Why Lifelong Jobs Are a Thing Of the Past

Pope Benedict XVI recently resigned from his position as head of the Catholic church, we assume by storming purposefully into Jesus' office and handing in his badge and gun. The papacy is a lifetime gig, leaving many people confused as to why he would suddenly have the gall to quit without dying. Honestly, we're curious why more popes haven't stepped down, because if you think about it, a lifetime appointment to any job (papal or otherwise) would be pretty goddamn horrible.

#4. You Would Be Forced to Work With Assholes

Think of any job you've ever worked at. Odds are there was at least one motherfucker there that you absolutely could not stand. Now imagine having to deal with that person every single day for the rest of your life.

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"The best part of my job is hearing about my co-worker's strokes."

That's the situation U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis found himself in. Curtis only served for six years, and during his brief tenure he was called to weigh in on the case of Dred Scott v. Sandford, wherein a slave named Dred Scott attempted to sue his master for his freedom. Being a reasonable non-shithead, Curtis voted in favor of Scott. However, the court ruled against him on the grounds that slavery was in the best interest of black people, and that they didn't have any rights that white people should have to acknowledge anyway (this is literally how the ruling reads).

Curtis blew up on his fellow justices and angrily stepped down from the court in protest rather than spend the rest of his life working alongside a bunch of galloping racists. To date, he is the only justice ever to resign from the Supreme Court on principle.


He whittled a microphone out of wood and then dropped that mother hard.

#3. You Might Not Want the Job

Regardless of the esteem, a lifelong appointment to a position you either had no interest in or explicitly disliked would be a major drag, and you'd probably find yourself in more of a hurry to give it back than that time you sped to Walgreen's to stuff Drive Angry 3D back into the Redbox from whence it came.

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"From hell's heart I stab at thee, crimson temptress!"

Cincinnatus, a Roman farmer back in the fourth century B.C., was appointed emperor of Rome in the midst of a military crisis, because for some inexplicable reason they decided that a middle-aged wheat cropper was the optimal choice for this task.

He held absolute power over the empire for exactly 16 days, then gave it up the moment the crisis was over and returned to his farm. By all accounts, Cincinnatus was amazing at being a ruler, too -- he crushed an opposing army in a single day (comprising one-sixteenth of his time on the throne). After two weeks, though, he'd apparently had enough of that emperor bullshit and wanted to see where the agriculture game would take him.


"I'm really more about olives than orgies."

#2. Your Position Might Cease to Exist

The USSR was already in a pretty steady decline when Mikhail Gorbachev took over as general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. At that point, becoming dictator for life had the same level of job security as a Circuit City manager.


In fairness, Gorbachev drank less vodka than the average Circuit City manager.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Gorbachev dissolved his run as general secretary into a presidency, facilitating the breakup of the Soviet Union and giving himself time to work on his resume.

#1. You Will Eventually Get Too Old to Give a Shit Anymore

This may sound obvious, but a lifetime appointment is a seriously long time. Once you hit the age where your knees creak like old bicycles and your underpants region starts to look like a taxidermist's garbage can, you're probably going to be pretty freaking sick of whatever it is you've been tasked to do until you keel over and die and might actually want to do something else with your time.

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"Popery was fun and all, but I'd like to try my hand at stripping."

During her 24 years on the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor underwent surgery to treat breast cancer and watched her husband slowly deteriorate from Alzheimer's, while simultaneously trying to juggle the responsibility of upholding the highest law in the land. She finally retired at age 75, deciding that she'd like to enjoy at least part of her golden years only having to deal with the normal stresses of old age, which is possibly the only time in history that coping with terminal illnesses and the deaths of loved ones could be construed as a relaxing alternative.

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