A friend of mine posted on Facebook this story of a guy who lost it all in a matter of days. He went to work like any other day but this day he didn’t even make it into the building before he was fired. Oh and his apartment was owned by his company and he’d need to vacate it by noon two days after losing his job. This of course was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when everyone is social distancing and unemployment was also rapidly spreading. The guy’s problems were compounded by the fact he worked in a dying industry where it would be a challenge to secure another similar job. It only gets worse from there for him though. See despite having laws against it employers still are unlikely to hire someone in their 50s, who by all accounts now is homeless. As he puts it, he became unemployed and homeless in less than 30 minutes.
His story was published i n the New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/business/newspaper-editor-gannett-homeless-blogger.html?smid=fb-share&fbclid=IwAR2vVhLGIB6pC_2ySIWCsYm9JfPTRisYyyBPOGncf1DksFCjwx65ljQHj4w
The other interesting aspect about this story is my friend’s comments he posted when sharing this story. He said he himself had a boring unfulfilling job but at least it was secure . . . for now. He was thankful, as well he should be. Also, he mentioned he was thankful he hadn’t stayed in a journalism major when he was in school and stuck with Finance instead.
We always think these types of things won’t happen to us. Yet we hear these kinds of stories all the time happening to other people. We pray and hope it won’t happen to us and most of the time we go about our day pretending all is well. We will be alright. We’ll find another job. We have options, connections, savings, and people who will help us only to find out when it happens we don’t have what we thought and certainly not as much as we need. Our jobs may be miserable, boring and unfulfilling but at least we have one. Don’t rock the boat and maybe it will last a while, even though we don’t like it.
So here’s a guy who chose something in school that he loved or at least really liked to do. He built a life doing what we teach our children to do; find something you love to do in life and get paid for it. Now he’s out of a job and his home at an age and time where he will struggle finding another. Then there’s my friend who is comfortable in life but says his job is boring and unfulfilling yet it’s there (for now). He too could end up like the editor with no job one day, yet for now the risk is lower. He would not however have chosen what he does for a living if all things had been equal. Sometimes we just get lucky like that right?
When it comes to living naturally given these two situations which one is it? Is it the guy who followed what he wanted to do in life but it didn’t turn out well? Or is it the guy who took the “safer” route and while not fulfilled he at least has a home and income for now? Given both these circumstances is it even possible to live natural or is that all just some kind of bs we like to tell ourselves; that is similar to saying our bosses would never get rid of us on an otherwise normal Wednesday?
The truth is there is no such thing as job security. Whether the industry we are in is dying or not, every single day corproations lay off people for a variety of reasons, the pandemic of COVID-19 is just the latest reason. They do what they need for the bottom line profits and the employee is sacrificed in one too many of those scenarios. If you’re an older worker then you also have the increased challenge of being seen as outdated, overpaid and over-qualified for many other positions making you even more susceptible to being let go. The hard truth is, I don’t believe we can live natural in these types of situations because the situations themselves are unnatural.
Yes, the lady that writes this blog teaching and supporting you in living natural just said when it comes to working like most of us do, we can’t live natural there. How can we when we are selling our souls, living unfulfilled lives, working until we drop and at constant threat for all that going away and taking our paycheck with it? In all the ways I have tried to figure it out I lack a way to live natural against the odds all of us have stacked against us when we go into work every day. With over 75% of us reporting we dislike our jobs, it is unlikely you reading this cannot relate or are not worried too when your job will be gone. Hate it or not we all like to live in our homes, pay our bills and have food in our fridge so we put up with a lot that we otherwise would not.
The only 100% way to eliminate the risk of corporate bueracracy and impact to your personal life and achieve natural living in this area is to not work in that space. I get that is highly unrealistic and impracticle, but it is indeed the reason most of us countdown the days until we can retire. We all know deep inside what we’re doing for work doesn’t feed our soul, it simply pays our bills. It is a necessary evil we trade our time for money on while foregoing our talent, creativity and inspiration. Being creative, talented and inspiring are delightful and we sure wish we could make money from them alone but they usually don’t fit when it comes to earning our way in this world.
