Sunday, January 23, 2011


Does unjobbing lead to freedom?
The talk around my home of late has been almost entirely about how to initiate and sustain one's life without recourse to employment.  This doesn't translate to self-employment, as is commonly suspected.  It does equal-out to a fancy new term I've recently become familiar with: unjobbing.

Essentially, by unjobbing, a person is taking the initiative to motivate their own income through multi-streaming, and a constant evolution of creative efforts as they align with personal values.  Perhaps one day you go out and wash windows, and another day you accept cash to do clean-up at a construction site.  And in the meanwhile, you're plugging away at that article for a local publication while querying an editor for yet another spot in a different press.  It doesn't really matter so long as you're investing your time and effort into things that make a return on your terms, and that keep in step with your values.

The essential difference between unjobbing and self-employment, as I've been able to figure out, is that self-employment is (generally) a single-focus, self-styled business that doesn't necessarily rely on creativity so much as networking and resource savvy, and takes more time from you than it can reasonably give back to you.

This is not to decry self-employment.  Not by any means.  I, personally, would much prefer self-employment to the job I presently do.  On the other hand, I would much prefer living by my wits and creativity.  However, since I'm in a job, and I'm not unjobbing, I'm starting to question my creativity.  As for my wits: they've always been a question.


justsomename said...

This sounds like a way of life that would take an enormous amount of additional energy investment and a lot of really good connections.

Kane Augustus said...


Perhaps. But not necessarily.

In any case, before anyone gets involved in this kind of living, they really ought to consciously examine their values. I don't just mean the everyday, run-of-the-mill values (e.g., honesty, loyalty, et al.). I mean values that you actively act to keep (e.g., industriousness, creativity, self-reliance).

But really, what unjobbing seems to be about is doing the work that your values drive you to, and then reinforcing those values by existing in such a way as keeps those values alive.

By educating to take up a position at a job that someone else has made a spot for (e.g., a business owner), and then subordinating yourself to their interests, and (as is most commonly expected and practiced) telling yourself that it's just the way life is... Well, I think that's just pitiful. Voluntarily enslaving oneself to a self-appointed master (a.k.a. a job owner) really has very little difference from the historical periods of slavery we loathe. Only, when the pittance alotted for voluntarily suspending your actual values really doesn't compensate for the loss of personal integrity lost every time you act in a way that is contrary to your actual values.

That's just my take. You can leave it if you like. And yes, I do think part of me is dying the longer I allow myself to be manipulated by the social constructs that so "benignly" enslave me.

Anonymous said...

I see this a lot actually. Where I live there are guys who will cut wood so they can do something they like that makes them money when they want to be working (ie.: not the summer). If they don't sell the wood they just keep it for themselves. I like the subtraction system where you eliminate expenses (like burn wood you cut yourself for heat) and then figure out how to make enough to cover the shortfall. I find things that help a person do this are to eliminate debt and monthly payments so you have more flexibility in your budget. Also, having a passion that fills your life so you don't spend money on making your life less boring can help. It means that if you have to do some work for pay you don't mind because it contributes to something you are passionate about. Those are my thoughts anyways.

Imogen Skye said...

Too many people don't realise that when they are making a living, the living they are making is someone else's, not their own.

I want to make (specifically) MY living. When or if it becomes necessary to include other people to accomplish my goals, I have no desire or need to employ anyone. I want to work cooperatively with others so that we are all directly benefiting from our own productivity.