I am a radical unjobber because…

I am a radical unjobber because I believe people should have lives based on living, not on making a living.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that leisure is more than “free time”.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in an ecological ethic of service, interdependence, and care…not a “work ethic.”

I am a radical unjobber because I don’t believe people’s value in a relationship, family, or community should be diminished because they do not have jobs or earn wages.  Having a job and making a “contribution to society” is not a measure of worth, and people should not be expected to work to justify their existence any more than a tree or a river should.  (I do believe that most people have a desire to be useful and creative, rather than just being consumers; we need to find ways for people to fulfill this desire outside the wage economy, as there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around, even for those who want jobs.)

I am a radical unjobber because, although I’m not “anti-work,” I am critical of jobs and the entire job culture.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe there is an important and oft-overlooked difference between work and jobsWork is intrinsically worth doing, and may or may not involve earning money.  A job is a set of tasks performed for wages or other compensation, and controlled by an employer.  (The two are not mutually exclusive; I’ll have plenty more to say about this in future writings.)

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in the importance of rethinking our cultural and societal assumptions about the proper relationship between work and leisure.

I am a radical unjobber because I have spent my entire adult life trying to figure out ways to live a life that is not based around earning income, and encouraging people to find ways to live a less job-centered life in general.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that freedom from the job culture is an inside job that starts (but doesn’t end) within the minds and hearts of human beings – which means, among other things, that it is possible to be free of wage slavery even if you hold a conventional job.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in not letting whatever you do for income interfere with your life’s work.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe lowering expenses is preferable to increasing income through having a job.  Like Amy Dacyczyn (author of “The Tightwad Gazette”), I prefer the luxury of freedom from a job to the luxury of material goods.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe “do what you love, the money will follow” is essentially a lie. Though there is a kernel of wisdom in that saying, it’s often misinterpreted as “if you can find a job you love, eventually you’ll earn money.”  Not everyone can do what they love through finding a job, and it isn’t their own fault; that’s simply not the way the economy functions.  Conventional jobs in the wage economy have an underlying purpose, and it is not to allow people do what they love.  It is to facilitate the movement of money, and concentrate wealth in the hands of the elite.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe the job culture impoverishes us by creating conditions where so many of us are forced to abandon our Work to take jobs, and then impoverishes us even more by diminishing our opportunities for true restorative leisure.

I am a radical unjobber because I don’t believe that paid work is inherently more valuable than unpaid work.

I am a radical unjobber because I resist the brainwashing that paints people who don’t have a job in the wage economy as idle, lazy, parasitic, undeserving, good-for-nothing, worthless, or not trying hard enough.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe money (and the need to earn it through wage jobs) is the ultimate root cause of the ecological destruction we face.  However, I am not inherently “anti-money” and I accept money without guilt or shame, since I live in a world that has made it near-impossible to function without it.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in the value of working toward urban and rural interdependent self-sufficiency and homesteading skills (growing and preserving food, fiber arts, home brewing, cooking, baking, home building, passive solar design, etc.) as paths to freedom from the job culture.

I am a radical unjobber because I encourage people to dig deep and think critically about the toxic cultural messages we’ve absorbed about jobs, work, and money, and to do the hard work of uprooting them so that healthy attitudes can be consciously cultivated in their place.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in the value of barter, gift economies, alternative currencies, community currencies, basic income schemes, and other alternatives to the use of money earned through conventional jobs.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in small-scale farming, cottage industries, local production of goods, and in the value of handcrafted items made with love and care.

I am a radical unjobber because I want to live simply, mindfully, consciously, and deliberately…and I encourage others to do the same.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that energy descent, climate change and resource depletion will require radical changes to our current way of life, and because I want to free myself and others from the demands of conventional jobs so that we can collectively devote as much time as possible to the necessary and urgent work of preparing for a different way of life.

I am a radical unjobber because I have made a conscious choice to live a car-free or low-car life as much as possible, in order to minimize expenses and dependence on earned income from jobs, as well as for health and ecological reasons.  (I am fortunate to live in a pedestrian-friendly city with great public transit, which makes this much easier to do.)

I am a radical unjobber because I have chosen not to have children, partly in order to maximize my leisure, reduce my ecological footprint, and lessen the income I need to earn.  (There are other reasons too, of course, such as the fact that I have never had a desire to be a parent.)

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that the best work is the kind that is done with joy, and if we are unable to take any joy in our work, it is a sign that something, somewhere, is fundamentally wrong.

I am a radical unjobber because I don’t believe success in a conventional job is necessarily proof of value, skill, or intelligence.  Often, it’s simply an indication that someone is well-connected, wealthy, status-driven, and/or willing to play the game.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in the value of thrift and frugality (as distinguished from cheapness) as a way of life that brings joy and increased freedom from the need to earn job income.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe it’s possible (even preferable!) to live very well far below the official “poverty line,” and in fact I am doing it right now, as I write this.  What matters is access to resources – food, shelter, clean water, health care, etc.  Money can facilitate this access, but it is ultimately nothing more than a means to an end; it should never be mistaken for real wealth.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe in asking radical questions: the kind that get to the roots of the problems, rather than “hacking away at the branches” (thanks to H.D. Thoreau for that phrase.)

I am a radical unjobber because I believe philosophies and practices such as deep ecology/ecophilosophy, ecopsychology, systems thinking, permaculture, Earth-centered ritual, herbalism, sacred plant medicine, folk magic, religious mysticism, polytheism, animism, feminism, LGBTQ rights, arts & crafts, music & dance, neo-tribal and village living, hunting and gathering, wildcrafting, home-based organic gardens, natural building, the tiny house movement, gift giving, barter, community currencies, and simple living all have an important role to play in building a world outside the job culture.

I am a radical unjobber because I consider indigenous peoples’ sovereignty and land-based ways of life/work to be essential.  In particular, I take inspiration from the Himalayan Ladakhi peoples and the peoples of the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan in thinking about how to repair our ecosystems and build a happier, less job-centered, less money-centered culture.

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that if enough of us can learn skills to support our basic needs, and can learn to do this work in an interdependent way…then together we can figure out ways to support each other using as little money as possible, and outside the bounds of conventional employment.  I believe extended families, villages and tribes should support each other in times of need, instead of clinging to an ideal of “independence” that does not serve our needs.  (The falseood that there is such a thing as a “self-made man” is so widely promoted in the media because it serves the needs of the elite.)

I am a radical unjobber because I believe that if we want to get out of the job culture, we will need to get the job culture out of us.

I am a radical unjobber because when I am asked what I do for a living, I respond with “I work for the land.”  The natural world is my teacher.

A question for you to ponder, dear readers: Are you a radical unjobber?  Why or why not?