My entry into Hugh McLeod's call to change the world: The work manifesto

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Inspired by the brilliant J Train Minifesto written by my buddy John Dodds of Make Marketing History, Hugh McLeod of the popular blog Gaping Void put out a call for less-than-500 word "minifestos" that can change the world. Probably the most famous manifesto, in the internet world anyway, is the Cluetrain.  Hugh wrote his own version which I also really love called The Hughtrain.

But as he said,

"Why take 50,000 words [the length of your average business tome] to say what you have to say, when 500 will do? Brevity. I love brevity. We’re both in a hurry.

So I’m thinking, well, there’s also a lot of people out there besides myself and the bloggers I read, with ideas needing spread. Powerful ideas that could be easily summed up in 500 words or less. And I would really, truly, seriously like to do what I can to help get them out there."

He has gotten over a hundred submissions, by a whole range of people from Seth Godin to my buddy Anna Farmery of The Engaging Brand.

I am never one to resist a challenge, so I threw my hat in the ring:

The Work Manifesto
by Pamela Slim

  • Work is your real life.  It is the way you translate your feelings, your thoughts, your hopes and your desires into something valuable, tangible and useful every day. You can choose to make work  into a dreaded, necessary evil that you can’t wait to finish so that you can get busy with your "real life."  Why not just do work you love?
  • Good work will improve your sex life.  Frustrated employees desperately long for excitement and release in the form of fantasy football, internet surfing, porn, and the affections of their stressed and overworked spouses.  No superhero could fill the gigantic void of a passionless man or woman in a 15-minute tryst in bed.  Express your passion through your work every day, all day, and find that you will  be less needy, more attentive, open, giving and loving to your partner.  Which makes for better sex.
  • Your secret desire holds the clue to your best work.  You say that you would love to do meaningful work, but don’t know how to find it.  What is your secret desire?  What idea are you a little embarrassed to share with someone because it is so delicate or bold or crazy or exciting?  You often claim to not know what you want to do, but in fact censor yourself from what you  know you want  for fear of appearing ridiculous.
  • You can’t fool your kids.  Many of you claim passionless, dull and frustrating careers with the excuse that you must provide for your family.  Providing for your family is noble; using it as an excuse to hide from your own greatness is a bad example for your kids.  If you want them to grow up motivated, creative, free and enterprising, be that yourself.  They are watching and emulating  your every move.
  • Fear is the great inhibitor.  All of the excuses that you find for not doing work you love have solutions.  You do not enact them because you are afraid: of showing up too big in the world; of failing; of appearing as an imposter; of living in poverty.  There is nothing wrong with fear.  Feel it, talk to it, examine it and walk with it.  Then step out and let yourself show up, warts and all.  It will liberate you.
  • Owning is better than renting.  While you may feel "safer" renting out your skills for a paycheck and benefits, you often sell all your energy this way and have nothing left at the end of the day.  If you don’t get what you need in this employment arrangement in terms of money, recognition, power or responsibility, you feel angry and frustrated.  Own the means of production and the factory, and at least your glorious disasters will be your disasters.  Accountability breeds passion and desire.

Who knows if Hugh will publish mine, but I sure did enjoy writing it! 

And just a word of warning for those of you new to Gaping Void … some of the content is definitely edgy and  Rated R, so if profanity offends you or is prohibited by your internet surfing policies at work, you may want to steer clear of the site.

13 Responses to “My entry into Hugh McLeod's call to change the world: The work manifesto”

  1. […] am a raving fan of Pam Slim’s Escape from Cubicle Nation blog. Today she published “The Work Manifesto” which I absolutely love. It captures the passion and presence that I believe we each need in our […]

  2. Empathy is the ability to identify or sense what another person is feeling. It is like seeing through someone else’ s eyes. Empathy should not be confused with compassion, which is the desire to alleviate the suffering of another, and sometimes contains empathy, but really goes beyond it. You can act compassionately even when you do not empathize with a person’ s emotional state or situation.

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  4. Megan says:

    This was beautifully timed for me. A friend was fired today. Luckily for him, he has a business on the side — so though he wasn’t ready to go out on his own, he was certainly in a better position than most. In the midst of his slightly downcast “this is probably for the best,” I managed to slip in a “this is definitely for the best. It’s better to own your career than to rent it.” And he said, “good point. I really need to live by that more.”

    And so, thank you thank you thank you. You are making so much more of a difference to the world than you can know.

  5. Anna Farmery says:

    Hello from your little buddy in the UK….I am off to produce some great work after reading your post (point 2)…then I can’t wait for my boyfriend to come home!!!!

    Great manifesto

  6. Take a Peek at The Work Manifesto

    I am a raving fan of Pam Slims Escape from Cubicle Nation blog. Today she published The Work Manifesto which I absolutely love. It captures the passion and presence that I believe we each need in our professional lives. Here&#821…

  7. Barry Moltz says:

    I loved this!I hope to get permission from you to quote it in my upcoming book!

  8. Sevenoaks says:

    >>Owning is better than renting…

    True, I’m in the process of stop renting to start owning myself.
    Anyway, I’d like to point out that, without some years of renting, probably, the experience required for a succesfull business may lack.

  9. Leo Archer says:

    Basic truths

    Pamela Slim has published her Work Manifesto and I believe it is worth reading.  Here are her main points: Work is your real life.  Good work will improve your sex life.  Your secret desire holds the clue to your best

  10. Fantastic words, you have a real talent for this. That you are following your passion really shines through.

    Your points act as a reminder of what used to hold me back and help further strengthen my resolve.

  11. Murali says:

    Not quite a manifesto. But a thought that explains why one MUST escape from Cube.

    Escape From Cubicle Nation:
    If there is a reality show, and you are asked to work through out your life for a 4 Million dollar prize money, (and in the spirit of the game, and hard reality, not every one is guaranteed to win $4M) Will you take the challenge?

    (Background story behind this thought at my blog:

  12. Jim Walton says:

    Great post, Pam! Very direct and to the point.