There Must Be 52 Ways To Leave Your Soul-Crushing Day Job

A little bit of what I’ve learned about working life (a poem)

B. Lorraine Smith
3 min readMar 7


I let my soul go for a wander where blues could meet greens, straight lines could meet curves, and I somehow drew the print of my mom’s favourite dinner party dress from the 1970s. (Coloured pencil drawing by me.)

I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued.
And yes I repeat myself — again — at the risk of being rude.
But with a nod to Paul Simon’s words from the 1970s,
I’d like to help you here anew in your struggle to be free.

The time to do your best work for a soul-crushing employer
That hogs your mind and energy, offering little to enjoy
Really doesn’t have to go on for endless, countless days,
So allow me to just explain about those fifty-two ways…

There’s a lot you can do, Lou,
Just know that you can, Fran,
If you know what’s going on, Shawn,
And you sense what’s all around.

There’s a lot more than money, Honey,
Missing this isn’t funny, Sonny.
You’ve got to hear those facts, Jack,
And keep your feet on the ground.

I can hear the despair, Claire:
What about my health care?!
What about the kids’ school, Jule?
What’s going to happen to me?

But if you don’t love your work, Dirk,
If you can’t stand the plan, Anne,
If you add to the pain, Shalane,
Then you need to get free.

If you’re in a dark machine, Jean,
If you long to make art, Bart,
If you’re in the wrong place, Grace,
Then you can already see.

It’s not for me to say, Ray,
What you do to get paid, Trey.
But since we share the same planet, Janet,
I hope you’ll follow your path.

Because there’s no time to lose, Bruce,
And there’s plenty to choose, Luce.
All kinds of new crews, Suze,
That are looking for staff.



B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at