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Dear Potential 'Employer'

Dear Potential ‘Employer’,

I trust this letter has arrived in the right hands (be it yours), unhindered, with an aura of rich conjuration. I am writing in response to your business’ flamboyant plea for new staff in your extensive, though not blatantly monopolising, departments. Please make generous time for this cover letter—I anticipate you should receive it well.

I have been ruminating on a range of ideas, proposals, fixes, solutions (and problems to match)—as well as my long-awaited manifesto—and I have since failed to bear the bliss of putting pen to paper. I strive to impel folk like yourselves, and in turn, I block my own potential—yearning to prove that my value comes from a profound ability to obtain and show knowledge. In such moments, I maintain a struggle in finding my peace with unemployment. What a shame, really, to embark on such an adventurous mystery into the unknown, but not to dwell in the sat chit ananda of the process. And here I am, biting my nails at the thought that I might never receive a payslip for a job that holds meaning.

I sense that so many businesses have it wrong. And if profits and growth are at the forefront of the business model and vision, then all assets in association with said business are polluted—leading to further callow conduct. You may think this harmless, but your gain is someone else’s loss. If I’m unable to sell your product, I can only deduce—nobody wants it.

And that must be a painful truth for you (not me) to recognise—still, please rest assured, you are vital in our evolution no matter what those comical customer reviews have said about you—and I will always validate your emotional burdens with tissues at hand. With that said, however, could you expect me to work differently to increase profits? Probably not. Would I work differently to be of greater help to the people? Sure.

To start, I’ve considered the demand for manual labour, but I question, who is driving this? And is it actually serving my society? I don’t mind gardening or picking things up and moving them to another place in a room. And if you put me in a warehouse, it will consequently increase my physical stamina—though a five am start isn’t ideal. Still, I cannot pretend this setup exists as it should. These more practical lines of work have notably lost their sense of creativity and joy, despite the fact that some of them are possibly crucial to society.

If I can be candid, Amazon (the mob not the forest) carries a dark reputation of exploiting their workers—I read about this in The Guardian—and supposing it were only a one-time-occurence (which it is not), that’s enough to exclude them from the aspirant cultures of greater consciousness (that’s me and maybe you), meaning I wouldn’t feel comfortable packaging and posting items that, if never posted, would give more business to local merchants. Nor would I want to work for the second richest person in the world—unless his intentions were to make me the third richest—which I could almost guarantee he’d forget to do.

To present a short anecdote—my father worked dusk till dawn shifts for UPS when he was supporting himself in graduate school. Do I sincerely believe this experience built his character? No. Hard work is one thing, however, not sleeping to pay for an education is a slave-trade that imprisons individuals within a false system. The people behind these ‘systems’ claim to recognise aspects and the odd example of the prevalent injustices, but still, they force human beings to work more than is required to afford to live.

And so, my question for you is—how do you define work?

And before you answer wrongly, I’ll tell you my thoughts.

If I assist my friend in moving house and they promise to return the favour at some point—for example, assisting me moving house, or giving me a lift to and from the airport—and instead of directly offering their time and labour, my friend approaches me saying, ‘in exchange for all of your assistance, I’m going to give you the names of a handful of individuals who can help you down the line—only, you’ll then owe them a favour in exchange.’ I thank him without thought—and accept.

We have learned to get out of working by creating jobs that, ultimately, strive to get people out of working—in other words, jobs with no purpose or service. Truth be told, it is hard to get enough of something that almost works. We all wish we could sit in some bubbly modern conference room spitting out words like ‘social enterprise’, ‘synergy’, or ‘core competency’, making hundreds of thousands a year, however, some more important things need doing. And many of us are still willing to take part in meeting global needs on a much more practical level. And so, why are companies creating jobs with the sole purpose of building or sustaining their business alone? And why is it wrong for individuals to seek contentment within ‘lower level’ positions?

I don’t want anything that isn’t a real job—this includes sales, management (more on that later), brand ambassador, marketing analyst, creative lead, recruitment director, or one who supervises the changing rooms at John Lewis. I mean no disrespect to people in those positions currently, yet, I must express my storming moral outrage that jobs like this even exist when the world is in its current state.

Unreal jobs sustain capitalism—though not the wellbeing and prosperity of our species. Within capitalism is commercialism—a fancy word for an operation that feeds off humanity feeling incomplete. And now, we’ve lost our understanding of our collective strength and chutzpah—desperately trying to complete and fulfil ourselves with such decreasing regard for civilization. Let it be known, securing the ideal job is the beginning of our contribution, and not the assurance of our ‘successes’.

