Escaping the Office During a Recession
Escape the Office? I can barely afford to feed myself, let alone my kids. I can barely even keep up with my bills, mortgage and grocery expenses. How can I think about leaving my office job (or any job) and finding a more fulfilling life?
This is a common refrain. Therefore, it seems like I am giving bad advice to my readers.
The economy is in a very bad state and most of us are desperately trying to cover our bases. With all the talk of the impending financial collapse, a doomsday scenario seems to be all that we can really hear. It’s everywhere these days. In the news. On TV. On the internet.
But what we are missing from this equation is the recognition of the one state of mind that is ironically the very essence of what keeps us caged in our cubes.
In many cases, the same people that are terrified to lose their jobs in a recession are the same ones who were unable to find their way out of jobs they didn’t like five years ago. And on a large scale, our own media keeps us in a state of fear by feeding us stories of how bad the economy is, how all the markets are collapsing, and how nobody has any money whatsoever. This is no accident. It’s a method of control.
In this way, it is like we are all in a giant office trying to escape on a much larger level. The office in this metaphor is our paralyzed financial state, and our boss is our own government and culture. We are in a larger prison. The culture of fear that the recession has created has left us desperately willing to take anything that pays well, or even pays at all.
How is this a good thing?
I have good news for you, however. There ARE people out there who are doing well. There ARE people who are unfazed by the recession. You can be one of them, but first let’s examine where you are in your life. Where are you?
Unemployed and Unable to Find Work
Recently I read that unemployment lines are out of control and state office systems are crashing because of the number of people applying for financial assistance. The computers cannot handle the volume of people who have been recently laid off. It’s a real thing.
Here is a nice metaphor for you to think about. Let’s say that a building you are in is on fire and there are two exits. 90% of the people in the room panic and rush toward one of the exits. You are aware that this other exit exists. Do you take the one with all the marauding, stampeding people? Of course not. You take the other one and avoid being trampled or burned to death.
My point is this: Look for other ways to earn money instead of crowding into the unemployment lines and desperately sending out resumes if you have lost your job. I know it sounds like suicide. But everyone else is doing it and often waiting MONTHS to find work.
There are other ways to earn money than getting a job. Feel free to look for a job as well as pursuing some of these other ways, but you should spend at LEAST 3 to 4 hours a day on a business idea, or offering services that you are good at. Can you teach? Can you do yard work? Service pays well, even in a recession, because it’s always necessary.
Terrified of Losing Your Job
This is the oldest work-related fear in the book. Just because there is a recession out there does not make it more likely that you personally will actually lose your job. Think of it this way:
If you are not great at math, that means that a bit over 1% of US workers representative to the size of the workforce actually lost their jobs last year. That’s like nothing. Think of it this way: Imagine a company of 75 workers that makes mushroom soup. Some time this year, one of those soup-makers is going to be laid off.
Who will it be?
It happens in July. That one, poor worker will say goodbye to his 74 cohorts and will go home crying, vowing never again to work at a mushroom soup company. He swears that even though it will be hard, he will get into a line of work he has always dreamed of. Eventually, he succeeds.
That’s the recession for you.
Stop being afraid and start living. If you don’t like your job, look for something that will make you happy.
Starting a Business
Consider yourself lucky. Depending on what line of work you are in, the self-employed tend to be least affected by hard economic times. This is because if one part of the market is not doing well, you can often switch gears and deal with a whole new array of clients.
And also because you have no overhead, you call the shots. While you may not have health insurance, take notice that nobody above you has to afford your unaffordable health insurance. Therefore, nobody is going to fire you.
I work on freelance web design projects and am finding that although it isn’t always easy to find work, there are just as many other business owners who need websites done because they are trying to launch their business BECAUSE the job market is difficult. When there is one area of the job market that suffers, another benefits.
If you are self-employed and/or do contract work, search for the areas where you can find these areas of benefit.
I am NEVER going to stop telling you to look for meaningful work in your life. If you hate your job and are miserable every morning having to get up and go to work, and you feel like a slave, do NOT let the recession be another excuse not to make a positive change your life. That is the last thing you need.
Think productively, and stop living in fear.
I beg of you.
Hey! Why Has My Paycheck Shrunk?February 10th, 2013
Great Retirement CalculatorsFebruary 16th, 2012
Charting Your Voyage Out of the Rat RaceMay 12th, 2010
Eating Out is a Great Way to Save MoneyApril 13th, 2010
Why Won’t the Rich Share the Wealth?March 27th, 2010