February 1, 2013

Alternatives To Work



Are there any alternatives to work? Even if there are, people are so busy working that they may never have the time to find them.

Most of us are so immersed in work that we can not imagine a world outside of the current model. As conventional thinking goes, there are no alternatives to work as we know it. "Get a hair cut, and get a job" is understood as not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.

Only by rationally questioning our social assumptions and priorities surrounding the concept of work, and by actually facing the resultant problems, can we then begin to shift toward healthier ways of living.

Is full employment desirable? Who benefits from our working longer hours for less pay? Is work 'liberating'? 'Good for us'? Are people who don't have a job lazy, unproductive losers?

These are the types of questions that we need to discuss before we can get an objective, scientific view of what we are doing from 9 to 5, fifty weeks out of the year. More and more people are asking these questions.

People are getting wise to the scam of wage slavery and they are doing something about it.

A growing number of freedom-loving people are finding alternatives to conventional notions of work. 28 % of US citizens are 'down-shifting' in order to realign their lives with their yearning for more freedom. They are 'tuning out' the dominant culture of work overload, and reject the costly consumer oriented value system.

Down-shifters, and other adherents of simple living, are choosing more free time and less work. Some are moving to quieter, less expensive, rural towns where life is slower and communities are still intact. People are seeking their own (not advertisers' or employers') definitions of quality-of-life, including how a job may or may not fit into their overall picture.

We are brainwashed to believe that if we are not 'doing something' every minute of every day then we are wasting our lives. Quite the opposite is in fact true, chasing 'things', 'thoughts' and 'sensations' simply allows our lives to pass by unnoticed.

More people are opting out of mainstream notions of 'work' and 'success', and are exploring simple living alternatives that allow the freedom to pursue priorities other than the purely economic.

Priorities encompassing all of life such as love, cooperation, creativity, mutual support, play, curiosity, compassion, and truth. How could working a regular monotonous job just for money even compare?

Like Peter Gibbons said in the movie Office Space, "We don't have a lot of time on this earth! We weren't meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about about mission statements."

18 comments:

  1. I totaly agree!!! I had the "fantastic", good-paid job, working 70 hours per week, sitting in countless meetings, getting more and more the feeling that I am at the wrong place and hate everything. I had no time nor energy for the real life.

    Cut and fast forward: today I only work part-time, I really, really love my job ( I changed careers) and best of all: I have time for long walks, sitting in the park, playing with my dog and enjoying life. Yes, I have less money. But it is sufficient and life is wonderful :-)

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    1. That's what I'm talking about. Congratulations on taking your life back and making it work for you.

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  2. Hello,

    How come you didn't give any examples of these 'alternatives to work'? What are some alternatives? I know that wage slavery is a scam and that a 9 to 5 is bollocks, but aside from being a free agent, are there any other ways to pay rent, get food and all that without sacrificing your energy and still live simply?

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    1. Ultimately it would be good if everyone could do what makes them happy, and receive their fair share of the planet's resources for doing it. But until capitalism and greed crumble completely from their inherent non-sustainability, some transitional alternatives are possible. Among those include things such as:

      - downshifting, as mentioned (spend less so you can work less)
      - participating in your community to create local self-sufficiency and resiliency
      - gardening
      - squatting
      - dumpster diving
      - traditional hunting/gathering
      - joining, or starting, a cooperative
      - creating a strong support network in your neighbourhood
      - living in a van or RV
      - being your own boss doing something you love
      - developing strong ties with family and friends
      - use barter networks, tool sharing, and 'free' sections of websites like Craigslist

      I don't know of any alternatives that don't require a sacrifice of energy, but most of the ones I listed will provide a certain amount of freedom from being preyed upon by the mandatory work system and those that benefit from it.

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    2. Ah, I see. I should have worded it "a sacrifice of needless energy", because I enjoy putting energy into the things I love doing, but as I read somewhere - forgot where - that 90% of the jobs out there are non-essential, as in not for human survival/are unsustainable.

      I do some of these things you listed, already! ;) I sent a link of this site to a friend and she went "He's being awfully vague, perhaps you could ask what some of those alternatives are?" Now I know! A lot of it has to do with creativity and just outright cultivating the minimal mindset and naturalistic outlook. I love that this blogspot exists. ~~same anon as before

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    3. Hey same anon as before - I am really glad you came back to share your thought process through all of this. You are bang on, and I am glad that you asked your original question.

      Your asking for clarification gave me the opportunity to elaborate on my thinking, and I am glad that it resulted in helping you. That is my goal.

      You bet! It IS about "creativity and just outright cultivating the minimal mindset and naturalistic outlook". And you are already doing things toward establishing this way of life. You are already freeing yourself, and that feels good.

      I love that we can have this discussion. Thank you for visiting and leaving comments (and for sharing NBA with friends).

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  3. Amen. "Being busy" isn't all that it is cracked up to be either.

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    1. Good things start to happen when we have open time stretching out before us with no agenda or limits. "Rubber Time" enables more flexible thinking and a broader range of possibilities.

