“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”
—Charles Bukowski, Factotum, Black Sparrow Press, 1975
"My job consists of basically masking my contempt for the assholes in charge, and, at least once a day, retiring to the men's room so I can jerk off while I fantasize about a life that doesn't so closely resemble Hell."
—American Beauty, 1999
"One of the saddest things is that the only thing that a man can do for eight hours a day, day after day, is work. You can't eat eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours—all you can do for eight hours is work. Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy."
—William Faulkner, interview in Writers at Work, 1958
"I was called to the bathroom at the cemetery to take care of something. I walked in the bathroom and in the middle toilet right there . . . somebody didn't shit in the toilet, somebody shat on the toilet. They shat on the wall, they shat on the floor. I had to clean it up, man, but before that, for about 10 to 15 seconds man, I just stared at somebody's shit, man. To be totally honest with you, man, it was a really, really profound moment. Cause I was thinkin', 'I'm 30 years old and in about 10 seconds I gotta start cleaning up somebody's shit, man.'"
—American Movie, 1999
"Industrial man—a sentient reciprocating engine having a fluctuating output, coupled to an iron wheel revolving with uniform velocity. And then we wonder why this should be the golden age of revolution and mental derangement."
—Aldous Huxley, Time Must Have a Stop, 1944
"I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables—slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."
—Fight Club, 1999
“Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.”
"For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again."
"But men labor under a mistake. The better part of the man is soon ploughed into the soil for compost. By a seeming fate, commonly called necessity, they are employed, as it says in the old book, laying up treasures which moth and rust will corrupt and thieves break through and steal. It is a fool's life, as they will find when they get to the end of it, if not before."
—Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
"We don't have a lot of time on this earth! We weren't meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements."
—Office Space, 1999