How to use your job to be free from it.

in #life7 years ago

I sold my business.

But I still work there. In a sense, I bought a job. But I’ve never wanted a job. I want freedom.

Not wanting a job is not the same as being lazy or wanting to retire. I never want to retire. The fastest road to depression is having nothing to do. I like work, I just only want to do the work I want to do. The work I am good at and enjoy. As Maslow said, “What a man can be, he must be.” Of course, this is only in the context of driving motivations: an artist must make art, a writer must write, a philosopher must pursue knowledge, in order for happiness and self-actualization to ever come to her.

The only reason to have a job is to learn what you need to not have a job.

I’m a big fan of the division of labor. It has brought us the pencil , planes, and the Internet. But in an attempt to create more specialized worker bees, our factory farmed kids are shoved through a system that is designed to strip the individual of any self-actualization and replace it with duty. Duty to country, society, family, in that order. Somewhere deep into the list, the self is acknowledged. This is where hobbies and toys come into play. Work at your job, obey the laws, pay your taxes, and with whatever time you have left, you can finance a hobby on credit.

Everybody’s working for the weekend.
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I’m a generalist. Not a specialist. It’s been a consternation my entire life. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Apparently, “not an employee” is the wrong answer.

This is why I’m falling more in love with writing every day. I can be rewarded as a generalist: practice guitar, drawing, fitness, biology, physics, astronomy, learning techniques such as mnemonics and speed reading, philosophy, cartooning (different than drawing), inventing, etc.. I don’t have to master any one of these, but I can learn enough to be useful and competent in them all, and each step forward adds value to my “career” of writing and public speaking. But in the meantime, like you, I have bills to pay and taxes to avoid- er, um...well, you know.

So I still have a job. But I’ve learned to up the value of my job. The primary income from my job is not in the form of money. I am squeezing value from my job by treating it like a computer simulation. It’s a petri dish. An experiment. It’s my own personal Lyceum.

If you are perfectly happy in your job, have all the financial security you could ever hope for, all the freedom you desire, look forward to every day at work, and feel completely respected, fulfilled and self-actualized. Congratulations. You’re a freak.

If not, then your job needs to be temporary. In order to move past it, you must outgrow it. To do that, you need to harvest every drop of experience you can get out of your work, to apply it to what you really should be doing.

An example from my work today:

I just finished constructing a marketing funnel from scratch for my employer. If you don’t know what that is, it’s one of those ads you click on through Facebook that takes you to an opt-in page with a hard to refuse offer. Then you get a series of automated emails to entice you to take the next step, until finally, you either unsubscribe, or you buy something.

Whether you like this form of marketing or not doesn’t matter. It’s highly effective.

In learning how to build the automation, what software to use, what to write, and how effective our various versions are, I am not only providing value for my employer (as I was hired to do), I am documenting the results to use in future marketing campaigns for my blog, books, inventions, and apps. Not only that, but I am adding to the body of my writing by having yet another skill I can teach to my readers. Oh- and I'm writing this article about the whole damn process.

It’s a self-improving loop: Learn a skill for my employer, apply the skill to my own business, teach it to others to make it even more valuable. Eventually, the experience I am taking from my job will be the foundation for my freedom from it.

That seems obvious as I write it, but this is not what most people are doing. If they were, there would be more “self-employed” entrepreneurs around and the job market would have employers scrambling to fill positions left vacant by upwardly mobile freedom-seekers.

This, by the way, is the free-market solution to the unethical and inhumane “minimum wage”. On the one hand, you would have people choosing work, not based on what they can earn, but what they can learn.

On the other hand, you would have employers who would recognize that it takes more than a paycheck to entice quality labor, and the market would have to build incentives appropriate for this mindset. If personal growth were the commodity, the wages would respond. Instead, too many people want to defer responsibility to an employer or some other parental figure. They don’t want to grow up. They expect to be taken care of. Health insurance, retirement funds, and annual increases are expected and sought after - at the expense of personal growth and fulfillment.

The first step: own it.

Take responsibility for yourself. If you have the choice between a well-paying job that teaches you nothing, or a hard-to-get-by-on wage where you can learn skills applicable to fulfilling your dreams, go with the educational experience first. If you feel you’ve exhausted all the knowledge you can get from your current position, then it’s time to change. NOW.

We live in an era where no job is safe. Job security is an oxymoron. This has been a long time coming but it’s about to get a whole lot more aggressive. The convergence of various technologies from cryptocurrency, to specific A.I., desktop manufacturing, global coverage of fast and free internet... change is here.

This is your opportunity. What will you do with it?


Hello! My name is Cody Limbaugh. I own LiveAllYourLife.com , where I write about:

Personal Development
Money and Business
Fitness
Art
Future Tech & Science
And Philosophy

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I look forward to meeting you!
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Great article! I like your writing style and I agree 100% on getting more out of a job than just money. Back when I used to be employed I would also persuade clients to accept my (better!) freelance offer instead of renewing their contract with the company I worked for.
Another thing this article reminds me, is how some German politician was ripping on mini-jobs the other day: 'If these had learned something decent' or so it went along these lines 'they wouldn't need three mini-jobs.' Well, my automatic response was: how about having three mini-businesses? (Not that it would be feasible in Germany... but that's why Mexico is so convenient.)

Thanks for the feedback! Means a lot.
I absolutely relate to your response to the politician. It's a pet peeve of mine when people talk about the economy in terms of employment rates. My response to unemployment has always been, "who cares? Increase your value to other people and learn how to make money on your own! You don't need a job to do that".

That's right. In a sense we all do anyway, might as well get as free as possible in the process! Thanks for the comment and vote!

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