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View Diary: Living a Self-Directed Life One Week at a Time (32 comments)

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  •  What advice might you give (4+ / 0-)
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    bobtmn, stevej, sngmama, leftyparent

    To non white, non male people who want to create a 7 day opus out of each week, but are not blessed with the opportunity to work in a well paid, secure and salaried position?

    •  Silly Sethrightmer! (3+ / 0-)
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      chakadog, DrDoolittle, CharlieHipHop

      It's obvious is it not?

      First, get lucky by becoming employed at the higher end without crippling debt.

      Next, get a job where you can work from home (blue collar or other essential on-site people, hard luck to y'all)

      Next, cultivate a sense of righteousness - similar to the "poor people are poor because they're lazy and don't position themselves to benefit from the magic invisible hand), those whose livelihood is intrinsically tied to being in a "place of work, like clockwork, 5 or more days a week on time" are unable to build fulfilling high-end white collar careers because they're LAZY (or undeserving in some mysterious way)

      Finally, write diaries that are thinly veiled paeans to self ("I'm soo new-age and so valuable I can work from home, spend less than 40 hours a week, and look!!!my employer's still so hot for me"

      Those of us who aren't new-age-y free spirits and unable to "design our weeks according to some metric of ain't-I-cool and all kinda indispensable" should keep our shoulders to the wheel and work HARD so's we too can get one of these designer jobs.

      Once you've followed this simple program to become the master of your own work-week, and are writing long thoughtful gently reasoned diaries, other similarly masterful corporation-tamers will pile in and co-paean so you can thank each other for insights and congratulate each other.  Really - just want it hard enough, and hotel receptionists, cab drivers, machinists, factory-assembly workers, bus drivers - all of us - can work from home and design our weeks. Just have to want it enough.....

      This diary is mostly self-congratulatory - don't take it too hard or anything like that. Some people are unaware that these kinds of options are not available to most, or are unaware or the effect such usings have on those whose livelihood essentially puts them at the total mercy of modern-day lords/ladies of the manor

      •  Selfishness (3+ / 0-)

        Primeq: I hear you. Diarist: I admire the life you've managed to build for yourself. In many ways I'd like that life for myself. But all I hear you write about is You. Not a word about your Work, other than mentioning something about health insurance. Seems you've managed to game the system to your advantage. Kudos. You want to be a writer. But is the other 36-hr work you do good work? Are you proud of it? Does it contribute to the greater good? My intention is not to judge you or leap to any conclusions, just curious. As primeq suggests few of us are blessed with work that we love AND that we know contributes to the greater good. Some of us are blessed worth work that pays a living wage and we don't feel too shabby about doing. Some of us need the money for the work we do and we don't think too much about the implications of what we did at the end of each day. Some of us can't find work at all let alone work that pays well or pleases us. Where do you fall on that spectrum?

        •  I have some ambivalence about my paid work... (0+ / 0-)

          I'm involved in developing new sales processes for a very humanistic non-profit health insurance company, probably the best of that not so great industry.  These processes will facilitate our company's compliance with the new health care reform laws.   So I'm ambivalent about the whole health insurance industry but applaud my company's approach to true "health maintenance" rather than making money off of people's illnesses.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:06:50 PM PST

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      •  You Said It (1+ / 0-)
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        Finally, write diaries that are thinly veiled paeans to self ("I'm soo new-age and so valuable I can work from home, spend less than 40 hours a week, and look!!!my employer's still so hot for me"
        This guy sounds like a product of privilege who thinks he built everything himself!   His contempt is barely concealed for those who work hard because they must, or because they choose to excel.

        But we are all supposed to appreciate him because aura and energy and stuff.....

        Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

        by bobtmn on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:25:52 AM PST

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        •  IMO You folks are spinning me way beyond... (0+ / 0-)

          where my thinking is really at.  Your point is taken about not calling out my privilege as a well paid "knowledge worker", something I have done in other pieces.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:09:12 PM PST

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      •  Agreed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SethRightmer, leftyparent

        But let's not be too harsh on the diarist who is well intentioned.  He can't help the fact that he's privileged and probably doesn't realize that circumstances far beyond his control placed him in the position to "create" the reality of his life.

        Heck, I'm white, male, educated, successful, blah blah blah.  That doesn't make me a bad person, and, yeah, I do take a little credit for my success -- just a little, though.  

