We often continue the mores and lifestyles that we see around us. Thus most people take for granted that we need to work from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. We may even expect to work like this until we are quite old.
The question of living in an alternative manner does not even come up. As this lifestyle is deeply rooted into the wold in which we live. Everyone seems to work, and there are many moral and cultural aspects to this. As working part time is not seen as a good thing for many.
Particularly as work seems to be so connected to identity. As what we do is positioned to correlate with our moral worth. The first question we ask people when trying to get to know them is often “what do you do?” Of course the answer to this question tells us nothing about the person. As if their answer is I enter data into a computer we have learned nothing. As we do not know their hobbies, ambitions, values, perspectives, personality etc.
There is a famous Jewish saying that “Ivan works hard all week so that he can drink on Sunday.” This is supposed to make fun of him for wasting his life. Drinking away his hard earned money, just to work another week for alcohol money. It is almost as if Ivan in this story is a drug addict always looking for a high, willing to work extremely hard and do belittling jobs just to satisfy a drug addiction.
Other stories point out the cyclical situation work plays. In which we lease a car to get to work and then have to continue working to make our car payments. This is quite interesting as we often do not appreciate these aspects of work. Or consider these additional expenses as work related. Thus in his book “your money or your life,” it is pointed out that car payments, time getting ready for work etc should be adjusted into your hourly pay amount to know your true hourly pay.
Such stories point out the costs and time that is wasted on working even outside of what we perceive as work. Thus thinking about work after hours (which many people do) continues our amount of work we do from 40 hours to 40 hours + the thought time. In fact some lawyers even charge for such time 🙂.
Thus I think it is important to think about alternatives to work. To think about whether working is considered worthwhile living, or is simply wasting away our time here on earth.
This opens up possibilities of living off the grid, in RV’s. Working part time, from home, or in an industry that pays us to do worthwhile things. It also raises many questions and challenges us to question the norm, our mores, and our understanding about identity.