Greetings, unjobbers! Though it’s been many moons since my last post, I want you to know that I have not given up on this site. I’m here, I’m still (miraculously!) job-free, and I will make new posts whenever I can.
I do want to tell you what happened to derail my participation for so many months, though, aside from some health struggles.
Very soon after I started this blog in a burst of inspiration in June 2010, I received some harshly worded e-mail in which my motives were called into question, and I was rudely maligned. I was first taken to task for posting my old essays here, and then righteously accused of starting this blog solely out of an interest in making money.
This baffled and disheartened me, and I did not take it well. For many months it pretty much smothered my fledgling hopes for rebuilding this project. My critic probably did not know that I had tried for years to figure out a way to live outside the formal money economy as much as possible, and discovered to my dismay that while I had a certain degree of latitude to minimize my participation in it, I would never be able to “drop out” entirely. I took the criticism to heart, and it got to me. Part of the problem was that I was still attempting to rebuild my life and regain a sense of hope after an unwanted divorce that left me feeling painfully alone and wiped me out financially, so I was quite fragile and totally unprepared to cope with such naysayers right out of the gate.
Normally, I’d let these things roll right off my back. But that takes a certain degree of resilience, which happened to be in very short supply for me at the time. Social support for me and the original spirit of whywork.org has also been in very short supply, as the old forum is mostly dead, and I have sadly lost touch with most of the people who were around in the early days of the site. So I retreated.
Now, after some months away and some building of fresh new social connections, I feel stronger and more hopeful. (And I am prepared to delete all rude e-mails hereafter, without a second thought.)
But just in case there’s anyone out there who’s wondering, let me clarify: Radical Un-Jobbing (and its old incarnation, Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery) has always been a labour of love, and even a calling for me. I have never made a dime from it, and I have never approached it with personal gain in mind. (I’m a writer and introvert who relishes solitude and instinctively avoids the limelight; the thought of my work bringing me fame and riches actually makes me feel anxious, not inspired.)
Keep in mind that I am not opposed to being paid for my work, and I have gladly done other kinds of freelance writing as a business. However, my work with Radical Un-Jobbing is an offering – to you, the reader, as well as to the Old Ones, the community, and the land that supports me. I have taken a vow to operate with full integrity, and made a commitment to always keep my approach ethical and transparent. I will never put money over honour. Nor will I refuse money if it is offered, as I have learned through experience that it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – to survive outside the money economy. If any money ever does come to me (through any source – donations, royalties, gifts, a digital “tip jar,” or whatever) as a direct result of my work with Radical Un-Jobbing, I will:
1) Never mistake any currency I might receive for real wealth. Real wealth, as I define it, consists of: healthy soil, nutritious food, clean air and water, intact forests, loving relationships, interdependent community networks with strong ties to the land, good health, quality tools, shelter, wisdom, respect, a sense of home and belonging, and useful skills.
2) Use it frugally, honorably and responsibly, in ways that allow any benefits I personally obtain to ultimately be used in service of building real wealth (as defined above) and enhancing the community that supports me.
Make of that what you will.
My thinking has changed a great deal over the years since I started whywork.org, and you will see that reflected in my new writings. For one thing, I’m in my early forties now; losses have seasoned me and altered my perspective, and to a certain extent I’ve lost the smug, sassy, thumb-my-nose-at-the-world tone that can be found in my early writings. You will see far fewer buzzwords here, and a lot more introspective and heartfelt reflections inspired by my heightened sense of ecological awareness.
And look out, nay-sayers, ‘cause I’m back. Say what you will, but you will NOT keep me down this time.