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Backstory: When pre-cubicle man invented 'jobs'

By Peter Crabbe / March 17, 2006



The job. What a weird concept when you think of it. Here we sit in the vastness of the entire universe, an infinite universe, and we have somehow evolved to having these things called "jobs."

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Who started this whole job thing anyway? Where did the concept come from? Who's "job" was it to decide that today, instead of sitting around and looking at the sky and enjoying the pleasant creation of the universe, they were going to get up and go do something and this thing would be their "job."

Can you imagine the first conversation about jobs? Two cavemen stand in a berry patch...

"Og, what are you doing?"

"Oh hello, Gok, I'm picking berries."

"Ah, yes, I see that, but are you going to eat all those? Seems like you have far too many berries to eat."

"Well, Gok, to the uneducated it might appear so. But I've conceived an idea I will call 'Oooog' or perhaps 'supply side economics,' I haven't decided. It requires that all of us have things called "jobs." I've decided that picking berries is what my job will be. You may call me Og the berry picker from now on."

Gok scratches his head with his well-chewed club and queries, "All you're going to do is pick berries?"

"Yes."

"Og the berry picker?"

"Yes. Our jobs will stimulate the economy by creating supply. What will your job be, Gok?"

Gok struggles with what "economy" means and figures it must have something to do with another caveman he knows named Eck, or maybe it's a type of berry. Not wanting to appear stupid he scratches his well-matted hair ... then: "Well, since you have no career counseling for me, and you haven't developed a human resources department yet...."

"What's a human?"

"Exactly! But I'm talking off point, and as an evolving caveman I'm learning to focus my conversation to become a more effective communicator."

"Understood, and commendable. I've noticed a vast improvement in your communication skills of late, Gok. You haven't hit me once with your club in the entire fiscal quarter. Bravo."

"Thanks. But as to your job question, I'm going to sleep and eat, I will have two jobs!"

"Wait! That's not how it works ..."

"Will you bring me some berries when you're done with your job?"

"No, you aren't getting the concept. The workforce has to be populated by workers who generate..."

"Hey, everyone! Og has a great idea, he is going to pick berries for us so we can all go back to sleep."

Great joyful cheers arise from the tribe. They all head off back to bed.

"No, no, no, that's not what I said..."

And so we see that on the day the job was invented - so was "welfare."

Peter Crabbe is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer.

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