Who doesn’t want to get paid a decent monthly salary for doing absolutely nothing or doing whatever he or she wants? If this sounds like an exciting idea to you, then you might be interested in this peculiar Swedish experimental art project, Eternal Employment, that plans on hiring a single person for a job that is responsibility-free with only a single and easy requirement.
The government-funded conceptual art project, Eternal Employment, is basically an employment opportunity in Gothenburg, Sweden. One lucky applicant shall be selected as part of the process and will be required to show up at a train station that is under construction in the city every day and punch a time clock. Once the time clock has been punched, a set of fluorescent light installed over the boarding platform will light up to let everyone know that the useless employee has shown up at work for the day. After punching the time clock, the person can do whatever they want or even nothing at all. Given that they return to the station to clock out and turn off the lights once the shift is over. The person is not required to hang around the station during the working hours and can quit or be replaced by someone else anytime they wish to do so. The position is guaranteed, however, as long as the person doesn’t acquire another job.
As per Atlas Obscura, the selected candidate for the Eternal Employment will be earning $2,320 per month along with annual raises, benefits, vacation time, and a guaranteed pension fund. While it is not the best-paying job in the world, the fact that ‘whatever the employee chooses to do constitutes the work’ is too good an offer to pass up.
So, what led to the creation of Eternal Employment? Back in 2017, Public Art Agency Sweden and the Swedish Transport Administration announced an international competition for artists. The artists were required to come up with ideas for the design of Gothenburg’s Korsvagen train station. The prize money was 7 million Swedish Krona (almost $750,000). Instead of coming up with the actual design idea, Swedish artist duo Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby suggested that the prize money should be used for the sake of paying one person’ salary and task them with doing nothing. This is how the Eternal Employment project came to life!
The duo came up with a plan for making sure that the prize money was enough to pay the useless employee for eternity – 120 years. The plan included setting up a foundation to prevent the prize money from getting taxes and then making investments into an equity fund. They came to the conclusion that there was a 75% chance that they would be able to pay the employee a monthly wage of $2,312 apart from an annual salary increase of 3.2%. The jury loved the idea; however; there has been an uproar with politicians furious about the plan.
Brian Kuan Wood, a board member for the Eternal Employment foundation, said, ‘Old Social Democrats accused them of using financial realism to mock the transcendental accomplishments of the welfare state. Neoliberal ‘progressives’ accused them of wasting taxpayers’ money to stage a nostalgic return to that same welfare state.’
The position will be available in 2026, once the train station has been built. The application process will commence in 2025. A draft job description is available online though, for those who wish to consider a career in Eternal Employment.