        You know the thing from the Bible, "Forgive them for they know not what they do?"  (or whatever).  I think it applies here.  The diarist seems like a good person trying to make a positive difference in the world, a person who is maybe just a tad clueless about the origins of both his own good fortune and the harsh economic realities facing many other people.

        •  Well put, Charlie (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And that's why I asked the question I did, in as neutral a fashion as I could. I'll admit my first impulse was to post something more like primeq posted, but what would that do, besides alienate the diarist and make him feel defensive? Putting people on the defensive rarely makes them think.

        •  Approaching age 60 with nearly 40 years... (0+ / 0-)

          of a range of work experience I wouldn't say its all beyond my control.  Being white and growing up middle class was beyond my control, definitely.  But choosing a life of activism for egalitarianism was under my control and a choice I freely took, rather than trying to accumulate money, power and privilege.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:12:36 PM PST

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      •  Some good points in your comment but... (0+ / 0-)

        seems I also pushed some of your buttons!  

        I put that disclaimer about my economic privilege in other pieces but left it out of this one.  But I think your whole righteousness thing my paean to myself is your own projection, and certainly not where I'm coming from if you've read any of my other pieces.

        Appreciate your comment!

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 06:01:55 PM PST

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      •  We are lucky (1+ / 0-)
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        Full disclosure...I am leftyparent's spouse.  

        We acknowledge the white, middle-class privilege into which we were born and the luck of both of us having loving parents and families.  While my spouse's parents both were highly educated, they divorced when he was ten and money was tight.  He went to public schools and worked to go through college.

        My parents are about to celebrate their 69th wedding anniversary.  They both graduated college and worked as teachers for awhile until my dad changed careers.  I went to public schools and college.  

        We both ended up volunteering to work in the women's movement and met doing that work...working on the ERA campaign in the 1980s.  We shared the same values and married, retiring from full time activism to spend time being parents to our son and then daughter, passing on our values to them by spending time with them.  

        We both worked and as my spouse got more experienced he was offered promotions to management which he turned down because he consciously chose to spend time being an equal parent.  Turning down those offers meant choosing to make less money, even though it was still good money...and learning to use the income wisely to stay of debt...while acknowledging that we had the income, and support of my parents in emergencies.

        He became interested in environmental issues at that time and started riding his bike to work, using a car as little as possible. He volunteered at our congregation, eventually chairing the board for a couple of years and then heading the children's education committee.

        I am not saying all this to build him up but to give a broader picture of someone working to live their values in the life in which they find themselves.  We faced medical challenges along the way, me with cancer, he with an accident that led to a brain clot and emergency surgery.  We had health insurance (from my job that I stayed at in order to keep the insurance) and the support of family and friends.

        What is important to this particular diary is that in all the work places he was employed (he went through several layoffs and having to find work again) he saw many departments and the people within them working under the expectation that they would work 50 to 70 hours in their "40 hour" workweek.  It was just understood that people worked all the time, that to take vacation was being lazy, that to work sick showed your commitment.

        It is that culture that his example is challenging.  He got clear within himself that given that he had the privilege of white collar work there were still a paradigm there that isn't healthy for the people within it, for their families, for society.  He got clear that if he was going to that work he wanted to do it in a balanced way, in an egalitarian way.

        Once he got clear that's what he presented at interviews.  I was nervous because I thought, what potential employer is going to want to hear how this potential employee plans to work?  But lo and behold, it worked.  He found a manager who appreciated his skills and talents and values, and who himself was looking to live that way.  With a manager like that, he became part of a team that hired people who also wanted to work that way.  Even so, many of these people still get caught up in working all hours and at times being "martyrs" to the job, one upping each other on how many hours they are putting in.  Because that is in the culture. And that needs to change.

        Most of what I'm saying here is documented in my spouse's blog, including our kids' choosing to unschool during their high school years, how our parenting choices affected them and how the luck of the loving parenting we experienced helped us to pass that on.

        Of course there is much work to be done to change the inequities in our society and many ways of doing that.  This diary is meant to give more detail on how one person refused to get on the white collar treadmill and rat race, even though privileged to have a white collar job.

    •  Yours is a very good point... (0+ / 0-)

      In other pieces I've called out the economic privilege I have as an upper-middle class person.  In this piece I was focused on how I personally try to live me values in my work life, and failed to call out that disclaimer of privilege.

      Point taken... glad you called it out!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 05:55:24 PM PST

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