It’s amazing what a week’s worth of real sleep will do for you. I took four days off and, oh-my-God was it good for the soul. I puttered a little; I visited old friends. I discovered what it was like to get a full night’s sleep.
Nothing major happened over the week, and yet I came back refreshed and renewed. My perspective shifted.
As I’ve continued to flesh out plans for 2019 (and yes, I’m doing that AND bearing in mind that life happens while we’re making other plans), I have really been digging into what I want.
I want freedom.
But I wonder if I’m a little afraid of it, too. Freedom requires a bit of discipline.
Freedom for me means being able to forge my own life: choose my activities, choose my schedule. It means creating value that isn’t necessarily for someone else’s profit. It means setting my own priorities and accomplishing my goals. It means having enough energy to do the things *I* feel are important.
But the other side of freedom also means that a hospital stay or an Emergency Room visit or a diagnosis or my biologics won’t bankrupt me.
Right now, my employment adds to Side #2 while taking away from Side #1.
I’ve been thinking, too, about power dynamics in relationships to things. As an employee for a company, that company levies power over the employed. Everything is “at will,” at least in Mississippi: salary, hours, benefits. They can be lessened or erased at any point for nearly any reason.
As my mind meanders, as it’s wont to do, I’ve tumbled across the idea that employees actually sell their time to their employer. We sell hours for a semi-fixed rate, benefits, maybe a 401k. Maybe even a decent work environment.
We choose to sell our hours that way. If we find a someone else who wants to buy our time and offers more value, then perhaps we choose another employer.
At first glance, it would appear that the employer levies power over the employed. The company can experience “a reduction in force” (i.e., a forced layoff), flat-out fire you for nearly any reason (especially in at-will states like the great state of Mississippi), can make health benefits more expensive, remove a 401k matching, paid holidays, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Sure. Power. They have it, right?
But if we choose to work from the perspective that we are in fact choosing to work there, that we are selling our hours for a certain amount of freedom—no matter how we define it—we can choose to stay or we can choose to go. Maybe we can negotiate changes that better support us. Maybe we can’t.
But the truth is, we aren’t tied to one employer, even though it might appear that way. We can change employers; we can change fields or careers or locations.
But change can be hard, and we must be willing to measure our value. We must be willing to choose what’s best for us.
I’ve recently made some adjustments to my work schedule that seem to be working for me. So, for now, at least, I receive enough value for my time, and so I choose to stay.
What are the hours of your life worth? Are your hours valued highly enough for you to stay where you are?
Weird Random Shit
Not so much weird and random shit so much as a bucketful of awesome.
Here’s a video of the Shirtless Violinist playing a cover of the Game of Thrones theme song:
(He also has a ton of other videos which are just as fantastic. Dude’s a violin rock-star.)