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My Jobless Life

Don’t Be Stumped by the Obvious

Isn't it obvious?
Isn’t it obvious?

When writers aren’t lamenting the lack of readers or the meagre rewards they receive for their work, when they aren’t explaining to the world why readers and writers are superior to the rest of humanity, they’re bashing the writer who is most successful at the time and criticizing that person’s work. Right now no self-respecting writer feels complete without having a go at EL James and ripping apart her books.

I couldn’t get through the first 20 pages of the first Grey book, but clearly there were many who lapped it up and begged for more; which they got. More power to her for striking gold and grabbing the world’s ear (eye?). I now think I should read that damn book to find out what attracted so many readers, and I think that every serious writer should too.

If you have written a great work of prose or poetry that no one seems to be interested in reading your criticisms of someone else’s work comes across as chomping away on a large portion of sour grapes. In fact I think every writer who has gained more followers, gotten their work noticed or met a pressing deadline by condemning the Grey series should send EL James a royalty payment. She saved some asses.

Hell, because of her I now know that BDSM doesn’t stand for Blood Drinking Slave Masters. Horizon broadened!

All the authors who were published merely to refute or affirm other books should be eternally grateful to all that is free and unoriginal. I failed to find “Da Vinci Code” on book-racks crammed with works about it. Books either back-slapping or bitch-slapping Dan Brown and his theories.

Dan Brown made some interesting leaps and imaginative associations and that’s what writers are supposed to do. Now quit fault-finding or riding his coat-tails and make up some of your own leaps and associations and Tom Hanks might be in the movie based on your book.

Writers make shit up, learn from the ones who do it well. The flip-side of having something to say as a writer, is having something to say that readers want to know. The authors whom other writers are hating on found the golden mean. Don’t be stumped by the obvious.

I’m gonna be frank when I write a book. The title will be “Crap She Wrote” (like Murder, She Wrote). I’ll have my book released after I get a British passport because one thing is obvious to me, you have to be an English woman (JK Rowling, EL James, hello!) if you want to sell millions in a book series. I will not allow myself to be stumped by what is blindingly obvious.

And when the inevitable haters get some air-time because of my shitty book, I’ll be somewhere counting my cash.

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MY FIGHT TO GO BACK HOME

When I entered the job market at 19 I didn’t realise it would prove so difficult to shape my working life in a way that suits me. The most difficult struggle thus far has been getting back home.

Work is considered noble and everyone is expected to at least make an attempt at carrying their own weight. Salaried work tops that and when you decide to busy yourself with activities that fall beyond the scope of a job (paid work), something strange happens.

Even before I entered the commercial environment I had been indoctrinated with the idea that having a career is the only way to create a meaningful life. Everything else that life consists of would have to be squeezed and shaped to fit around my career. The minute I decided that I prefer to prioritise my private life over my career, it seemed the whole world turned its back on me.

People started doubting my intelligence and my integrity, my drive was called in question and yes, even my sanity. All this because I want to use my life to pursue my own interests and not to materialise the objectives of my boss or the company that hires me.

Just like that I became a free-loading, simpleton not someone who chose her independence. Not the dedicated bookkeeper who took care of millions on behalf of the companies I worked for. No. Just an unambitious, lazy-ass breeder who wanted to vegetate at home.

Following my decision I couldn’t get a half-day or part-time job because I was bluntly told that those don’t exist any longer. So instead of finding permanent employment I signed up with an agency specialising in temp placements. Immediately I had more money and much more free time than ever before. Most of the holidays I’ve taken in my life was during that 3-4 year period.

I did get a permanent placement subsequent to that, but negotiated to keep my Fridays to myself without a pay-cut, provided I could keep my work up to date. That I did. So much for part-time jobs that don’t exist. Soon after starting the job I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. It was the most crucial point in making a decision about how my life would work in the future. Three children are expensive to maintain financially and 3 children are difficult to properly nurture while being caught in the rat race.

The last company I worked for was about 6 minutes from my home, had a moderate to light work-load (something new for me), with a very accommodating manager, but I just wanted my freedom already. They could have paid me 100-thousand bucks a day and I would not have stayed, because I felt I did not own my time or my life. I wanted my home and my children. I wanted to focus all the energy and time that I had been spending minding my boss’ business rather minding my own.