Another way many have found to at least offset the risk is by working second jobs, having a side hustle or even a small business. It doesn’t eliminate the risk but it makes it more tolerable because we have an outlet for our energy and we can earn a little to help us out. The problem we is give even more of our time to these endeavors and know full well we cannot live on these incomes alone. It is hoped some of them may grow into things that can support us more fully but there’s a long road to make that happen when you also work full time. This however, gives us some semblence of control in our life and the ability to increase our means to live naturally. Over 4 million of us work this way juggling multiple things to earn pay.
The risk is there for all of us every day and it’s not going away. Waiting until we are old enough and have enough saved to retire doesn’t seem aligned to practicing living natural now and doesn’t reduce this risk today. Working until we have nothing left of our time also doesn’t align to daily living natural principles. Both will get us there over time maybe but what about now?
What about today? Is living natural just a pipe dream when it comes to how we earn money? There may not be a perfect answer to this question but I’d like to propose something that may help move the needle.
I believe living natural is a mindset. It is a way of thinking that can be applied to every area of our life, even the areas we don’t have the controls, like work. We may still be impacted by the risks of corporate behaviors and I believe there is no avoiding that, but we reduce the risk by how we prepare ourselves. We may be in the most unfulfilling, toxic work enviornment you have ever known but there is still something we can do there that puts us in a better position. Living natural in these types of situations where there is no security and unhealthy insecurity and toxicity looks like this:
Getting rid of debt
Staying out of debt
Becoming concious of our triggers in how we use money to soothe our feelings
Living modestly and simply
Living below our means
Removing and reducing toxic products, habits, relationships & situations where we do have controls
Investing in savings for our future and our dreams
Living our own life without the comparisons of what others have or do with their money
Reviving our dreams and finding ways to use our talent to earn money
Building your reputation on integrity and honesty (especially if you’re in a small business for yourself)
Allowing creativity to lead us in some area of our life
Investing in ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually
Listening to our heart, knowing and doing what is right for us
It might mean we never get rid of the entire risk of working in a corproate space but it gives us hope that is more tangible than doing nothing and staying uncertain. It most importantly gives us space to make a plan that works for us while being empowering to be who we are and live in a way that it is right for us. While not glamorous or social media timeline worthy, these are things we can do every day to build the life we want before we are old, burned out, laid off, fired, restructured, played in an evil corproate game or just plain ready for retirment.
This is where we get to insert natural living in the places where it is otherwise impossible. This is where we get to control our destiny and what no one can take from us ultimately. It gives us more of a chance than just putting up with it, waiting for the envitable to happen too.
There are a million ways to learn to live leaner and save more that any of us can apply to our situations. What I encourage you to do is see those things as not punishment or sacrifice because some of them especially when you are trying to get out of debt seem very challenging. While hard, they are all leading to something many of us lack today… freedom. When we are debt free we have more freedom because we can make choices directly impacting our life, like what type of job we want or choose to do. We are better positioned for when bad things like layoffs happen. That freedom gives us the ability to live a little more naturally every day, even when we are in situations that are less than ideal. It also gives us the position to reclaim more of our dreams in ways we can use our creativity, talent and inspiration to do work that truly fits us and does gives us that security as well as fulfillment.
Right now, in this moment, are you more like the guy that lost it all or the guy who is just doing what he needs to get to retirment? Are you happy, fulfilled, content, satisfied or even remotely aware of how you feel? Do you think it doesn’t matter because it’s only time you’re giving away?
I encourage you to not wait until it happens or you get to retirement to live a fulfilling natural life. Don’t sacrifice all the time you work and end up with wondering where your life went.
Start with the free Lifestyle & Wellness Questionnaire and let’s see what it could mean for you: https://forms.gle/a72sQuDN6Noy3j2V9