Furthermore, I refuse to support bad ethics—which in my book, go beyond the promotional stunt that is the ‘legal system’ and are more in line with humane anarchic manifestos or ancient philosophical and spiritual teachings. I’d also include selections from The Constitution of the United States. If we meet, I’ll provide a reading list.

You may have noticed, I have no degree-level qualifications. But I do have, to put it simply, qualifications. I obtained two diplomas in acting from accredited drama schools, and I also took a four month French course that bumped my level from beginner to intermediate. And if that’s not ideal in your head, I can only assume you must be a farmer, climate expert, public transport employee, construction labourer, primary school teacher, firefighter, or health service employee—thank you for all you do! I’ll also accept union leaders, although we hope they become positively redundant in due course. Of course that will only happen once you get a grip.

The rest of you are like me—free and available to do anything that fits our capabilities. I am willing to do other work besides making theatre or conversing in French—fully at hand to meet the needs of this world. And so, my willingness to help is what differentiates my career intentions (and sort of yours too) from the intentions behind the 1%, and a myriad of other painful well-to-do tycoons on the charts. I’m sure they are people too, however blinded by their own individually self-made ambition—to the point where they don’t, in fact, have any idea what they’re actually doing. I think Jesus said a similar thing.

This has all become a scheme—or rather, a con. And I will not con anyone, meaning, if I can genuinely help an individual at the expense of the business’ profits or even ‘the law’, I will do so with no guilty conscience. As Jack London once said, ‘Law is one thing and right is another thing. Ask any lawyer.’ I love people and it would go against my natural instinct to ever allow a system or corporate vision to undermine the dignity of humankind.

Competitive business is out-dated, chauvinistic, and insincere and it could only work if each of us agree to live by that means—to which at least three or four of us in my state school P.E. class had not consented. Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ means we all go where we are best suited—or most fit—in order for humanity to flourish on this earth. This is not, and never has been, about an individualised race to success. Do not beat yourself up for being ignorant because, after all, your learning is a team-effort. And I’m a team player, as you should acknowledge.

Another strength I can bring is through my artistic heart—for example, my joy for writing. Again, I don’t need to be your ‘in-house-writer’—that would be humiliating within a company like yours—but I can write for you, create theatre funded by you, take basic level photography for your records, or form a unionised choir. If I learned anything from my three years of drama training—it’s that art and play transcend time and space as we know it. I am a playful artist at the core and this informs my practice in almost all areas of life—including the rituals of daily tasks such as hoovering or improvising when toilet roll is scarce—it’s all in my attitude. And my imaginative muse will always help determine how I choose to work for you which is non-negotiable unless you can prove me wrong—and I’d be amused to see you try.

In terms of my hours and pay, I only need to work part-time and I would appreciate my salary not reflecting this. According to Peter Kropotkin, full time labour is hardly necessary in this technological age (and he was referring to the end of the nineteenth century in his book, The Conquest of Bread). David Graeber made a similarly compelling case within our lifetime. In meeting the essential needs of society, the workload today cannot possibly be as high as we pretend. You may wish to disagree—I can have that effect on people—and I welcome a good conversation, but never a frivolous debate. Nevertheless, given the persistent consequences of our unjust free market, you’d be unintelligent not to indulge the likes of me for once. I’m happy to discuss this further—but only briefly.

My fair share of the essential workload (a generous share) is fifteen, perhaps twenty, hours per week. For this, my rate would start at £35 per hour. In that time, I will work hard for that which merits hard work and, with collective effort, we can accomplish great things. I don’t do targets, pitches, or deadlines—just let me get on with the work.

*A deadline is a term coined from the American Civil War—context clues should enable you to decipher my point.

This flexibility of hours and performance will give all of us luxurious time to—in line with our interests and passions—spread inspiration and new thought into the world without any financial concern.

You’re likely unwilling to provide these hours with my suggested rate, so allow me to come in to advise you on your credible economic incompetency—for this service, my starting rate would be the same.

Please note too that if, down the line, my labour were to be replaced by a machine or a robotic intelligence, what mainstream media call AI, I’ll likely condemn this rookie error and expect to remain in employment with reduced hours (or no hours) earning the same, or perhaps a higher, rate.

