Always dreamed of getting paid for just showing up to work? Then you are in luck! In 2025, the Korsvägen train station in Göteborg, Sweden will offer a unique career opportunity to one lucky person — a job with no defined responsibilities! The lifetime position comes with a generous starting monthly salary of 21,564 SEK ($2,320), a guaranteed annual wage increase of 3.2 percent, and even vacation time.
The controversial social experiment is the brainchild of Swedish artists Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby, who are famous for incorporating real-world economics into strange new art forms. The two proposed the idea in response to a design competition organized by the Public Art Agency Sweden and the Swedish Transport Administration for the Korsvägen train station, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2026. Instead of presenting a radical artistic design, Goldin and Senneby suggested using the 7,000,000 SEK ($753,000) prize money to hire a lifetime employee to do nothing! Surprisingly, the unconventional idea appealed to the judges, who announced their decision in October 2018, and the Eternal Employment Project was born.
The job description only requires the lucky employee to arrive at the station each morning and punch in the clock, which will turn on a bank of bright fluorescent lights. The person can remain at the station all day - greeting passengers, texting friends, or even napping - or leave and return at the end of the day to clock out. According to the artists, "the position holds no duties or responsibilities besides the fact that the work should be carried out at Korsvägen. Whatever the employee chooses to do constitutes the work.” The job is guaranteed for life as long as he/she abides by these simple requirements and does not accept any other employment.
To ensure the employee can be paid for "eternity," defined as 120 years, the 7 million Swedish Kronor has been placed in a tax-exempt foundation. The salary will be paid from the interest earned by investing the prize money. “The endless duration of this employment is feasible because money pays better than work,” the job description reads. “As long as we live in a society where the return on capital is substantially higher than the average increase in wages, Eternal Employment is kept afloat.”
Not surprisingly, the Eternal Employment Project has been met with uproar among politicians, as well as the general public, who believe paying someone to do nothing is a total waste of taxpayer money. The artists agree but think it is necessary given Göteborg's current economic environment.
Home to car manufacturer Volvo, the Swedish city was once a major industrial and shipping center. However, over the past few decades, automation and Göteborg's transformation into a cultural hub has made it increasingly harder for the working class to afford living there. The marginalization of the locals inspired the artists with the idea of a job that gives total control to the worker. "In the face of mass automation and artificial intelligence, the impending threat/promise is that we will all become productively superfluous," their proposal said. "We will all be 'employed at Korsvagen,' as it were."
Though the job sounds like a waste of a life, the artists believe the employee will be doing important abstract work. “What remains in an employment without productivity is time,” the proposal notes. “In this sense, we can understand the employee as a witness of time. Even an embodiment of time itself.”
The best part is this is an equal-opportunity job, which means people from all over the world can apply to be considered for this unique position — be sure to mark your calendars for 2025!
(Resources: www.e-flux.com, independent.co.uk, NDTV.com,thelocal.se)