Life is Work, but Work isn’t Life

January 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm (Uncategorized)

In the second half of last year, I was underemployed. Well, basically unemployed with short bursts of employment. As anyone whose has negotiated between the two states of existence knows, both are filled with strong emotions. 

When I’m working, I’m more accurately working for the weekend, Friday night and its magic of possibilities, only to ber crushed by the misery of Sunday knowing that you will be back at work on Monday.  Like most workers I dream of free time, holidays etc. And I actually aspects of my job, as there are many moments of personal freedom combined with a wage that’s not as bad as some. But there have been many many moments in my working life when the job sucked, the bosses were, well, bosses and the pay was unspeakably low.  

To be quit of that state is often welcome.  Forty extra hours a week to do….well anything. Not waking up at 4:30 and being unable to go back to sleep because work is coming. One of my concerns when I went back to work was when would I have time to do all the stuff that just needs to get done?  

But  then, the reality sinks in. I’m not independently wealthy. The only thing I can sell in this market economy is my ability to labour. No work means no money. The miserable pittance the government hands out is just that miserable . In Canada, employment insurance benefits are 55% of salary to a maximum of just over $400 a week (so if you had a semi-decent paying job, you benefit is actually much less than 55% ). That’s quite a drop, and given that most people are a paycheque of two away from poverty, that’s quite terrifying.

I’m not a big spender. I don’t have debts apart from my mortgage, but inexorably, the bank account declines.  As English singer-songwriter TV Smith  observed in a song I posted last week, it’s expensive being poor.

So on we tread. Caught between a rock and a hard place, between employment and unemployment. And we wonder, is this all there is? For most of my life, I’ve believed in a negative answer to that question. There is better, possible world. And it’s coming.

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1 Comment

  1. gmacmedia said,

    I feel your pain. 😉 Bring on the better way! I wonder if part of the answer is to live with less in order to enjoy more, sorta’ speak. We play a bit of a fool’s game spending so much time doing things we’d rather not be doing. Good to keep in mind that we have at least some options, (at least some of the time) to do things differently, including carving out more time for things we love, or at least don’t loath.
    – rock onward

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