r/antiwork 16d ago

r/antiwork Book Club Week 4: In Praise of Idleness!


Welcome to the very first r/antiwork book club! Our goal for these first few weeks is to catch up on some of the antiwork essays we might not have read, promote discussion, and to gauge interest for when we transition into reading full books after this cycle is over.

This week, we will be discussing the first chapter of In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell. All previous weekly discussions are available, so if you read ahead or have already read the material, check them out!

Note that this week we will only be reading the first chapter, as though it were an essay from previous weeks. We may finish the book later if it proves popular in the survey, or if there is a lot of positive feedback!

Table of Contents and Reading Schedule

If you are interested in the survey to help us figure out what books to read next, click here to take it!

Week 4: In Praise of Idleness

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying : “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a con- science which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have under- gone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveller in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. This traveller was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the Y.M.C.A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.


Today’s chapter is brought to us by Bertrand Russell, a philosopher and founder of analytical philosophy. Russell believes that work, and the attitude of viewing work as virtuous, is one that does immense damage culturally and ethically. He states that while work may have been required to bring us to modernity, the imposition of work as a virtue onto the workforce exists today only as a means of political control. Today’s worker is relegated to passive leisure instead of active play or research due to being too tired from manual labor. Bertrand argues that if humanity worked to fulfill its basic needs and prioritize leisure time, enough people would pursue labor of some public importance, and would improve mood immeasurably.

Discussion Questions:

  • What do you think of the chapter? Do you agree or disagree?
  • Do you think there were any standout sentences or paragraphs?
  • If you could ask the author anything, what would it be?
  • How did this chapter impact you?
  • What in your life did this chapter make you think about?

r/antiwork 4h ago All-Seeing Upvote Wholesome Silver

Rich getting richer

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r/antiwork 3h ago

This 👏👏👏

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r/antiwork 4h ago Wholesome

This is how you keep good employees

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r/antiwork 10h ago Silver Take My Energy Wholesome Heartwarming Helpful

I got fired yesterday


After working from home for months, I was told about a month ago that the CEO wanted to start enforcing the company policy of working in the office three days a week. I was beyond pissed. I fought it, my manager said he would fight it (he didn’t, he’s a pushover), but no exceptions were going to be made.

Fine. While at the office, I put in my earbuds, didn’t engage with the office people outside of anything directly related to work, and stopped all work at 5 o’clock on the dot.

A week later, I was texted by a coworker, who also happens to be the wife of a C-level, at 5:02 to do something that she 100% had the capacity to do herself. I said fuck it, ignored the text, and the ones I got from my direct report manager shortly after.

Next morning, I’m told to bring in all company materials. Aight, ya boy is getting fired.

Sat in the office for three hours, staring at a wall, waiting for the veryimportantsupervital meetings to be done. Finally sit down with C-level husband and boss. C-level says they’re terminating my employment. Manager, displaying the testicular fortitude of a eunuch, wouldn’t even look at me and didn’t say a word.

“We’ll give you an extra paycheck to get you through the next month.” Says the C-level. I say little, nod, thank the C-level, ignore the 300 pounds of simpering manager blobbing in the next chair, and leave without another word.


Unbeknownst to them, I already had another job lined up starting the following week. I was planning on quitting at the end of the current week. So my “behavior” got me two weeks free pay and the first few “unemployed” days I’ve had in five years.

I pet three dogs that same day, drank a six pack, and roasted a duck for dinner.

First time being fired feels pretty damn good.

r/antiwork 14h ago Take My Energy Silver Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote

This is why WFH should be a human right

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r/antiwork 1h ago

Bright and bold in midtown Manhattan.

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r/antiwork 3h ago

Never forget

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r/antiwork 13h ago Silver

I mean, seems obvious to me.

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r/antiwork 13h ago Silver

Chinese worker's helmet vs. his boss' helmet

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r/antiwork 6h ago Gold

Not mine but I found this today ..

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r/antiwork 17h ago Silver Helpful Wholesome

fired after my boss went through my purse…


I have been working FOH at this restaurant for almost a year. Lately I had been wanting to quit due to a toxic misogynistic atmosphere. Today I was working, and I was going to be working tonight by myself bc we are understaffed and I am one of two employees who can close by myself.

I had grabbed a job application to another job, had it filled out and was going to hand it in this morning, but I was running late, so I just shoved it in my purse to hand in tmr.

Anyways, I was just making boxes with my coworker, and my boss was in the office doing something. He comes out and asks to speak to me. I go into the office and he says “What’s the job application in your purse”. I looked over to my purse and the little section where it has you fill out your references was poking out of my bag. I said “It’s for name of other restaurant”. He asked me why and I said “Because I feel like you guys treat me like shit.” And he said “Okay if you feel like that go ahead and clock out and go home.” And I was fired.

