Monday, June 30, 2008

More about work

Today, No Impact Man has a post about "work" - about how for a year he enjoyed the kind of rest, mindfulness, and time with his family that are craved by so many; yet now that he is writing his book, that time has all but disappeared. He writes about how American jobs are now, more then ever, demanding more of our time; and how our culture, which reinforces pursuit of possessions, leaves us forever tied to work, to hypnotically treading along in a direction that we know won't bring happiness (we know because we've tried it, right?). 

This is exactly what I was trying to say in the last couple posts that I've written about work: Work or Modern Slavery and Less Work-More Life, but of course he's far more eloquent with his words. Check it out...


fearlesschef said...

seriously... I meant to comment on your post about work or slavery, but I was chained to a desk doing paperwork. No, I love my job. I honestly wake up 98% of time and cannot wait to get to the office. However, I quit my job-from-hell last year where I was literally enslaved to the man. It was horrible to constantly live in fear that the management would get on a firing spree.

Now, I work for a small, individual owned educational service. My days are taken as they are. Case in point; tonight I work 10+ hours, but last week I only logged in about 30 hours. I'm salaried so it works out. I have nothing on my agenda today until noon. So, I am recipe searching and reading until then.

All that to say, when I worked for the lab, they paid me loads of money. I hated what I did and now that I am out, I really hate what it stood for. I didn't feel that I could quit, because the lifestyle that is popularized by society today was creeping into our checkbook. I found myself suddening caring what shoes I wore to work and how my husband appeared on the golf course. Now, Sweets and I are far removed from those thoughts. My job is so much less stressful... and it also pays a lot less. But, we made adjustments. I feel so much more at peace with the choices that I have made with our lifestyle now, than I have ever before. I found that no matter how much I insisted that my job wasn't my life, it still lurked in every corner of my mind.

Your job is there is support you in the things you cannot do yourself... like say, trash removal. Poor example to some people, but I have to have someone take it away. We are all part of a circle and we need others in our lives to provide skills that we cannot. And someone needs me to provide skills for them that they cannot take care of themselves. Working should be about what you can do to make everyone else's lives better, but instead it has become a slavery of sorts to the buck and the advertisements. Instead of supporting the community through our work, we now support greed as a whole.

Now, I have birthday cards to write. :D

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Your work or slavery post was very influential for me, I completely agree with the assertion and it gave me hope that, with some good planning, saving, and the like, that perhaps we can afford to not have to slave as we currently are today. Doesn't seem like much of a way to live.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen people who work 60-80 hours a week for a fat paycheck and a big house filled with stuff, but they have no time to enjoy it!

Green Bean said...

So true, isn't it. What are we all working so hard for? In part, it is to consume but in large part it is the way jobs are structured. I know many moms who would like to work part time but must work full time or lose their jobs. Arduous wrote a while back about the need for universal health care. Now, if people are chained to their jobs because health care is so unaffordable without it. Just when I think it is an individual pursuit, I realize we need to change something much larger - the way companies do business.

arduous said...

Heh. I am such a broken record about health insurance, I know. But I just see that as a major stumbling block to allowing people more flexible schedules. I know so many people who have stayed at crappy jobs for health insurance. And if you've had a major illness? Forget about it. You're never ever ever getting individual coverage. That's a big reason my mom has to work until Medicare kicks in. She had cancer and though she is now totally fine, no one will cover her. She doesn't even HAVE to work until retirement financially, but for health care, she has no choice. It's a good thing she enjoys her job!!

eco 'burban mom said...

I so agree... As the mother of 4 it seems my husband and I work longer and longer hours at crappy jobs just for the security of knowing we have them.

Slightly off topic - I picked up a book from the new release section of the library yesterday. It's called "Nobodies - Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy - by John Bowe". I haven't started it yet, but it seems like it might be in the same vein as your thoughts. I hadn't heard anything about it, but the title grabbed me.

Heather @ SGF said...

fearlesschef - that's wonderful that you finally found a job you enjoy! Isn't that what we all want? Whether we work inside or out of the home, we all desire a place where we feel our talent and/or our passion makes the world better for others.

jennifer - you are so right. It does take some planning, but it is so worth it. It took me 5 years but I got to the point where I could cut back to only working part time. One word - AWESOME! I'm not yet in a position where I'm doing what I love, but I'm definitely on the lookout for the opportunity and in the meantime, I have the time on my hands to really enjoy my life. Your hard work will pay off!

green bean - I agree. NIM mentioned that employers would rather have less full-time employees than more part-time employees. That's evident by all the job postings I see. Rarely is there a posting for a part time person. This is something I'd definitely like to see change.

arduous - I'm with you. I'm all for universal health care too. I know someone who doesn't have health insurance at all. She's elderly an in a lot of pain but can't get doctors to help her. She keeps getting passed off - we can't help you, go here instead. In the meantime, she spends money at each doc (none of which have helped her yet) and has to wait a month between each appt. It's just not right. On a lighter note, I'm so glad to hear your Mom is cancer free! That's wonderful!

eco 'burban mom - Ooh! Can't wait to hear how you like the book!

Wendy said...

You should read Dolly Freed's book, Possum Living (do a google search). It really did change my life, and it gave me the exact insight to our "money" culture that you're talking about here. Her book is all about how to live with "little or no money", and that's exactly what I'm striving to do.

Unfortunately, as my husband keeps reminding me, we have to pay the mortgage - so until then, we have to have an income, but after that ... who knows? Maybe I'll sell lettuce at $4 a bag to the tourists ... who are still here, despite gasoline prices and the faltering economy ;).

As for health insurance and universal health care, I'm not for either. I wish we could go back to the regional doctor who made housecalls and accepted a chicken dinner as payment, and a town midwife for birthing babies (which in my five experiences should never happen in a hospital).

I'm taking an herbalism course so that I can learn to provide preventative care and health maintenance for my family. While I agree allopathic medicine has its place, it's far too expensive and invasive and often does more harm than good. I'm for taking responsibility for my own health care.

Of course, good dental care can't be beat, but unfortunately, more people are without a good dental plan than are without health insurance. It's an irony to me that the insurance companies will pay for all sorts of expensive tests and procedures, but a simple cleaning for prevention of disease? Not covered. Too bad.

Heather @ SGF said...

Wendy - thanks so much for the book recommendation! I'll look into that!