Monday, August 28, 2006


"I'm thinking what you really need, BPG, is a day job that pays a salary"

Kodeureum's comment yesterday has been on my mind for a long, long time. Like at least the past 5 years. And I feel this constant guilt that I am not working like the vast majority of the world's adult population are. The guilt doesn't help though, it just makes the depression worse. So in an effort to defend myself, here are some reasons I'm not in somebody else's employ:

  • Since the age of 21 I have always been either self-employed or working on a commission-only basis (which is pretty much self-employed). This has 2 big consequences: 1) I've always been in charge of my own working hours and therefore the idea of compulsory 9-to-5 stuff seems like a prison sentence. 2) I've always been in a situation where there is unlimited monthly earning potential on the upside, and a direct correlation between effort expended and financial reward. Therefore the idea of working for a set (and probably measly) amount, regardless of how much work you put in, seems ludicrous.
  • The reason I can no longer work in a commission-only environment is because I can no longer live as a fake person. I was good at sales and marketing, but had to continually put this false persona on at all times, neccesitated by being in the conservative financial sector (the only area I am qualified in) where BiPolar dudes are just an absolute No-Go.
  • Being BiPolar I often get days where the depression hits so bad that I can't get out of bed (this without working in a prison sentence job). In a fixed hour job I would fall foul of my employers within the first few months.
  • I have zero passion for the financial world. (the only area I am qualified in). No, less than zero passion...a type of hate. Nothing that I am passionate about pays money. Philosophy is one passion that I tried to make a career out of, but down here in South Africa the only career opportunity for a philosophy graduate is to lecture other philosophy graduates. Being white, older than 30, and male, there is not a snowball's chance in hell that I would qualify for a lecturing post given our country's radical affirmative action policies.
  • Having spent some time off the career conveyor-belt system, I can see how cheated the world's career workers are actually getting. Corporations are  expecting more and more of their employees, Chronic over-time is the norm , and basically , if you want to get anywhere, you're required to sell your soul to the Almighty Corporation. LIVE. CONSUME. BE SILENT. DIE. Once you've actually seen how the working population is unbeknowlingly being cheated out of life it's difficult to go along with it. And ignorance, unfortunately, is like virginity - once you've lost it, you can never get it back.
In all honesty, probably the biggest reason that I've not got a job in the past 5 years is that, after selling my business, I was in the fortunate position that I didn't have to. But that has finally ended - no more cash left.

Which means that if my web business doesn't start improving pretty quickly, Kodeureum will be right and I will need to get a job. Either that or sell the house. In reality, selling the house is a more likely outcome because deep down I am afraid that if i was trapped in a passionless prison sentence for the bulk of the rest of my life, just so that I could justify my  place on earth, I would  rather end up joining my ancestors.

Spoilt brat? Maybe. Person with a genuine disability?



  1. man i absolutely revere your blog.
    i so know what you mean. doing 9-5 and being suked into the whle corporate bullshit will do us NO good. and in all honesty, how much more crap ddo we need?

    i have had this job now since january. it's the most flexible thing you'll ever hear of. even so, i still missed about 2 months (and they didn't fire me!)
    downside is - paycheck is HARDLY good enough for me to pay my bills. but then again, i don't work too many hours. i love my job.

    maybe if you're willing to lower your lifestyle... not necessarily sell the house but.. just go look for something that will give you less than 100 grand a year. is this a load of bull? just my way of seeing things anyway.

  2. Well, I didn't really mean for my comment to be taken quite (in italics) so seriously. Having said that and after reading your post I can certainly understand where you're coming from. Me, I'm kind of the obverse of the coin. Being a highschool dropout with a BFA in painting, sculpture and printmaking, I didn't land a salaried job I was actually qualified for until last summer. That's when I got my TESL certificate after teaching EFL for about eight years. Before that I was a cook with no license, a baker with no papers, a theatre technician with no theatre school, an actor with no auditions, a playwright with no - well, you get the picture. I did immensely enjoy working as a pastry cook when I waas twenty, as the regularity of a productive menial job has its own certain zen. I discovered that as a muffin baker when I was sixteen.

    By no means am I encouraging you to keep a seat warm in a cubicle in somebody else's office. You've been a soldier. You must have some practical physical skills that could get you out of the house on a dreary morning, if there are any in South Africa, and exercising your body while freeing your mind in the fresh air. My brother does landscaping to cover the costs of his animation projects. Perhaps you could find something similar.

  3. i do it. i don't like it. but i need a paycheck. : ( that's why I'm doing more of my hobby to offset it.

  4. I feel guilty for being on disability and not working, especially on the rare occasions when I have a good day. But I'm also aware of my limitations and how badly my illnesses effect me, so I try to use that to balance out the guilt.

    Hopefully your web business will improve. For now, just focus your attention on that and ways to make it happen. I don't think it's being spoiled to know what your limitations are, I think it's a positive.


  5. I have to admit that when I saw the photo posted of you on your couch with the dog, I wondered what your wife must be thinking. Is she out doing the 9 to 5? Never mind how you cope - how does she cope?

  6. Since I came back from an exciting gig photographing a wedding, my job at a grocery store has seemed stifling to the point of being unbearable. But it's got a lot going for it, as it's a co-op and I just received a sweet dividend. Anyway, I trust you've got the skillz to pay the billz.


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