Some Australians (those as old as me), will be able to remember ‘Kingswood Country’ – a sitcom that ran for a few seasons and was quite popular.
It was about a family – the father was called Ted. Ted was a fairly crass and insensitive character. When Ted had a difficulty with something he often voiced the view, “Somebody ought to blow up [whatever he was having a difficulty with]”.
[Funniest line I remember from the show. Ted’s wife Thelma was sick with a cold. When Ted gets up in the morning a house guest enquires, “And how’s Thelma feel this morning Ted?” Ted’s reply, “Uh, soft and rubbery as usual”.]

This is how I’m feeling at the moment, “Somebody ought to blow up full time work!”!

For the last year I’ve been working both a full-time and a part-time job. This hasn’t lead to any major disasters or had a terribly negative impact – but it is a long way from what I would prefer. I would have like to spend much more time exploring qi gong, going for walks, spending time with my partner, preparing nice meals . . . the list is long.

Most people I know value the time they spend with their family and loved ones. Most people I know spend most of their time away from those they love, doing what they don’t particularly enjoy.

There are other costs too: Time spent commuting, the price of clothes, possibly eating not as well as at home.

Full-time work just seems like a rotten way to organise our lives.

A Sign of Hope
The ‘downshifting’ phenomenon seems to mean that many people are deciding that full-time work and other aspects of a consumerist lifestyle are not how they want to live. A survey of this downshifting phenomenon in Australia found that in a five year period 25% of people had voluntarily reduced their lifestyle (this excluded those who had retired or returned to study). This amounts to a huge social movement – which has (for the large part) been resolutely ignored by the media and politicians.

What to do?

Trade-offs

In Australia (where the price of renting and buying a house is very high) most people work full-time to buy a house. (And as the affordability of housing continues to decline it will increasingly mean both partners working full time.)

It’s likely that giving up full-time work means giving up hopes of owning a house – in a major metropolitan centre anyway.

Downshifting

Another kind of trade-off is reducing your lifestyle to a lower income. Usually this means getting rid of the car. (This is very difficult to do with young children I think; especially in developer built suburbia where shops and services usually aren’t within walking distance.) Other things it can mean: changing the kind of entertainment to spending time with people at homes and in public rather than going out to eat or be entertained. Making and taking food places instead of buying it at a destination. Making and taking lunch to work. Walking each day instead of a gym membership. Buying and cooking ingredients instead of heating pre-packaged food.

Innovation

Working from home
Some kinds of work can be done from home. Even if you spend as much time working you will stay save the time commuting and perhaps be able to eat lunch with friends and family. This does require being able to set boundaries and not work all the time (if you like others to maintain boundaries for you then you may end up working more hours than you did going out to work.)

Your own business
If you have the ability to sell then you have an advantage. Any one with their own business needs to sell. This means either finding other people’s stuff to sell or making your own stuff to sell.
At the moment it is relatively cheap, quick and easy to see if you could have your own business. The costs of entry for an online business are tiny compared to bricks and mortar businesses. This depends on the kind of business – you can’t do a massage online. If it is a hands-on business you can usually start trying it out with friends – be sure to ask for an honest answer about how much they would pay (figure out a way for them to do it anonymously – such as giving them a self-addressed envelope with a feedback form – if you need to).
If you want to try your own business, make sure you plan one that can be done part-time. Think about if you are prepared to be on call a lot to build clientele in the early days. Think about how you will cut this back as you go. Think about if the business could involve you working enjoyably together with those you love.

Not working = doing what you love
Can you find someone to pay you to do what you love (an employer or a customer)? If so then this can do away with a lot of the unpleasantness of full-time work.

These are my thoughts. What are your thoughts on full-time work? A necessary evil? A valuable necessity? I’d like to hear how you have responded to full-time work? Avoided it? Embraced it? Found ways to cope with it? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.


Would you like to feel less stressed?
Could you do with more joy in your life?

The answer is living authentically. Buy the book or sign up for the course now from my Living Authentically website.

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12 Comments to “Fulltime Work Should Be Abolished”

  1. Mostly I’ve managed to avoid full-time work. When I did work full-time it was mostly in a job that I loved. In fact then I was working more like 60 hours a week and enjoying it thoroughly. Keeping my lifestyle simple was the big key. I realized early on I like to choose how I spend my time.

  2. Marie says:

    Hey, Evan –

    Through the wonder of an economic downturn, I was forced to not work as much (got laid off) . . . my lifestyle diminished as a result . . . I lost my house, had to sell my furniture to buy groceries, had to couch surf . . . had to work at awful miniminum-wage jobs just so I could put food on the table.

    But, the benefit is that I don’t have to work as hard and make as many sacrifices in order to maintain “that” lifestyle. I live very simply now . . .

    I do work many hours . . but, it is because I find the work to be healing . . . I am working towards being totally self-employed doing something I love to do. I can afford to make that transition because I was “forced” into simple living.

