Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Earning a Living

Category: Issue 9

They started this country because they wanted to be free.  When I was in college, my friend Adam objected to my ideas, saying “But everyone can’t start their own business.”  I might have agreed with him.  Shame on me.  It’s certainly easier to earn money from a single enterprise, counting on their HR and Accounting departments to mete out a check twice a month or every two weeks, but is it really necessary?  Don tells me those are “the things that destroy and yet blame you.”  Think about it.  What do they destroy?  What do they blame?  What is that if it isn’t you?

In fact, much more of his email is worth repeating:
“You will find it is a better world, the air is fresher, the days are crisper, when you determine your own fate. You own it. You pay for it. You earn it. You take it. Catch a fish. Design a kite. Enjoy a sunrise with your child teaching them that life is a thing to both live and be lived. These are things us crazy self employed self starters like to do. Dedication allows for a wealth for the soul as well as for happiness I think, and despair is just a bad day. Despair and happiness can’t exist without each other anyway.”

How do you find people who will pay you for some hours of work without making you work eight hours a day five days a week?  Just ask!  Call it a part time job, or consulting.  Everything that employees do can be done by consultants instead.  I have to admit that I advocate this because (at least in my country) it makes you responsible for paying your fair share to the government.  It’s illegal to promote tax evasion, but I’m wondering if that includes promoting the idea of paying the government bureaucracies that you feel serve you as much as you think their services are worth, instead of letting them decide how to split up what they take from you.  If I can grow a big enough pair, that’s my plan.

I quit my regular job once before, planning for it to be temporary, two and a half years ago.  I was unemployed for 18 months, then I re-enslaved myself because I thought health insurance would stop killing me so much.  Slowly, I realized that it was not worth it.  The guy who hired me said they’d have paid me for 8 hours of work a day if I wanted to work that much - as a consultant - for more than I could earn as an employee.  But no, my wife and I wanted the security and comfort - the nanny - of a full time job.  Well, I’m done with it now.  Almost.  At least probably by the time you read this.

And so I bring you Litmocracy, a place to read, write, and discuss, at your leisure.  If you write something good, the rest of us will help you get paid for it.  And I offer you Literal Translations, our print magazine.  And I offer you the CD that Don and his band have made, quite good, according to PureVolume and other sites where you can listen for free.  And I offer you the book he wrote.  Together, the CD and book are called Midnight In America.  We’re also working on finding funding to make a couple movies.  And I bring you my talent for analysis and coding if you happen to have projects that require software development.  As others join the ranks of the self-employed, we will continue working to produce high-quality goods and services.  We encourage you to join us and trade with us. 

In closing, I’ll repeat the best things I remember ever thinking of saying: Pay only for what you want and value, and expect only what you pay for.  Do the math, even when it’s difficult, and you’ll find that it’s worth it.  Seek goodness in others and you’ll find that they are full of it.