Swedish artistic duo Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby recently announced their next project which they are calling “Eternal Employment”. The project is fully funded and they have even started to write a job description for this ‘artistic’ endeavor.
What is “Eternal Employment“?
“A fair starting salary, with annual wage increases that match those for Swedish government workers, vacation time, even a pension, and the job is yours for as long as you do it. So what’s the job? Anything you want.
Each morning, the chosen employee will punch a clock in Korsvägen train station, currently under construction in Gothenburg, Sweden, which will turn on a bank of bright fluorescent lights. Other than that, “the position holds no duties or responsibilities besides the fact that the work should be carried out at Korsvägen. Whatever the employee chooses to do constitutes the work,” reads the job description. The employee can also choose how publicly visible or anonymous they would like to be while on the clock.”
So, how is this art?
“As Gothenburg’s working class finds itself marginalized, Goldin and Senneby see a job that gives total control to the worker as an act of economic imagination.”
It’s an interesting concept, even more so as we move into the world of A.I. knowing so many tactical jobs we do now will go away and many economists are already talking about these concepts of people being given a living wage to basically just live, but not work.
This is truly art potentially mimicking life. We can already foresee a time when we don’t need most of the workers we have today, yet we still have to provide for the population and understand a new kind of productivity when ‘work’ isn’t apart of the equation.
So, what would you do in this job?
It’s a great question to think about. If you didn’t have to worry, every, for the rest of your life, about finances, and you couldn’t be fired. What would you do in this train station each day on your shift?
I want to hope that I would find ways to brighten the day of others. To welcome them to the day, to wish them the best on their way home, and everything in between, but it’s such a far-out concept it’s really hard to even imagine. It kind of reminds me of the movie with Tom Hanks, The Terminal. While he had to stay in the airport and couldn’t leave, he basically had to figure out how to spend his time in this pass-through public space.
I have a feeling this ‘job of a lifetime’ would probably get super boring for most people. Most of us would start out with the best intentions, but eventually, fall into the trap of not really doing anything productive. Maybe that’s part of the “art” to select someone who actually would take full advantage of this opportunity. I would love to be on the selection committee!
What would you do if you were given this job? Hit me in the comments.