14 Sep The Fat Fire Fyre Festival
Before everyone binge-watched Tiger King at the start of the pandemic, we all watched the insane documentaries about the Fyre Festival. Just when you thought the stories couldn’t get more bizarre, they definitely did. ICYMI, here’s a good summary:
“The Fyre Festival was a fraudulent luxury music festival founded by con artist Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule. It was created with the intent to promote a music talent booking app for their company Fyre Media. The festival was scheduled to take place on April 28–30 and May 5–7, 2017, on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma.”
When I read about FatFIRE, I immediately thought of the Fyre Festival. According to Fortune.com:
“Joshua, who did not wish to use his last name, is a believer in FatFIRE, which stands for Fat Financial Independence and Retirement Early.
While ‘quiet quitting’ has dominated headlines and young workers flock to social media to vent their frustrations over the downsides of employment and capitalism, people like Joshua have instead turned to FatFIRING.
If quiet quitting is simply doing the minimum a job requires in a quest for a more equal work/life balance, FatFIRING advocates the opposite. It tells people to lean into work rather than lean out, and hustle as much as they can to achieve the same thing most workers want: freedom.”
Regardless of whatever type of cool names and anagrams you want to use, this is nothing new. It’s not. Neither was the Fyre Festival. That was not the first event to which people bought tickets and assumed they’d have a great experience only to find a totally different reality:
“During the inaugural weekend, the event encountered problems related to security, food, accommodation, medical services, and artist relations; it was postponed indefinitely and eventually cancelled. Instead of the luxury villas and gourmet meals for which festival attendees paid hundreds or thousands of dollars, they received boxed plain cheese sandwiches and FEMA/UN tents as their accommodation.”
Regardless of the nomenclature, FatFIRE is just hustle culture repackaged with a different name, IMO. And hustle culture, for that matter, was just another name for the promise of “work hard for us now, we’ll take care of ya later.” *wink* Larry Winget extols this notion in his 2006 book It’s Called Work for a Reason! : Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault. In that book, he tells the story of his father working for Sears for 47 years, which immediately made me think of my grandmother who did the same.
“When you and your employer decided that you were going to work together, you made a deal. The deal was you would show up when they told you to and you would do what they paid you to do. For that, you would receive an amount of money that you agreed to. A deal was struck and all agreed. That was probably just about all that was included. Of course there were details and some papers were probably signed – but I’ll pretty much guarantee you that in the fine print on those forms you were signing they didn’t promise that you would be happy. And they didn’t promise that your coworkers were going to be perfect little angels who loved and adored you. And they didn’t say that you wouldn’t get tired or mad or sad or have your feelings hurt. You just struck a deal based on the work and the money. You provide the work and they provide the money.” -Larry Winget
So what happens when they don’t live up to their part of the bargain? I remember reading this book on my lunch break when I had to go back to Corpo America with my tail tucked between my legs after my first business failed. God, I was miserable. I guess reading misery-porn like that book was a way to self-flagellate and assume everything that went wrong was “my own damn fault.”
As he goes on to discuss his father rarely missing work even when sick and not suing when he was injured on the job, he doesn’t mention things like, oh I don’t know, the Enron scandal. I was a young adult when that crap happened and let me tell you: it makes one hell of an impression when you see people crying on TV because they’ll never retire. They planned to, but were hit with a pretty terrible slap in the face: “The situation was not helped by the disclosure that Lay, his ‘reputation in tatters,’ stood to receive a payment of $60 million as a change-of-control fee subsequent to the Dynegy acquisition, while many Enron employees had seen their retirement accounts, which were based largely on Enron stock, ravaged as the price decreased 90% in a year. An official at a company owned by Enron stated ‘We had some married couples who both worked who lost as much as $800,000 or $900,000. It pretty much wiped out every employee’s savings plan.'”
Imagine thinking you had almost a million dollars only to find you now have nothing.
Oh but remember: show up to work, sit down, don’t complain, don’t even say anything if you get injured, and remember your success is your own damn fault. 🙄
Was it the fault of the people who got screwed over royally by Enron? Not in my opinion, hell no.
But that’s what these commentators so often miss. What if Corporate America takes your labor but doesn’t hold up its side of the bargain? What then?
I feel a similar sense of wonder with this FatFIRE movement.
“Bryson from Oxford University agrees, arguing that ‘maxing out and then stopping is fraught with problems.’ There is an inherent risk of burnout with trying to work as much as you can to retire early, he says, and even when successful, FatFIRERs ‘have no real idea of how you’re going to feel if you go from one to zero.’
Indeed, on the r/fatFIRE community board there are many warnings from people who have suddenly decided to quit all work and go travel, only to find themselves racked with mental health issues caused by loneliness.”
What happens if you do all of this hustling and croak? What happens if you become ill? What happens if your investments crap the bed? What happens if you somehow achieve the goal and decide to spend 60 years of your life doing . . . what? Travelling from one place to another and listening to the birds chirp at sunrise for 60 years straight like some weird version of Groundhog Day?
No offense, but it all sounds like one giant Ponzi scheme to me. Make these trades of your time and the prime years of your life and we’ll hook you up in old age. 😉 We promise! 🤞🏻