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Monday, March 11, 2013

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"

In my last full post I talked about getting out of the 9 to 5, run of the mill, chained-to-a-desk type work. There are however a lot of people, who are not necessarily in an office, who work long hours for low pay and who may feel trapped in their work situation. Yet their work is essential to the smooth running of everybody's day to day life. The pay is low and they get little thanks. They are frequently looked down upon by some. Yet imagine what life would be like without the binmen, checkout servers, hospital porters, cleaners, mechanics, farm workers, plumbers or factory workers. It may not be 9 to 5 but it can be very hard work. Thankfully there are people who are still happy to do those jobs.

For those who are keen to stay in their chosen trade or who are eager to work in roles that society relies on there is lots of help from state sponsored agencies and organisations, ready and able to help them find work where it exists. The services in place designed to help these people are, it seems, not able to help those who wish to get out of that sector, the people who want to take flight, do something radically different, live the dream or go it alone. There seems to be a huge gap in the available advice and assistance for the people in between, the ones who want to get out of the essential services or ordinary office jobs and who want to be like the highflyers. Social mobility? Where is the roadmap for it?

In that recent post I mentioned a few people who have escaped the rat race and gone on to live life on their own terms. They are inspirational and their insights are invaluable. They ooze confidence and give the impression of having had lots of support, great opportunities and to have been given the sense that anything is possible.

For someone who has only lived in the '9 to 5' world, in a company that doesn't use up to date tech, whose family are from the same world, whose friends are in the same sorts of jobs, it can seem like a fairy tale. The photos of a freedom-from-work guru on a beach, in the desert or up a mountain can seem just as far away as the banker in his Maserati living in a penthouse apartment on the Thames.  It doesn't seem real if it is too far way.

I know because that is how I feel. I hope that one day it might be me telling people how easy it is to live life the way you want. But not yet. At the moment I am still at the bottom of that hill looking for the right path to get me a bit higher up. As I search for a way to make my life my own I will continue to post links to advice and guidance, inspirational and aspirational sites and to anything that relates to the world of work in all its forms, in the hope that some of it helps me and helps you to get to the point where we can take flight.

I have two challenges for you today.

  1. Next time you see anyone in an essential job, such as those listed above, smile at them, thank them if you can. Just don't ignore them or look down on them.
  2. Ask yourself what skills you have to offer the world. Are you good with your hands, good at planning, good at communicating, good at problem solving, good at making people feel good? Think hard about what your basic skills boil down to and how they might translate into your life's work. Go.

*"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" