Brian Eno: ‘Try not to get a job’

Brian Eno: 'Try not to get a job'

What would the world look like if everyone was guaranteed a basic income?

For musician Brian Eno, that society would put a lot more emphasis on time well spent.

“Try not to get a job. Try to leave yourself in a position where you do the things you want to do with your time and where you take maximum advantage of wherever your possibilities are.”

Brian Eno

Of course, not everyone can afford to remain jobless; the harsh reality is that work pays the bills and keeps us alive. But as more jobs get outsourced to robots and artificial intelligence, humans will need to renew their purpose. 

What will we do when there’s no work to be done?

Work defines who we are. It forms the nucleus of our identity. However, a jobless world may encourage more innovative thinking about ourselves and our role in a secular, globalized world. 

A jobless world may compel people to pursue more passionate work and adopt the vocations that choose them instead of the other way around.

In such a world, we’ll be makers instead of cogs, tinkerers instead of algorithmic lemmings. The future writes itself if we dig deep enough to see it out. 

Writes Oliver Burkeman in The Antidote: “There is a positive correlation between the fear of death and the sense of unlived life.”

The old world required that we struggle to live. When we work on something we enjoy, we smash through and settle in on what it means to live. 

As David Byrne of the Eno-produced, Talking Heads sang in 1978, “If what you do ain’t what you love, then something isn’t right.”