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  4. Great post. I am in awe and encourage you to keep this up. As elders it is important to give those younger the benefits of your experience on earth and help them to realise and explore alternative approaches to living as human beings. Your playfull and mellow vibe, which comes through on the posts, provides a safe and happy invitation to try these ideas for yourself. Great stuff Yo!

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    1. Michael,

      Glad you liked that. I have been inspired by my grandparents generation and their more simple view of life.

      However, I continue to be inspired and motivated by more recent generations (Gen X, or The Slacker Generation, 1961 - 1981) that are wise to the work/consume/destroy the environment scam.

      Since Gen Xers as a group did not have work-a-holic tendencies like their parents did, they were contemptuously labeled "lazy underachievers". I don't know, it sounds like they are on the right track to me, those Slackers.

      Gen Y is also taking a different, less consumeristic path in life, and marketers are having a hard time getting them to buy the stuff they don't need. Many of the Millennials are eschewing ownership saying things like, "People simply aren’t as excited about owning things as they used to be."

      Thanks for visiting, and leaving such a supportive comment - that does encourage me to keep this up.

      Plus, I am having fun. Hope you are, too.

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  5. Thank you, your post was very inspiring ; )

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    1. We appreciate your visits, and comments.

      Happy birthday to your son.

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  6. This is what I am working towards, I have cut my living expenses down, make do and mend, grow my own vegetables, fix and repair things myself now rather than paying someone to do it, upcycle my clothes which I mainly buy 2nd hand. Borrow if possible things like large tools, hire or buy 2nd hand before buying new. I am now saving over 54% of my take home salary compared to saving nothing 2 years ago. I am on a fairly low wage in the UK and still manage to save by being sensible and frugal. but I know that I could get by on 20 hrs a week at minimum wage and be no worse off than now. I am not mean just frugal I dont deny myself, I have a two week overseas holiday each year, I drive a new economical car (paid in cash for), and I live in a nice home. Whilst I enjoy my job I will continue to do it, but when the day comes I will gladly work less

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    1. That is an amazing story! Wow.

      So much can be done with so little. Those that discover this, like yourself, are living the good life.

      Have little, be free.

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    2. I am new to this thought wave....and am trying it on. I have questions however. Some of the people I know have been collecting government benefits such as food stamps, ssi, disability, free housing etc. And my partner is in the same process of doing the same in order to have time to pursue his free lifestyle. Is this acceptable? All of them say they don't want to work for others as it's slavery- I get that feeling. I am the one that owns a used car, goes to the thrift shop, desires to grow veggies, has a tiny one bedroom house, barters with the neighbors and has a conventional job. I asked for my partner to work some hours in order to lessen mine. Honestly, sometimes I am so angry and resentful towards them. Help. Thoughts?

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    3. Janet, I think that if the people you refer to qualify for government programs, well, that is what the programs are set up for - you can choose to receive benefits, or not.

      It is a pretty shaky way to live these days though, as there are always people that do not want to fund such programs, and you never know when they will be ended. There is also a stigma attached to receiving help in our individualistic, competitive, Darwinistic culture.

      Many of our current problems with such programs could be solved (and money could be saved) by simply giving everyone a guaranteed annual income (GAI), also called guaranteed minimum income (GMI).

      "Thomas Paine advocated a basic income guarantee to all US citizens as compensation for "loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property". French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte echoed Paine's sentiments and commented that 'man is entitled by birthright to a share of the Earth's produce sufficient to fill the needs of his existence'." source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income

      No one should be able to amass billions of dollars while others go hungry - there is more than enough for everyone to be able to live a decent, standard life.

      Such GAI programs have been shown in trials in both Canada and the US to deliver huge benefits in reports of health and education outcomes, happiness of the participants, plus reduced dependency on hospitals and social service agencies.

      In the end, the programs did what they were suppose to, and saved money over our current expensive, inefficient methods of trying to make sure everyone can fulfill their needs.

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  7. Once upon a time I worked a minimum wage job. Hubby worked a better paying job. It took two vehicles, extra insurance, more gas, proper clothes for me, professional hair cuts. After all that we paid much extra in taxes because of a double income. My teeny paycheck didn't add a whole lot to our budget after expenses and taxes. I finally quit. I started running the home, the food, the everything. I went back to the scratch cooking I learned as a kid. We quit going places and visiting people. We got rid of the cable. We got many books from the library. We raised chickens (total entertainment). We became so boring to other people. Our lives are quiet and peaceful now. I suppose the world goes on at it's old mad pace. I don't know, I'm so out of the world. Does Starbucks still exist?

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    1. Anon, It can cost a lot of money to have a job and therefore the phrase, "It takes money to make money". But how often do people subtract all these costs from their bottom line? None that I know.

      Congratulations on escaping the insanity and concentrating your efforts where they really count - on your own life and passions. You get more 'sense' in your dollar in the context of a simple life.

      We used to travel (driving) a lot, but have done none for the past 8 years. We like where we live and it is nice to not feel like we want to be somewhere else all the time.

      What is Starbucks? :)

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