I’ve been reading a lot about “living within our means” ever since this whole recession thing came to be a happiness-sucking matter-of-fact reality… “Living within our means” means living in a way that is financially sustainable. If you’re living within your means, you don’t have tons of credit card debt, you’re paying your taxes, and you don’t have a bunch of shit you can’t actually afford. If you’re spending more money than you really make, you’re likely to end up broke and homeless at some point in the near future… and that’s what our country has come to; that point where we need to do something differently and escape the hole that we’ve dug ourselves into. And no, that doesn’t mean digging deep beneath the earth and fracking around with “clean” coal or whatever the energy companies would like you to believe. I’m talking about being financially responsible, which is in a way, related to me because I’m not making enough money at my current job for the amount of stress and effort that I put into it. I am ready for something new.
You might be thinking, “Hey, Tommy… is it really smart for you to be blogging about this? Won’t you get fired or something if they read this?” Well, yeah, probably… but at this point, I really wouldn’t mind. A minimum wage job should not have you feeling as if you’re participating in the Hunger Games. I should feel like a teenager with a summer job. Instead, I feel depressed pretty much all the time and dread the thought of going back to work the next day. The pay doesn’t make up for it and I don’t have the free time that I need to create, write, or spend time with my friends (some of which I have not seen in weeks). Sure, I have an “income” (if you can even call it that), but I’m pretty sure that it’s time to stop being content with my circumstances and do something that fulfills me financially and spiritually. I have no idea what that is, but my horoscope has been giving me ideas. Here are some clips of wisdom for the Aquarius homies that are reading this.
“While Mars stays in your lofty tenth house of honors, awards, and achievement, from August 23 to October 6, you will likely hear of a good offer, one you will want to investigate further. You will have no trouble getting your foot in the door and to be taken seriously.”
“During August, get your ducks in a row, and be ready to tear out of the gate with gusto in September. Mars will leave his enviable career position on October 6, so make this period count. Your next position will be quite a responsible one and represent a huge step up. You may get a hint about what that new position will entail this month or next, but certainly by mid-November.”
“Mars’ involvement will help you select the right people to surround you in a business sense, should that be your goal. You may hire experts to help you get ahead now, such as to choose a new accountant or lawyer, or a new publicist or business manager. All sorts of collaborations are shining now, such as if you work with a writer to help you write a book you have in you, or a designer to help you create a new logo.”
– Susan Miller’s AstrologyZone monthly horoscopes.
So, I’m looking for something that really makes me feel like I’m DOING SOMETHING with my life. School made my soul feel empty, so I left. I will soon leave this job for the same reason, but since I have financial responsibilities this time around, I need to find something that can fulfill my financial needs. My current job only provides FOUR HOUR SHIFTS, so I’m currently working four to six days a week and making the same amount of money that I could make in two or three days at a job that provided eight hour shifts. It’s so silly. If I just worked eight hour shift four days a week, I would be making so much more money, and STILL have the free time that I need to do everything else that I want to. That’s WITHOUT a change in hourly pay. I feel like I’m driving to LA every day to get to this job… and that’s absolutely crazy unless you’re making MAD CASH.
I am making no cash.
Possession of currency sadly seems such a necessity in our capitalist society (Woah, that sounds really cool if you say it out loud!). Money allows us to buy the things we want and need. We work for it, we earn it, and when we run out, we want more. To get MY hands on it, I work retail. Retail is like putting out a fire on a sinking ship. Retail is a never-ending logistical nightmare of failed management techniques and fluctuating productivity. On a daily basis, I sell clothes to people that I can’t even afford and get patted on the back for things that mean nothing to me. “Good job! You sold $3000 worth of clothes today! Your UPT and ADS were BLAH BLAH BLAH”. I have nightmares about being unable to meet my goals and worry about how the weather is going to affect my sales, when I don’t even make commission. Sure, I’ve learned a lot working retail. For example, I’ve become able to talk to anyone without a reason and convince them to do things. I can help men and women shop for clothes that suit them. I can even manage small teams of co-workers toward completing work-related goals… But in the end, I am left emotionally drained and empty.
I want to set up a canvas in the backyard someday and just like paint what my job makes me feel like. Sadly, I’ll have to try and put it in the form of a poem instead:
I’m strapped to a hospital bed.
The nurse and doctor smile and tell me that I’ll be okay.
I look around and notice that I’m hooked up to machines that drain my blood.
I’m slowly growing weaker…
I’m sedated on the “comfort” of my minimum wage pay;
it’s a weak sedative, but it does the trick.
My heart is beating at the speed of a traffic jam
and my soul feels as if it’s ready to leave behind its corporeal counterpart.
My blood pours through funnels and flasks and beakers and
comes out of the end as piles of coagulated gold
in the hands of a faceless entity
shrouded in the smokey blackness of his million dollar suit.
There will be a day when I can paint this, and while I am not a painter by any stretch of the word, I feel that the product will be interesting to say the least.
So, having money is good and all, but since I don’t make any at my job, shouldn’t I AT LEAST feel emotionally paid?? I say yes. haha “Working within our means” means having the money to live the way we want and the “emotional currency” left over to be happy with our lives. Emotional currency is earned by having a well-balanced life that has the right mixture of friends, fun, downtime, and work. If your job is spending all your emotional currency, then you’re at the wrong place. I’m pretty sure I’m at the wrong place, so if you’re feeling the same way, then JOIN ME in breaking up with our unfulfilling jobs. People will tell you “Oh, you can’t find a job in a recession!” and all sorts of other crap that will scare you into staying in one place until you die, but that’s not how you make progress. When you’re stuck or lost somewhere, pick a direction and just GO. I’m looking for a job that’s easy to get to, pays me enough, and gives me a sense of purpose. It should also leave me with time for all the other aspects of a balanced life, involve something that I love, AND be morally sound, as well as allow me to work with a team of talented, dedicated people of integrity. I also want to be able to afford whatever I am “selling”. I’ll get into what I mean by “selling” in another blog post, but yeah, for the most part, that’s what I’m looking for in a job. You’ve got to have high expectations of anything that will become a large part of your life. For most people, a job is a third of their day… I’d say that’s a pretty big chunk. haha
Anyway, the point of this is that we’ve got to work within our means spiritually/emotionally as well as financially. Some of us work jobs that we just can’t afford to work and I think that’s the greatest tragedy of this recession. There are so few jobs and such a need for money that we’re taking whatever we can get. We’re sacrificing our happiness, time, and souls for basically nothing. We are worth much more than what a macroeconomic model decides the value of labor is worth in the state or nation that we call home. Your time and soul are PRICELESS. That is why corporations attempt to price them. Nothing can be turned into a profit until a price has been placed upon it.
– Tommy Maverick