Tuesday, July 30, 2013


By JJ3 The Liberty Bard

I wrote this song many years ago when I was working as a tax accountant.  My hours were basically 7 am to 10 pm 7 days a week during tax season, FOUR MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR.  I worked for a large international corporation and their attitude was that I should feel so lucky to work for them that I would be glad to work 70-80 hours a week.  I was on salary and did not get paid for overtime.  This is how it works in the corporate world.  You become just another number, just another ant collecting food for the Queen.  If you don't like it, then another ant will be found to take your place and you can live or die after leaving the corporate hive, it makes no difference to them.  Corporations like this profit off their workers misery.

I could never understand how these large corporate firms could get away with expecting, no mandating these long hours without providing excess compensation.  All of the other accounting firms in the industry followed the same practice of not paying for overtime.  There was no true free market where if you did not like your mandated hours you could move on to a competitor.  The competitors were just as bad if not worse.  It would just be an exchange of one overlord for another.

The accounting firms in questions even had a nifty moniker, they were called "The Big 4".  At one point they were "the Big 8" but that was before Arthur Anderson's playing with fire moment as Enron's auditor/money launderer.  So in essense these 4 international accounting firms represent a monopoly in the accounting industry. I guess you would call it a quadopoly, since there were four of them, but since they all practiced the same policies and treated their "employees/slaves" the same, they were in effect a monopoly of four firms.  If you wanted to get a high paying executive position later on in life you had to put your time in and get that line on your resume that you had experience working for a "Big 4" accounting firm and they knew it and took advantage of it.

The Fortune 500 firms that had the Executive positions you hoped you would land later in your career knew that if you could last 3-5 years working for the "Big 4" then you had been conditioned to work 70-80 hour weeks and that if they would hire you, then 60 hour weeks wouldn't seem so bad in comparison.  What a raquet huh?

This is how it works in corporate Amerika today.  Our political system destroys small business owners by supporting the practices of large corporations who donate through their lobbyists.  They also constantly enact laws that make it difficult for small businesses to compete against the large Corporate entities.  On top of that the regulations that are imposed by Congress (like the Sarbanes-Oxley act) make it impossible for small businesses to afford to pay to be compliant with these regulations, therefore it limits how much they can grow, because there are financial threshholds you need to reach in order to be forced to be compliant with these arcane rules.  So if you are a small business with $90 million worth of sales (made up numbers for the purpose of this example) and you know that if you reach $100 million in sales that you will be subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley controls compliance rules that will cost your company a half million to implement, strategically you don't want your sales to go over that threshhold.  Therefore it limits the growth of the true drivers of our economy, small business, and helps the monopolies/quadopolies of the world to stay dominant.

Speaking of Sarbanes Oxley, I used to be an internal auditor for another of the Big 4 accounting firms and you wouldn't believe how much money these accounting firms made on this legislation.  It sounds like a complicated accounting scheme in theory but in reality it was simply some young sclub accoutant interviewing corporate executives and verifying that they did what they said they did.  For instance management was supposed to sign off monthly on their assistant's reconcilations.  So I would ask to see three random month's and make sure that there was a signature of review on it for each of those three months.  Whoopdi freiking doooo.  I can honestly say that this was a huge boondoogle for the accounting industry when this legislation was enacted and a complete waste of time and resources for the corporate entity.  Sure there were instances when the controls structure of a company were strengthened but if a company really needed this type of expertise they could have requested it rather than it being forced upon them through government regulation.

So that is how our system works today.  If you want to get good experience on your resume so that you can land a job as a corporate executive at some point in your career and possibly make six figures at some point in your life then the sacrifices that you need to make are extreme.  There is a reason that many of the partners in these Firms are divorced.  The other choices that you can make in your career are very limited if you don't play their game at least for three years.  Sure you could work for a local firm, but don't expect a high paying executive position later in life, expect to continue to make your managing partner lots of money and work slightly less hours than at the Big 4 firms.

People who hate on the "rich" do not understand what it takes for a regular guy or gal to make it to that level.  Sure there are those who have rich parents and are awarded a job based on nepotism, but those examples are few and far in between.  Also, consider that a six figure income is not what it once was.  Due to the insidious effects of inflation the purchasing power of a six figure income is equivalent to making $50k - $60k in the 1980's, which was not that long ago.  Don't get me wrong, the very rich, the .01% of the population are robbing us blind and that hatred is justified, however the media twist that hatred so that people end up hating people who are just trying to work hard and be successful.  Success should never be stigmatized, it should be respected and honored. 

So either you play the game or your decide to start your own game which is very difficult without someone to finance your business idea.  This song was born from the rage that I felt being trapped in this sycophantic ego-fueld workaholic culture.  Many people there are anti-social to begin with so working long hours is no problem with them and these are the people you must compete against.  You must give up your life outside of work in order to succeed.  If you do not work the hours that are mandated, not requested you will find yourself with bad reviews and eventually you will be dismissed.  Imagine how good that looks on a resume. 


The Anarcho Ant

I am an ant!
And I don't believe in conformity, which sometimes makes it difficult to be an ant.

Breaking my back day after day,
carrying crumbs to put on the queen's tray,
I want to run I want to play.
 I need a dream that will take me away,
My every thought, my every action,
put into motion by a tyrant led faction,
I am not whole merely a fraction --
a fractured soul searching for satisfaction.

I am a slave to the being in charge,
she's got her visions but they are not ours,
My power's small hers is quite large,
I guess that's why she's the being in charge.
I listen to her what can I do?
She's bigger longer quicker and stronger --
I want to strip her power I do,
But I don't have a way to kill a tyrant - do you?
The other ants they have nothing to prove.
So I just write and try to plan my next move,
How do I get the hill to go with my groove?

I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees,
which does makes it hard for me to be me.
I won't feel complete until I set us all free.
I'm reaching my threshhold can't you see?
So I write it all down, thought after thought,
I try to point out that our leaders are bought,
I ask them to question all they've been taught,
I ask them to see how our culture is caught.

Caught between a class divide that grows every day,
Caught between religious rights for which wars are waged,
Caught between a wondrous world that captures my heart,
And the necessity of progress that tears it apart.

I am an ant!
So if you feel like an ant, if you feel like I do,
Then join me and let's change our culture's worldview.