A World Without Work

What would you do if you didn’t have to work anymore? Pretend that you had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life and the concept of a job or work didn’t exist. What could you accomplish in all those hours that you normally spend behind a desk? How would it change your life? My guess is that you would be happier, less stressed out, and have better relationships with those closest to you.

One of my many former cubes--Is this where I should be spending the majority of my life?

If I didn’t have to work, I would stop making excuses because I was too tired or stressed after a long day; I would do more. I would write, call or visit more friends and family, travel the world, take up a sport or hobby, learn a language, read more, take a class, exercise more and tons of other things. Some might argue that you can work and do all these, but you definitely don’t have time for everything you want to do, no matter how ambitious you are. How can you live and fully enjoy your life if you’re working all the time?  Sure work can be fulfilling and in some cases you’re working toward a greater good, but what about your own good?

Whenever people look down on others who don’t have jobs for whatever reason, I secretly think that maybe they’re envious. People are considered ‘bums’ or ‘housewives’ if they don’t work, and others with jobs like to let them know that this is unacceptable. But maybe the reason we have this reaction is because we’re actually a little jealous.

While I was interning at a high tech PR agency in Washington, D.C., I’ll never forget what my coworker said to me. A group of us were meeting to go over a project and after a long discussion, my coworker ended the meeting with, ‘I can’t wait to be a stay at home mom.’ To my surprise, another woman chimed in and agreed that once she got married and started having kids, she would kiss the corporate world goodbye.

Surprised by their comments, I completely judged them at first and thought ‘Why do these smart women with great jobs want to stay at home instead of work and make something of themselves?’ But the more I thought about what they confessed, I found myself becoming a little jealous. It was then I realized that I wanted that for myself too, I just didn’t want to admit it.

I’ve always been career-oriented and having a stable job that allows me to be independent is something I really value. But I do often think about what I’m missing out on by working all the time.

In my heart I know I want a career because I do believe that it will fulfill me and make me happy on some level. But I also can’t help but wonder about doing the complete opposite. It’s fun to think about what you could be doing with all those hours that you spend at work. You’d have more time to live your life and appreciate all the things and people in it.

My D.C. coworkers weren’t crazy, they were just honest with themselves. The thought is tempting; escape all the stresses and demands of the workforce and retreat to your life.

One thought to “A World Without Work”

  1. I left the business world to stay at home with kids, and now my life is busier than ever. Yes, I have flexibility, which is great, but the hours fill quickly with volunteer work, caring for the neighbor’s kids, tutoring at school, taking the Girl Scouts camping, helping my disabled mother, house and yard maintenance, and more. When working I could justify paying the dry cleaner, plumber, landscaper, etc. Now I do all the ironing, replacing of garbage disposals, tree trimming, lawn mowing, etc. When I had an 8 to 5 job at least I had a whole hour for lunch, and down time where I could read on the bus. Now I rarely sit down, and I seem to eat on the fly. Even as I type this, I am standing, just checking email before a run to the hardware store and hopes to cross of the 15 things on today’s to-do list. I think my days are actually longer now than when I worked in an office and had a more predictable schedule. The difference is that I control my own schedule, and the satisfaction from volunteering is worth more than a paycheck. I suspect that when you step away from the desk, your life will be even more full, too! Enjoy your lunch hours, open evenings, uninterrupted night’s sleep, and free weekends now! It all changes once kids enter the picture. 🙂

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