Rightsize Your Life and Get Back Your Time
Tom Kerr writing on rightsizing…
Corporate monopolies have been illegal in the U.S. since 1890. But that hasn’t stopped “legal” ones from exploiting you more than 125 years later…in a much more insidious way.
Price-fixing is bad enough – and one of the biggest targets of traditional monopoly-busting rules.
But today we’re facing something much more diabolical, sneaky, and invasive.
Corporations grow wealthier by monopolizing your most valuable and irreplaceable asset: Time.
And they do it, not by monopolizing access to goods…but to capital. I’m talking about the creep-creep-creep of the “average” work week.
It’s supposed to be the grind of the nine-to-five…40 hours devoted to our corporate overlords.
That’s bad enough, considering medieval serfs – laboring under the heel of diabolical feudal lords – only worked 25 hours a week.
But it gets worse – because there’s almost no salaried position that is “just” 40 hours. The majority of us work between 60 and 80 hours a week – and the higher up the income bracket you go, the worse it gets.
Not to mention the hidden time spent commuting…which seems to get longer and longer as city homes go up in price. Add on another couple of hours – or, for the truly unlucky, an extra 20 hours a week – just sitting in a car.
But even when you’re relaxing at home, it’s not like you’re free.
Employers encourage work/life balance…then disrupt it with emails, texts, and phone calls on evenings and weekends.
When I was in corporate sales – before I wised up – if I ever went on vacation, I’d have to make sure my boss knew how to reach me. Just in case his priorities trumped mine.
One day, after another stolen moment of relaxation was ruined by another unreasonable time demand from the bosses that be, I’d had enough. I walked into my boss’ office and told him where he could put his job.
I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have another source of income. Looking back, I realize I could have made my move much simpler with a little guidance from those who had escaped before me. (The sort of guidance we bring to Independence Monthly.)
Still, I wouldn’t change a thing that happened.
I realized that I could break the chokehold of the monopoly by downsizing my lifestyle…without compromising comforts or pleasures. Indeed, downsizing is the wrong word – it makes it sound like I gave something up.
I didn’t. I made my world fit my wants and needs – instead of the commercial life I’d been sold, and was slaving to support.
I sold my big, mostly-empty house and moved into one which I could fully use.
That left me with no mortgage and fewer bills to pay.
I no longer had to devote the majority of my time to earning a living…because my cost of living was dramatically scaled-down.
(Of course, within a few months, I was making more money outside the corporate chain gang than I ever did in it…but that’s a story for another time.)
Between offloading all that extra home maintenance, and all those office hours I needed to afford it…I suddenly had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with.
I reinvested some of those hours to go online and offer my skills, experience, and time to the highest and friendliest bidders…launching a completely portable freelance career serving clients I handpicked. All of a sudden my work felt – and looked – less like a job and more like an intentionally active retirement.
An active “retirement” that saw me with more cash in my pocket, to boot.
But working less and playing more would have made sense even if my salary had been halved. When you’re overworked, stressed-out, and burned-out, your creativity gets snuffed-out…and so does your productivity and longevity.
I moved to a rustic home near a river that’s popular with kayakers, rafters, and fishermen. Surrounded by forests, waterfalls, and stunning mountain views, I felt like I had been transported to a whole new world…one where it’s possible to live less like a serf and more like a renaissance man.
Compare that to the corporate slave, who’s often so scared of getting laid off they don’t even use the vacation time they’ve got.
Now, to be clear, what I did – while easy these days – wouldn’t have been possible a few years back.
I’m not a tech nerd – I don’t need the latest and greatest gadgets. But I’ll always be grateful I live during the age of the internet…which makes it easier than ever to break the chains of the office and live where you want, how you want, doing the work you want.
The unprecedented power to freely choose…that you now hold in your hands…directly competes with the entrenched monopolies that want to own your time and control your livelihood.
Yeah, they’ll keep scheming ways to suck the sand out of your hourglass.
Don’t let them. Your time is your own. No one ever died wishing they spent more time in the office, making a corporation more profitable.
Today – whatever your pressures, whatever the demands you face – do something just for you.
And then tomorrow, do it again. And the next day, and the next.
The overlords want you habituated to their schedule. I want you habituated to yours.
P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in The Savvy Retiree Daily. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.