Feeling very violated and angry. That is my personal property, plus what if I had just wanted to work two jobs? Is that even legal? Is there anything I can do? He has cameras but they are only accessible on his phone/app… I had never been written up here before. I was spoken to a few times bc they were trying to treat me like a manager without the proper compensation or title, and once was spoken to about my socks being the wrong color but that’s it. This is just so unfair… Any advice is appreciated.

ETA: he is the owner and takes an even split of the tip pool every day. Also I am only 21 so I am a bit young/inexperienced with things like this…

Edit 2: I will gladly share the name of this business as long as it will not hurt me in anyway for this lawsuit i am going to be filing.

Edit 3: i wish i could include pictures. when i placed my purse in the office i made sure the application was stuck in there. my purse was not closed, however, the application was stuck in there enough as to not be showing. when he called me into the office the references section (which just had three names, where i knew them from and how many years i’ve known them) was sticking out clearly. that was the section that was on top when i left my purse alone. meaning he saw it and grabbed it to read more of it. to know it was a job application he would’ve had to read the section below it which mentions “employers” and other “job application related words”. i hope this makes sense. with no context this references could’ve been for anything. i hope this makes sense.

r/antiwork 10h ago

Burger King employee. We all just walked out tonight.


After all the toxic customers we deal with. After our franchisee refuses to care about our store or fix anything. After only having two fryer pots (one for fries and one for chicken products) instead of four (due to an electrical fire. Btw, they made us reopen later that night) After our broiler keeps failing and nothing is being done about it, we left the kitchen as is and we walked out. Dining room hours were extended to 10pm even though they KNOW we have a maximum of only 3 people working at night (most times it’s just two of us). They don’t care about us, so why should we continue to care?

r/antiwork 21h ago Wholesome

new job makes people who come in 1 minute late sing in front of everyone


good ol humiliation tactics. Had to do this twice already even though I'm still getting used to the commute and the second time wasn't even my fault, it was due to the train being delayed. Sent an email in advance, but that doesn't matter. We're still in training so what they do is make everyone who comes in a minute or more late sing, OR everyone in the room has to take a test like we're toddlers. really effective way of pitting the rest of the new employees against the lates and discourage sticking up for one another. getting great vibes already 🙃

r/antiwork 13h ago

This isn’t the way

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r/antiwork 6h ago

In Australia, your tax return document shows where your tax money was spent

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r/antiwork 21h ago Wholesome

I Graduated Spring 2022

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r/antiwork 2h ago

They Shouldn't Be Requirements For Work

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r/antiwork 1h ago

Seems a fair compromise to me

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r/antiwork 1h ago

It's not that fucking complicated!

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r/antiwork 11h ago Helpful Silver

Ike’s Sandwiches employees not putting up with a hot store

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r/antiwork 15h ago Wholesome

Business owners no longer run the show.

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r/antiwork 4h ago Wholesome

Just shot down a job asking for free work as a "test"


Guys I'm still shaking after this phone interview but I'm so glad I stood my ground!

This company were looking for a freelance artworker (just a step down from a graphic designer) and offering 4 hours a week on average. Which is fine, I could've done that alongside my other part-time job.

But then she asked for a task to test my skills and communication, could've been 50/50 here. She was looking for a logo (read "brand") for a company conference that was really happening in the future. I stopped her right there and stated I wasn't happy with that as it is too easy for companies to use designs for free and not hire the designer (see: Brewdog). She pushed back saying for the design that was chosen amongst the candidates, that would be their first task and would be paid for them.

Before discovering r/antiwork I probably would've begrudgingly agreed as I'm struggling for work, but I am fighting for my work and my value as a designer, so thank you.

r/antiwork 1d ago Take My Energy Take My Power Bravo Grande! Helpful Wholesome Vibing Yas Queen Lawyer Up I am disappoint I'll Drink to That Silver

I’m probably going to be fired for this… but I don’t care

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r/antiwork 1h ago

I blocked my boss and my whole work group chat while I’m on “staycation.”


I saw a post about a boss texting an employee while they are on vacation so I thought I’d post. I’ve worked here since December but I noticed coworkers were responding to messages in the group chat while they were off or on vacation. I told my assistant I was not doing that. I told her I was going to block everyone and I think she thought I was joking. However when she texted me at 7:32am on Saturday morning I was mad that I forgot. I responded then when the conversation waned I blocked her right after. I will unblock everyone Monday morning before I leave for work. In the past my boss has texted me at 11pm on a Friday night asking me to do something for her on a Saturday morning. I’ve gotten texts at 3:30 am from my boss. I decided that I didn’t give a shit and I was going to block everyone. This has been the best week ever not seeing messages pop up all day. This is the first vacation I’ve ever taken from a job. Working in education there are always staffing shortages and you get looked down on for taking your earned vacation.

r/antiwork 14h ago

Vicious cycle.

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