Because I have a lot more time on my hands than most I tend to do a lot of thinking. The other day I realized just how many things in a person’s life are centered around their job.
Then I realized that all of this means that we, as a society, pay to work.
Don’t believe me?
Where do you live?
I live on Florida’s Space Coast. It’s called the space coast because this is where we keep all the space stuff. Do you know what is was called for the larger part of its history? Mosquito. This entire area was created to house the people who came here to work for NASA. The only way they got people to want to move to an area formerly named for the insect that made the area nearly uninhabitable was by putting a job here.
This is a pretty standard practice too. Build a factory, mine, steel mill, port, rail station, etc…then build houses to get people to come work for you. Just like they did with slaves on plantations.
I’m going to bet where you work played a big part in where you live too. In fact, I’m going to bet it’s the number one reason why you live where you live. If you decide to move, work is going to play a big role in that too.
If you had a completely independent choice in the matter, one that wasn’t dictated by having to work, would you live where you live right now? Or is where you live, at best, a compromise between what you want and what you can do to make a living?
When you pay rent or even your mortgage, you are paying to work.
Still need convincing?
What do you drive?
When you bought your vehicle, I’m going to bet that you did so with your one regular commute in mind…the commute to and from your job every day. You wanted the vehicle that would work best for you to make that commute. In some cases, construction workers and the like, they bought theirs with access to their jobs in mind. Your pay dictates what you can afford in gas, insurance, maintenance, and general upkeep; which probably also figured heavily into your decision. Did you perhaps decide not to buy a vehicle at all since there is plenty of public transit between your house and your job?
All of this means that your job also dictates what you drive.
Between where you live and what you drive, the two biggest monthly expenses your family faces are almost completely dictated by your job.
But that’s not all.
Do you have a cell phone so that your job can get in touch with you at all times? How about one so that your family can get a hold of you…while you are at work? Were you required to give your number to someone who is likely to call and talk to you about work when you are not at work? Almost none of us get any kind of compensation for this.
Did you buy a set of clothes that are for nothing other than work? I bet your job didn’t buy them for you. I bet they came right out of your own pocket.
Some of the clothes that construction workers, linemen, communications techs, and other outdoor jobs need cost hundreds of dollars…out of their own pockets….just so they can go to work every day. A reliable set of work boots can cost around $300; good lineman’s boots can go as high as $500. After laying down a week’s pay for a pair of shoes, it’s no wonder that these kind of men are always in their work boots. Need a set of insulated coveralls for work; hope you have about $200 to spare.
And they aren’t the only ones either. If you work in an office, you have a “dress code” you have to follow…and I’m pretty sure none of you are out doing things you like to do while wearing those clothes. How many of you are really wearing ties to go to the grocery store? When was the last time you threw on your $500 suit to go grab some tacos? Think about how many things in your closet were bought because of work. How much of your annual income does that take up?
How many of your daily grooming products are only used when you are going to work? Think about your makeup ladies; how often do you wear it outside of work?
How much of your time off the clock is spent preparing for work?
You company may require a certain standard of dress; which you are expected to provide for yourself at your own expense. Whether it’s a $500 dollar suit or a $500 pair of work boots, you bought them because your jobs needs them…not because you need them.
How much income do your personal sacrifices generate for them in comparison to what you are compensated via your own income from them?
Your grocery bill, dictated by your job too. First, there’s the fact that your paycheck is what decides what you can and can’t afford to buy. Second, think about how many things you buy that allow you to work around having a family.
How many meals come out of a box? How many things can just be popped into the microwave? How many foods do you buy just so that you have something on hand that your kids can make when you are at work? How many foods do you buy that are designed to be taken to work with you? I bet you have some kind of pre-made instant foods in your cabinet or freezer for those days you are too tired (from working) to cook a full meal. How much of what you buy to eat is dictated by when you will be home from work to cook it?
How many times has your hard earned money gone into the trash because you had to work late all week so your food spoiled before you could cook it?
Now think about how many industries have cropped up around getting more bodies into the work force and keeping them there longer.
Fast food is booming because families don’t always have the time to spend cooking. And even when they do, who wants to spend the day working and then come home to do even more work?
What about child care? Would you have child care expenses if it weren’t for your job? Would we even need a child care industry if it wasn’t for how many hours we have to spend working?
Take a look at how much money we spend…to make our employers’ lives easier.
Appliances that are designed to cut housework; that industry boomed as more women joined the work force.
In fact, pretty much everything that is designed to make life easier, makes life easier by shortening the amount of before/after work work that you have to do for yourself and your family.
Do you own a hair drier so that you can dry your hair before work? Automatic washing machine so that you can wash clothes while you are at work. Automatic dryer so that you don’t have to watch your clothes on the line; just pop them in the dryer and go to work. The new all-in-one machines that wash and dry in the same machine were made so clothes could be washed and dried while you are at work…convenient! Automatic dishwasher that is started before you leave for work? Do you have a slow cooker so that you can cook food while you are at work? How many shows do you record because work somehow impedes you being able to view them when they come on?
Look around at all of the appliances you own. How many of them can be traced back to your job in some way. Even the ones that don’t connect right back to your job, actually do. Electric cake mixer, bread machine, food processor, blender, all are there to shave a few extra minutes off where you can so that you have just a smidge more time to relax….because the rest of your life is consumed with work. You only get two days off, who wants to spend them doing chores.
Individual personal decisions are now dictated by our jobs as well.
How many decisions do you make that center around whether or not they will cause you to lose your job? Do you get to relax and have a few beers on your days off…or do you abstain, even if you don’t want to, out of fear that you might have to go in?
Are your opinions about marijuana, whether using it or even just supporting it, dependent on your how your job will react to your answers?
Do you have student loans? Most of us do. Why? Because going to school can get you a better paying job.
Has your decision to have kids or not included considering how it will effect your job or your work?
Consider this: Would the completely natural age related issue of getting up in the middle of the night to pee be a problem if you didn’t have to wake up early for work the next day?
We decide how sick ourselves or our kids are based, not on professional medical advice, but on how many hours of work we can miss.
Everything in our lives revolves around work. Nearly every one of our bills and expenses are related to work and working. There are no decisions made in our lives that do not come back to our jobs.
When we can cook dinner, when we can buy groceries, when we can wash our clothes, when we can spend time with our kids, when we can spend a day just sitting in the sun, when we can eat, when we can sleep, when we can take a pee, all of these things are dictated by your job.
Go over your personal finances. Compare what you make with what it costs you to live. Do this even if you make enough to live instead of just survive. Take out every expense related to getting and keeping a job. Whatever you have once all of those other things are taken care of is what you actually make through your job.
So now ask yourself this: Does your employer really give you enough in exchange for everything you are doing for them?
Or are you just paying for the privilege of working for them?