Friday, July 10, 2015

To work or not to work, that is the question

I was requested to write this by my new mentor, one of the world's top martial artists (4th Dan Karate) and gym instructor. The message is combined with my own direct experience, and combines the lack of control over half our lives (the part decided by others) and the obsolete requirement for everyone to have to earn their money personally.

I began with a normal start, and as my finances did not quite stretch to full time postgraduate courses had the cheap version of part time courses, which forced me to take part time work. This continued for most of the following decade as the courses were on and off, and when I finally finished was at last ready for long term full time work. Unlike the 80s, when you (and I did) could walk out of a job (or be kicked out) on Friday and walk into another on Monday were long gone. I was overqualified for anything besides teaching which by then I'd had enough of as I was only required in one subject which I taught over and over again each year in different classes and privately till it was too much. I'd qualified as a counsellor but where was the work in that? In the end after 1 1/2 years I ended up in the regular position of working for someone I knew, as nearly all my previous jobs had been, and only three days a week. I supplemented this with a lodger and the odd client and rolled along fine for five years till they ran out of cash to pay me.

The same routine as before was performed, the only condition again being I wasn't commuting into central London as it ruined the day before you even started work when I had. That limited the work available drastically but my health came first. This time it took me 2 1/2 years again to get a part time job after leaving my details in numerous shops. The new shop they opened was beyond the town centre and had no paying customers in the first week, so he decided (as it was obviously never going to improve) to let the shop out instead and closed down. I applied for around 100 jobs per year till then and had about three interviews for each year maximum. This time I received a letter from my professional organisation some time after telling me I was now eligible for my accreditation, something which had prevented me not just from getting a counselling job but applying for one, only being able to work for myself. This was a heavy home study course, and with the new unemployment threw all I had into it, and still had to take one part twice. This meant I was eligible for one of the handful of relevant jobs a month, and two years later got my only interview, of a short list of six which I didn't get through. Besides that I had the odd client and occasional accounts work to keep me going, and had offered my services to the UFO community to hypnotise people who thought they'd been abducted by aliens. It was unpaid but I said all I wanted from it besides the research I did it for was to get on TV, and after a few years was given four different programmes after many more interviews. No pay but I was shown worldwide for many years later which money can't buy.

I then began writing (on my information blog if you return to my main profile list) which led to two online video lectures which may one day end up on TV if they can get the next step up. Again, unpaid but something I wouldn't have had time to research for the years it took had I been working regularly. Is there a theme forming here? Having read Dr Larry Dossey's book on miraculous healing, he had been working all hours till he hurt his back and had to spend weeks in bed. He'd planned to write a book for years but didn't have time to write it. Now he did. Not only was it a best seller it inspired healers around the world, and he never had to return to his old job. Most people besides the few doing what they're best at have something in them that rarely if ever comes out as they are too busy earning money, often for other people before themselves. Like you pay a markup when you buy retail, the employer keeps the majority the staff members make for them and pay them a fixed, usually lowest possible rate. My own latent abilities were being allowed out, and given credit with new qualifications simply as I had lost my jobs and used the time in between to allow them to flourish.

This continues till today. I am one of many people in similar situations, and am constantly being made to feel guilty for my escape from the system, including from others who also have. The key here is to drop the guilt and make the most of your time and freedom. What do many people dream of doing while they are working? Well you can do it now and they can't. No wonder many complain, as they see others doing what they wish they could and are envious. Their problem. When you see a great work of art, writing or performance do you either know or care if the person was paid for it, or did it either in their spare time or they do not work at all? No, you see their work itself and judge it on its quality. The same goes for people's time. If you earn money as a carer it's a job. If you look after family members because they need it it's your natural duty. Is it less valuable if you are not paid for it or do it for people you know rather than strangers? Of course not. If you are not working so have time to help family members how can that not be a good thing?

Judging others means you hold up a mirror to yourself. Are you perfect? Did you get everything you have as you worked for it, or did some of it just happen? Did you miss things you really wanted to have through no fault of your own despite doing your best? I think most of us would all be in the same boat with those questions. There is actually already enough money in most western countries to simply pay everyone enough to live on, which wipes out poverty overnight, and most people will carry on working for more, but as and when they want. Hours will fall and exploitation will almost become a thing of the past, as the employers will know the staff can simply walk out with little loss. Then so many people will choose not to work the stigma will vanish entirely as it won't be seen as an essential virtue to be in full time work, and many will work on and off whenever they feel like it as it won't mean they lose their benefits if they do a couple of days a week as they will now.

People work far too long. In the 70s they expected us to work a few days a week now maximum, but we work longer hours than we did then. We actually did work three days a week during the oil crisis in the 70s and production shot up as people crammed all the work into that period rather than stretch it out for a week and fiddle around in between. I can't see any downsides here, so many people used to dream of what they'd do when they retired and drop dead soon after and missed it all. And as we live longer so the retirement age follows so we will still be old and knackered before we can freely enjoy our true callings. I never planned to drop out of the employment system, it just happened, and somehow one way or another I managed. I did use the money I had earned well so that is always a way to protect yourself from future possibilities. But whether you can or not, do not judge anyone or yourself for not working, as not working never means doing nothing. You are always doing something and often creating or helping others instead, and the more time you have the more of both you can do.

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