    I’m glad that the universe shifted my life — I don’t think I would have ever done it on my own!

    – Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

  3. Evan says:

    Hi Jean. Your comment triggered a couple of questions for me: Did luck play a role in being able to do this? Was it hard work to develop that kind of lifestyle. I’d like to know more, if you would like to say. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Chris Edgar says:

    Hi Evan — it probably depends on the person, but for me I eventually realized that having to be in a specific physical location for (at a bare minimum) 8 hours per day was not an efficient use of my talents. When there was a lull in the job, I did meaningless things like reading the news and surfing the web. Doing something more entrepreneurial is great for me because there are no moments when my creativity can’t be put to use — that’s the upside, at least, of always having more stuff to do. 🙂

  5. Evan says:

    Hi Chris, I’m sure it does depend on the person. I was probably too absolutist in this post. I have had times in the midst of a project I love where I’ve been working 10-12 hour days and loving every minute. I couldn’t do this as a lifestyle though. Thanks for your comment Chris.

  6. Barbara says:

    Hi Evan,

    The less than reverent side of me just couldn’t resist giving you her answer. I think it was only the combination of full time work with part time work and other energizer bunny activity to fill in all other waking hours and maybe even past waking hours, that kept this same part of me out of major trouble, you know jail or gutters somewhere!

    Now, however, I’ve taken the time, some of the time forced on me, to look at all the questions you’ve asked with a much more serious attitude. I do have a variety of responses, some from the reflection, some from actual experience, some from what I actually wanted and didn’t have. Too long to tell you half of them here!

    Instead, my overall answer, as of today is: Fulltime work, I believe is, and will continue to be, a necessary boundary and definition for many people, not outer imposed, but what an indivual may really need, possibly know they need, possibly not. They may even be the people creating an outer circle and perimeter of protection for those others that are drawn to make much different choices in order to make a living and in turn make living work for them and others.

    Possibly both groups giving equally? I guess the trick is to know where one feels they belong. Sometimes shifting from one to another, or choosing exclusively one or the other?

    Barbara

  7. Evan says:

    Hi Barbara, you are welcome to do a guest post where you go into all the responses you have if you would like. For me this is a big issue – one of the big ways we organise our lives.

    I really like your thought about full time work as protection – I hadn’t thought of this. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Adelaide says:

    Thinking about Barbara’s protection words:

    Yes, fulltime work can set a boundary.

    It is a bit like vaccination and “herd immunity” in that respect.

    Evan, I also liked the idea about a feedback envelope. Small businesses really do struggle to get feedback in the way a doctor’s consultancy or a car dealership (to think of 2 relatable examples) do.

  9. Evan says:

    Hi Adelaide, glad you like the idea of the feedback envelope. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Barbara says:

    Adelaide

    I was really thinking more about what all of us would do without the people willing to work in professions/trades/services which require continuity. Without growers of food there’d be nothing in the grocery store, if there were not employees to stock or man the store, where would you get bread at 10:00 pm, riding the round the clock bus to get there, or driving, making a stop at the gas station when you noticed the fuel gauge reading empty, maybe once home you burned yourself on the toaster using the just purchased bread and needed medical attention, reaching an emergency phone operator, who dispatches an ambulance driver to take you to the hospital and be treated by a multitude of staff members.

    All those people with regular full-time jobs you’d be in contact with, and maybe in great need of, in a one hour span only. It’s difficult to judge full-time work as something not protective, when I can see I’d not be living in any way close to what I might desire or need without the greater majority being 9-5 folks, no matter how much I could simplify my life, use less or less service. I’d hate to think some of these services, and therefore jobs and people doing them, did not exist, nor can I diminish their significance in number alone.

    Then there’s the other side. For those on the road less traveled, artist/entrepenuer, for example, do you think all the people purchasing his art are also entrepenurial, or some buyers part of the full-time work world? So the consumer of the products and services of these ventures besides a full-time work member. Think about an art gallery. Who puts up the art? Who advertised the showing? Who provides the security? Who cleaned the floors? That is more the type of protection I am refering to in a big picture way. The majority creates this container, an outer boundary, so those on an alternate track can do what they do. Unless the artist doesn’t need someplace to show his art that’s for sale or eat…

    There is of course the real exception. A one in a million person, completely self-sufficient, no need of anything at anytime for any reason from anyone. If there even is one in every million.

  11. Nacie Carson says:

    Working from home is one of the best things I’ve ever endeavored to do. Freelancing writing is an amazing job I can do and be paid for while I expand my knowledge of and brand for personal development, and I am so grateful that things have worked out to give me this opportunity. The only problem with my full-time work being abolished and being home 24/7 is you get a little starved to just be out in the hustle and bustle of the world. Not necessarily with friends, but just out in public observing people and life.

  12. Evan says:

    Hi Nacie, I can understand the problem of isolation. Although at the moment a little less out and about in my life would be great. Thanks for your comment.

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