Benefits are obligatory as well—but only the vital benefits. I’m disinterested in your company’s ‘well-being’ sector to offer support—I anticipate all wellbeing support will speak through your actions—humane treatment, humane working standards, humane hours and pay (I used ‘humane’ thrice as a form of rhetoric). With this, your employees will be free of unnecessary anxieties, and therefore, will have truer and more heartfelt intentions in their work. And if staff do need extra support, be it therapy for example, you will have provided them with the necessary means to provide this for themselves.

I also accept company spa days, discounts, and generous maternity and paternity leave when applicable. I’m not a morning person, so don’t expect me in at nine.

I do not work for anyone. I’m sure we can find our common ground on the benefits of ‘leadership’ and the distinctions between roles in various jobs—however, you will have to think of me as the sole care-taker of my own responsibilities, and therefore, I work alongside every member of staff. A supervisor’s sense of control and management is purely their own silly illusion. None of that gothic ‘you report to them who reports to me’ nonsense—this is not the Mafia.

With that said, if it helps for a certain type of individual to play boss (we all know those people), I’ll play along. I am a trained actor, after all.

To end, I must emphasise the truth of my emotional life.

Suppose I’m feeling low one Tuesday because the bus driver yelled at me and I stepped in yellow dog faeces, I’ll probably need longer to regulate myself. But this does not decrease my value to you—it does, truth be told, enhance my realness and genuine productivity—therefore, you yourselves will experience life to a fuller degree. That’s a treat.

With me on board, people will feel disabled from exploiting me in even the smallest of ways. That is not to say I become rude or defensive—instead, I stand up for what is true. You might have a ‘zero-tolerance’ decree, and that’s marvellous for you—however, for me, I simply will not indulge in, or validate, the insanity of others by being at the effect of their irrationality. And if I believe situations come into play that need serious intervention, I will seek counsel at my own discretion. In situations where I can handle any pathetically barmy aggression myself, I would share my reflections with said individual as I would expect to be done with me regarding my own shortcomings. This includes, but is not limited to, partners, employees, and clients. The customer does not always come first. That is ridiculous.

Understand my intentions—I cannot say enough that pasting a grinning emoticon face on everything and everyone will send us to extinction—because, at this time, the modern world is tragically and acutely lost. I endure such heavy pains when I encounter the burdens, the loneliness, and the anxieties that working and non-working people alike have about survival—a burden we surely could have overcome centuries ago. The cruel game has run its course and turning our psychotic system into something real is heartbreaking to witness. We have believed for so long that knowledge gives us value, but alas, our value—that is, everyone’s value—is untouchable. Only compassion and curiosity can, therefore, give value to life. Friends, it’s time to do better—and I refuse to impress you simply to get shallow employment in some meaningless endeavour. I am far beyond myself at this point and the urgency for you to comprehend the essential needs of society is desperate. How can we be losing so badly against ourselves?

I encourage you—managers, recruiters, and executives alike—to channel a more inspiring creativity in what you do. Perhaps it’s time to enhance sustainable practices globally in every sector—to help ensure suitable clothing, food, and housing for everyone—to walk amongst those in your community who suffer. Maybe today is the day to encourage art in public spaces—to help us reduce unnecessary importation and exportation—to redistribute wealth—to reshape our political system. In fact, today might well be the day you change your services completely in realisation of your superfluous means. Ultimately, we need your help in bringing our world back to life.

We have immediate living needs and long-term living needs—after that, everything else has the capacity to be a good deed. And even if your business envisions itself according to these immediate and long-term needs, I assume the business’ acquisitive nature holds a stronger priority. You have a need for employees, and these potential employees have a need too. Your heart. I assume you have one.

I’m grateful you’ve made it through my letter, or if you skimmed it, I’d encourage you to try again and have more belief in yourself—I’m sure you’re stellar readers.

And whether you liked what I had to say or not, I’d be happy to offer you a photocopy of my alternative cover letter, Dear Potential ‘Landlord’. I have a sense that might be of interest to you. You might wish to comment back to me, and please do. If you think you’re up for the drastic changes I’ve mentioned regarding your set-ups, I’d be interested in working with you.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, your employees, and your customers. And most importantly, take time for the world.

With love and peace—and dwindling patience for your bullsh*t,

Application Reference Number 304785


Duncan Geoffrey Macleod is an Irish-American theatre maker and writer currently based in Glasgow. He trained at the Gaiety School of Acting and has worked in theatre and film. Leaning more into his writing craft in recent years, Duncan has been developing playscripts and a range of prose, as well as letters he'd prefer be published rather than sent.

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