* Michelle Thoughts

Making A Living: Voluntary Simplicity cont.

Chapter 3: Making A Living

“We must take time to dress for our jobs, commute to our jobs, think about our jobs at work and at home, ‘decompress’ from our jobs.  We must spend our evenings and weekends in mindless ‘escape entertainment’ in order to ‘recreate’ from our jobs.”

“How many people have you seen who are more alive at the end of the work day than they were at the beginning?”

“For most human history people only worked for two or three hours per day.”

“We’ve begun to lose the fabric of family, culture, and community that gave meaning to life outside the workplace. … Because life outside the workplace has lost vitality and meaning, work has ceased being a means to an end [financial support] and become an end in itself. … Our jobs now serve the function that traditionally  belonged to religion: they are the place where we seek answers to the perennial questions: ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What’s it all for?'”

“Having the financial independence to walk away rarely triggers people to do just that.  The reality is, making money is such hard work that it changes you.  It takes twice as long as anyone plans for. It requires more sacrifices than anyone expects. You become so emotionally invested in that world- and psychologically adapted to it- that you don’t really want to ditch it.”

There is this paradox between not letting your job be the center of your life and finding a job that you “come alive” doing.  With the amount of time we spend at our jobs (see first quote), it seems we should find something we truly enjoy doing.  But at the same time, our jobs aren’t necessarily supposed to be the one source of our satisfaction, nor the source of our identity- they’re a means for us to enjoy the rest of our life (assuming we have time and energy left to enjoy it).  I found a lot of “food for thought” in this chapter, and I welcome your comments and reflections.

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