The Tyranny of Work & Tojeiro

Bob Black wrote an essay some years ago (link here) called The Abolition of Work. What a dream, eh? Imagine, if you will, a different world, a world without alarm clocks, commutes, and the discipline of bosses and set hours. Imagine in its place a world where work is play. Where toil becomes pleasure it is no longer toil.

Tojeiro offers something like this vision, here you can take over a task that you want to do and make it yours, or create your own. Sure the first couple of weeks can be testing as you seek your place and adjust into the ever dynamic flow of the community – people come and go all the time, other lives or pressures pull them in and then away again. And sure you’ll need to purchase a drinks card (€8 for ten items, bargain) and buy your smokes if you want to enjoy more than the excellent food, a place to sleep and incredible social life. But you’ll volunteer for a task and do it to the best of your ability, I suppose. You’ll change a few times and then you’ll find a task, or create one that feels more like play, and you’ll learn new skills and see the fruit of your labour and this turns into something else than the drudgery most of us know as work. As the task becomes fulfilling and playful it’ll become something you want to do rather than being forced to do.


There is always time for a smoke, a chat, a rest from the relentless heat, early cool beers. Time for marathon book reads, yippee! Long lunches and easy Saturdays and Sundays. Lounging on hammocks. And long siesta’s. Ummm.


Then there’s Friday Night Pizza and the place becomes, in part a business. Here you can play your part in making pizza, serving the bar or doing the tech. Loads of jobs, find your place, fit in and flow. Tiring but stimulating. And no bosses, maybe a odd raised voice if someone is carrying stress, for here is not perfect and a lot of healing is going on or slacking from what they promised to do; as most of us do from time to time, or just plain forgetfulness or error. And why don’t we do it? Probably because we’ve not found the place where toil becomes playful. And when we play we become patient and patience is something I’ve been working upon.


While Tojeiro is not a utopia of joyful exuberance all the time and some tasks are work but the point is the ratio between those jobs we don’t like doing and those we do is certainly narrowed to a significant degree and in some points it becomes just play. Capitalism doesn’t like play without profit and this experience is very rare under the extreme profit model that share listed companies are legally compelled to perform (the interests of shareholders always comes first). If you have a job that you can describe as play you are very lucky indeed. They do exist.


At the end of the month you’ll not get the €200 after all the taxes. bills and debt, but you will get a sense of belonging in a world that promotes play and diminishes discipline. Is that an exchange worth paying? If the model here reflects it it certainly seems to be catching on as people all over the world pop in to add their uniqueness in greater numbers.


Turn off, tune in and drop out. Who knows you may even end up writing blogs.