullsh*t life that has zero meaning, creativity, and imagination. I don’t buy it. People agree with me.
“I would hate myself if I lived like this ‘stable’ job with the same daily robotic routines [where] there is no adventure or excitement.”
“I think the sense of anomie is from how he’s not living *toward* anything.”
“This video was so depressing that I started tearing up watching it.”
The mindless life is one of mass distraction
I lived this 9-5 life.
It made me depressed. I always felt like I was born to do more, but my employer just wanted me to keep taking calls and lodging notes in the CRM.
When I had big dreams for a Ted Talk-style event, they shut me down. When I wanted to be a leader, they kept telling me I wasn’t ready. When I first started writing online, they told me it was risky.
They always had an excuse for why I should live smaller. I changed companies several times but the narrative never switched.
I wasn’t aware of it at the time but I lived a life of distraction, like Connor. When I got home I watched TV and always knew about the latest news event. It helped me turn my focus away from my big goals.
I became consumed by my employer’s goals which produced zero excitement. All they ever focused on, like any employer, was revenue. But I became sick of stupid KPI meetings about revenue.
Eventually I quit.
The job was a good starting point but there’s only so long you can stay on level one with no risk, drowning in comfort, and not using your creativity before you finally say “ENOUGH!”
If you watch enough of the 9-5 guy’s videos, they have this eerie vibe about them. The music is depressing. The look on his face is odd. He looks miserable. He has a hard shell on the outside which blocks him from feeling anything. He looks and acts like a robot.
When I watch Connor’s life it makes me think of my old 9-5 life, and that makes me emotional. Once you’ve lived a little you can never go back to monotony and boredom. It’s just too hard.
You’ll die if you have to.
The lie of the 9-5 Guy
Zach Pogrob on X pointed out an important fact:
The irony of the ‘9-5 guy’ is he already has a few hundred thousand followers, will get a few million, and never work a normal job again.
That’s right, like most things on TikTok, it’s all a lie.
TikTok is the new reality television. They’re all paid Hollywood actors. Connor’s character is the 9-5 guy and he plays it well. But he could make F U money or retire tomorrow based on the audience he’s built.
Being a contrarian on social media pays big, and Connor is a great example. The lesson here is don’t get fooled by people peddling obvious messages that feel off.
The 9-5 guy is a paid actor. He probably hates his job, but getting you to love yours pays well. He’ll likely have many companies dying to sponsor him to present his dystopian view of work and encourage more people to become slaves to the corporate machine forever.
There’s nothing wrong with starting out at a job. Just don’t stay on level 1 of a job forever. You were born to do more.