are all jobs bad?

A reader writes:

Are all jobs… bad? Because right now I’m looking around and feeling very hopeless about the idea of having a job that checks all the boxes: 1) pays well (or just a living wage), 2) isn’t totally toxic and/or managed by total clowns, 3) allows you to have decent work-life balance, and 4) isn’t totally racist and/or isn’t actively making the world an actively worse place. 

Our prospects just feel… bleak. A few examples of what I’m seeing/hearing from friends:  

Tech: pays well, but is morally bankrupt
Startups: often managed by people who purport to have high-minded visions or progressive values, but then it inevitably comes out that they are abusing their employees and are run by a low-key cult leader
Media: under the influence of self-important clowns, is basically crumbling (these things are related, I think)
Law: pays well, but the hours seem truly miserable
Nonprofits: often chaotic and not necessarily good to employees, despite the fact that they are supposed to be good??? 

And the thing is, even if you find a good role, or manager, or company, it kind of feels like you’ve got, at best, 2–3 years before a re-org or shareholder meeting upends the whole thing and you’re either taking a pay cut, getting laid off, or being managed by someone who probably should not be a manager. And even if another job might be marginally better in one way, it’s hard to want to make the leap to something new after you’ve been burned so many times. In those cases, it often feels like the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. 

As you can probably tell, my peers and I are feeling very pessimistic about the state of things, especially after the events of 2020 exposed just how messed up and fragile our systems in the U.S. are, and how many businesses are willing to throw their employees under the bus for the sake of profits. So: Are there any good jobs? Or are we simply doomed? 

You can read my answer to this letter at Vice today. Head over there to read it.