May 26th, 2020
One of the most time consuming elements of your life will be your livelihood. The whole education system builds up to it. You spend years training for a job, followed by hours each day searching for work and attending interviews. However, 85% of people hate their jobs. We work so hard to secure employment, only to wake up each morning dreading the day ahead. Since this is such a significant aspect of life, how do so many people fail to find enjoyment in employment?
This problem also seems to be getting worse. Stress in the UK has hit record levels, with 70% naming stress as their biggest work-related hazard. How have humans managed to organise society such that most people are miserable and stressed out? Surely there's a better way.
Of course, not everyone hates their job. It's not like earning a living should necessarily be stress free, either. However, the effects of extreme stress impact on the rest of a person's life. If you have less time to look after yourself, you'll be eating more fast food, drinking on the weekend and reaching for any short term dopamine hit you can. This often expresses itself in the form of consumerism, meaning that people take work they hate because they need money, but this is turn leads to unnecessary spending, so that they then need more money.
It is a self-defeating process. Not to mention the costs of business suits and commutes. There needs to be a new philosophy of work. We recognise good physical health and strong relationships as pillars of happiness. Despite the high stress of work, the younger generation is incredibly health conscious. Furthermore, we spend a long time searching for the right partner and refuse to settle for someone who doesn't increase our happiness.
So why do we struggle to apply this same standard to our work? We put money before happiness. I'm convinced that anyone can find meaningful and enjoyable work, if they are willing to reasses their priorities. Maybe in the past that wasn't as easy, but now, the prospect of location independence is here to help.
As a solo traveller, I wake every morning without an alarm clock. I have my morning coffee, breakfast and a shower. I get dressed (out of preference, rather than necessity) and begin to work. There's no rush to be on time and no sitting in traffic. I work hard because, like anyone, I need to make a living, but come 5pm, I put my laptop down and the work day ends. There's no saying goodbye to colleagues I hate, no waiting around to clock out and no commute back home. I'm already home.
This kind of work may not appeal to everyone. You may think you'd lack the motivation to get anything done. However, the reason I never lack motivation is because I genuinely enjoy what I do. It's been a year since I was last employed by someone else and in that time I've built a location independent, secure income. My work fits in with the rest of my life, rather than working against it.
By not being tied to a location, I can work from pretty much anywhere. I can surround myself with the people I want to be with, regardless of where they are. I can continue earning the same income, but from a place with lower living costs. Life is easy.
That's not to say it was easy to get to this point. I've had to deal with people telling me I need to seek "proper work" and convince myself everyday that I'm doing the right thing. The life I chose still provides a service that is needed. I am still contributing to the economy and doing something that benefits society. The only difference is, I'm happy doing it in a way I wouldn't be with any other work. This isn't a brag, it's an attempt to spread to a new perspective on work; a better way to organise society. It all begins with a philosophy: the commitment to putting happiness first and wealth second.
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