So finally I made the leap to self-employment which would ultimately take me back where I wanted to be. Home with my children.

I feel I was taken out of my home before I even knew that it was happening and not given a choice to decide whether I wanted to prioritise career or family. And no, it is not a no-brainer that I would chose a career. Someone has to raise the children of this world, someone has to create a home, someone has to prioritise nurturing, it’s essential to life. I would have preferred to construct a life where I formulate the mixture between home and work.

I love working, I love the sense of accomplishment and of course I love the money. I will have my children to raise, to nurture and shape for only a short time in their lives and I never explicitly agreed to make them secondary to my career.

No matter how hard I might be working, how I generate an income or what my intentions might be, there is a stigma that clings to those who don’t follow the norm.  Routine hours at designated locations in registered organisations with recognised titles and specified remuneration receivable at particular times gives your life a perceived purpose. You are productive and industrious and that is good. Telling people that you want to live life on your own terms is considered risky at best, irresponsible at worst.

I don’t regret working in my 20’s or 30’s but making a career at the time must have created the impression that I never wanted to work in my own home. I never agreed to that, and afterward had to fight my way back home. I might be financially worse off for it, but what I gain no job can give me. My life, my time, my children and my home.

The way I see it, I can run a business from home and make it fit my life instead of the other way around. If that fails I can always find a good job, I’ve always managed to talk myself into the job I wanted under terms that suit me and I think I can do that again if I have to. Yet, that aspect of my life will have to take a back seat for now.

With the boom of the work-from-home industry (and scams) it would appear that many other women are taking up the journey back home. It might appear that I have given up on the battle by going back home, but reaching home in one piece is much harder than you might imagine. All the evasive manoeuvres I’ve had to pull and battles I’ve had to withstand have taught me skills that stand me in good stead in my independent life.

As an intelligent, skilled and determined woman I retain the option to make my life exactly how I wish it to be. Women were inserted into the working world in a way that did nothing for the homes and children they left behind. There is nothing that I can do about the past but the future is uncharted territory. Meaningful work and a purposeful life does not have to equal JOB.

WRITING IS PAINFUL

To write is simple, but painful. Think of lifting weights; the concept is an easy one, but difficult to execute and painful to do repeatedly. That is what writing feels like to me. It hurts.

Everything I write, especially on my blogs, originate in my heart and finds its way to my head where my mind must clothe those things in words. I am going to stick to describing them as things, because feelings they are not and they become thoughts only near the end of the whole process

Every word has a place, and though there may be several different ways to explain and describe things, my heart knows which word is the right one and only that word will do. On a good day I wake up with an opening line, a bridge (that’s what I call it) and part of a closing line. On a bad day, it’s many scrambled ideas that push for attention making me lose my train of thought.

No matter how simple or unimpressive my writing might be to whoever takes the time to read it, whatever they might think of my abilities, everything I put into words is who I am. If you could imagine taking a piece of your soul, shaping it into a word and then leaving it open to the scrutiny of the world, you would have an idea of how writing feels to me. Very melodramatic, hey? So what if I say that I cry because often I don’t want to write; I just can’t stand having to rip out another piece of myself and turning it into words? What if I say that every time I wrote a piece about a person, I carried them with me until I started the writing process; and they felt physically heavy? What if I say that to write about them, I had to stop being me for a while and become them a little bit? What if I say that things I could not possibly know are whispered into my heart and turned into words, things that eventually prove themselves true. I would be a nut, probably. So when that thing says: “You didn’t use the word I wanted you to in this sentence”, I just change it to the word it wants to shut it up.

Writing, even as I am doing it now, is painful. But writing has a reward like nothing else I have ever experienced in my life. That painful process of having to express what sits inside me, gives me a sense of accomplishment that nothing else can measure up to. I summit the Himalayas every time I hit that last full stop. And where it would seem that repeatedly taking something out of myself would deplete me, the process grows my inner territory regardless of what I write about or how many words I use. Like weight lifting, it is the tiny tear in the muscle from the strain of the weight that encourages the body to repair and make itself stronger.

So I write and by the time you read this, the pain is over and it’s been replaced by the sweet sensation of victory. And as much as I want everything I write to be favourably received, outside opinion is secondary. Going from a blank page to 500+ words in 24 minutes and getting the words exactly as they should be is the primary goal.

