Wage-Slaves Have Dreams Too

This is aimed at anyone still stuck in the corporate machine.

Just because you are working a 9-5 doesn’t mean that you don’t have options. If you don’t have options, then you simply create them. The one way I would suggest is to start a business of your own.

So what’s the preoccupation with starting a business?

I suppose that I’ve always craved the freedom that business ownership can bring. Even though I spent over 18 years in the corporate environment, I never stopped thinking about what it would be like to, someday, break those shackles and start charting my own course.

I suspect we’ve all been there at some point. I like to think of this as every person’s secret fantasy. It’s something that many of us keep to ourselves for fear of ridicule and judgment by others. Friends and family are the worst for this – not to mention your coworkers and boss. I never disclosed my plans to anyone at work because I knew that they wouldn’t understand. Most would have wondered why I was looking for something else when I was “looked after” quite nicely by the company. The only thing I can say is that we are all entitled to seek happiness, and some find it within the confines of the company/employee structure.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s just not for me.

You could assume that because I spent so long in the corporate world, I wasn’t really that serious about actually going into business for myself. That’s a fair assumption, but not quite accurate. I think it has to do (more) with survival and providing for my family. Though I always thought about going into business, I needed the security that a full-time job could provide – that was reality.

Now, being a wage-slave (I love that term – don’t know why), doesn’t mean that you haven’t got options. In fact, I started many part-time ventures during my years with the company. Even though I wasn’t making enough to quit my job, I did gain some invaluable experience that would help me once I took that leap of faith.

Many of the part-time businesses never made any real money – heck, I was lucky to be able to cover my costs at times. However, a few did generate a bit of income every month. And this income (after taxes, of course) was just icing on the cake. It was money that I could spend on whatever I wanted.

It’s a great feeling to be able to create your own money. In fact, I found that it was quite addictive. There’s nothing like having several hundred dollars of “extra” cash in your account at the end of the month. This is something that most corporate workers will never experience.

But the best part about running your own business while you’re employed full-time? Why, that’s easy: It means that you have a chance at making it and eventually leaving your job 🙂 As long as you run a business (no matter how much you’re making), you have a chance at shedding the corporate shackles and becoming free.

Feeling Like a Loser

There is a quote from the movie “Waiting” where Dean asks another co-worker, “Do you ever just wake up and realize you are a f@#king loser?”

Or something to that effect.

I kind of felt like that this morning. Once in a while, I’ll wake up with this awful feeling of dread that I’ve really screwed my life up. A tradeoff, I suppose, to living this lifestyle.

Here’s the thing: If you are going to live without a real job, chances are, you are going to live a meager life. Now, there’s nothing wrong with living a meager life, it’s just that society has conditioned us to feel inadequate when we opt out of the system.

We all have a natural tendency to compare ourselves with others. And we humans are constantly doing that shit. When you compare yourself to others, you are going to be sorely disappointed, because there is always someone who is going to be (supposedly) better off than you are.

I sometimes feel inadequate when I see what others have done with their lives. But then I think about where I would be today if I continued with the lifestyle I had 15 years ago.

For sure, I would be obese. There is just no way around that. I would also be an alcoholic. That, I am sure of.

A life of abundance is not always a good thing. I know some people that handle it well, but I am not one of those.

Living a minimalist life ensures that I won’t do that to myself.

I don’t have the money to wreck my life – if that makes any sense.

And there are many more positives that you just don’t think of when you live a life without a job.

Going to bed and waking up on my own schedule.
Not having to commute to a tiny cubicle.
Not having to deal with company induced stress.
Eating better.
Exercising more.
And just being in control of my own time.

That last one is a big one. It’s the main reason I live like this. Even though I am considered poor by society’s standards, I am “time rich.” I can do whatever I want (as long as it’s free) during the day. And, contrary to popular belief, you can fill your day and do things without it costing a dime.

For example, let’s say I want to learn another language. Well, I have all the time in the world. I just head down to the library and read/study for as long as it takes. I have time to immerse myself in any task I want. I have the time to enrich my life in ways that the average cubicle dweller can’t because they spend all their time working for someone else to buy shit they really don’t need.

I can pick up and go for a nature walk any time I feel like it. No schedule, no need to be anywhere at a certain time. No one hovering over me to ensure they are getting their money’s worth.

If I want solitude or to connect with nature, I can do that any time I want.

So, why do I feel like a loser today? Well, it’s obvious that there are still remnants of my social conditioning left over. Oh well, such is life. It’s not like it happens often anymore.

It takes a while to decompress – sometimes, years.

As long as your basic needs are met and you aren’t stressing about getting kicked out of your apartment or not having enough money to buy food, then you are free. I don’t care what you think you need. Your real needs don’t cost much at all.

And if you ever feel like a loser for adopting this lifestyle, think of how the planet benefits from you just taking what you need and not gorging yourself, living a life of excess. That is what keeps me smiling 🙂

Employers Still Call The Shots

One thing that really bothers me about the working world is how companies are still in the driver’s seat when it comes to hiring people. It is still an employer’s market out there, even though most of the baby boomers are retired now. I honestly thought this was going to change at some point.

But no…

It’s as bad as it’s ever been out there.

Personally, I would rather be homeless than work for someone again, but I’m just speaking about the job market in general.

I do check once in a while just out of morbid curiosity.

And it appears to be grim.

More than ever, the employer gets to call the shots. And, wow, you better be ready to jump through hoops, or you are finished.

Not only are they squeezing people with lower pay, reduced benefits, no benefits, no pension, and increased work loads, but they demand perfection every step of the way.

If you manage to get an interview, you better be on your game. The slightest indication that you aren’t the person for the job and you are out. Look at your interviewer the wrong way, fail to maintain eye contact, and you are done. Smudge on your shoe? Finished. Too old? Done (even though this is illegal). Too young? Done.

In fact, you may just remind your interviewer of someone they can’t stand and you are finished. No reason need be given – and even if there was, would they tell you the truth? Naw…

To quote Mr. Trump: “The game is rigged folks.”

How did it get to be like this?

Well, it probably started with a glut in the workforce (baby boomers), but now it’s likely that a machine has taken many jobs. And it’s only going to get worse.

So, the company is still in the driver’s seat.

I just saw an ad for a mailroom clerk in Toronto. In a matter of a few days, there were hundreds of people that had applied for this 12 dollar an hour job. No benefits. No pension. 3 month probation (where you are their bitch, basically) during which time they can fire your ass for any reason.

Another part time job required that you be available on the weekends during busy times on an on-call basis. In other words, they are so cheap that they won’t even have you come to work unless it is super busy. And if you aren’t available, then it goes against you. Basically, your weekend is ruined because you could be called on any time.

The pay? $12.50 an hour.

What is going on?!

And where is it going to stop?

Of course, they can do this because they know they can. They know there are people willing to work shitty jobs like that because they need a paycheck. Why would they make it more attractive and lose money?

All the money they save goes toward the owners and/or shareholders – and the managers get a pat on the back for having a good quarter.

Screw the workers…