I am Fortunata, and I write because I must.

WHERE I THINK THE BUSINESS WORLD IS HEADING TO

Since things went awry in 2008, the economy has never gone back to where it was before and I don’t think that it ever will. I am no economist and I don’t have a crystal ball that gives macro-economic predictions, but I do consider myself a very perceptive person and this is what I perceive. Business as usual will never be business as usual again.

The economy didn’t just slump for a few years, drive us to panic and eventually rebound, it seems to stubbornly resist being what we knew it to be before the change. I think the era of the office job, the big conglomerate and the career path is drawing to a close. It`s anyone’s guess how long it’s going to take to fade away. I would not advise my children to gear themselves toward a kind of working life that, as far as I am concerned, is not going to be a feature in the future.

Changes in technology and in the way people communicate and how our lifestyles have changed surely has to have an impact on our working lives. Yet, everyone acts as if for some strange reason the traditional JOB will remain impervious.

I see business being much more focused on its connection to the people it serves rather than just the bottom line. There are more options in every field of enterprise than ever before and the little guy sometimes knocks the Goliaths of the business world for a loop. Because people can have contact and do business with practically anyone who they can contact via the net, I believe business will be done between people who LIKE ONE ANOTHER. It will only be limited by how many people you can build a meaningful economic relationship with. Bam! That’s my prediction.

Do you know why that is true? The answer is: Women.

work from home black

More women are going into business for themselves and we women prefer working with people we like.

Add to that the fact that women spend most of the money in this world. We are the shoppers.

Another thing is that we want to have our careers and have our children and home-life and technology gives us the option to mix all these in a way that works for us. I bet that if you tell the average working woman that she can decide her own hours, only come into an office if she NEEDS to and just ensure that her work gets done, she would jump at the option. Women work hard, but the current economic routine does very little for the other job that waits for us once we get home. Give a woman more freedom and I promise that the productivity rates of this world will soar. And no, I am not going to quote any statistics, ever.

My advice to anyone is be self-employed, work for yourself from day one. Never teach yourself to rely on big business to employ and give you the means to survive. Create it yourself. Find those people who you like working with and build something valuable with them to earn a living from. Weaning yourself of the teat of a job and set salary is a fear that keeps most miserable job-slaves tied to their owner/masters.

I am not pointing fingers at those who have jobs or want jobs. I was employed as a bookkeeper for 16 years, so I’m no better. It’s just that nobody honestly modelled what an independent life looks like and that is what I want to do for those who are not suited to the job-life.

In the late 90s I told my husband that I think that permanent employment will become a thing of the past soon. He just looked at me in disbelief and shook his head. Fast forward to 2015 and many jobs that used to be permanent are now contract or performance based. It took about 20 years for this to really become really entrenched, but my prediction was correct. This prediction I feel even more strongly than in the 90s.

My Jobless Life

This blog is about me and the life I have to make work without being in traditional employment. I am a very hard-working Capricorn who takes life extremely seriously but unfortunately I am not cut from the material that makes for a good employee. I am not good at routine, I don’t like being supervised, I feel that my contribution is worth much more than the salary most jobs offer and worst of all I express these things freely to my employers. Therefore, no job for me.

Instead of struggling to shape employment to fit me I decided in 2009 to strike out on my own. I knew that it would not be easy living a life where I would be responsible for generating my own income and making every decision related to how it would happen and then executing those decisions. I never knew it would be as hard as it has been and I didn’t realise that owning my life could feel as good as it does.

I’ve been the owner of a domestic service, a laundry and an art shop and the first 2 businesses I closed because my heart was not in it and the last went bust, much to my great disappointment. Now finally, after so much learning and failure I have found the work that I believe I was born to do. Writing.

I have yet to get my writing to the point where I get paid as much money for doing it as I would like and this blog treks my journey to that point. Unlike most writers I don’t just want to have a successful book or writing career, I am establishing an online publishing company. Very daunting, because I am new to writing and I am not the most tech-savvy person that you will meet.

Often I am broke, and sometimes I have to do work that has nothing to do with being a writer to ensure that I keep body and soul together. But I love the freedom and I love having the time to actually live my life.

So here’s to My Jobless Life!

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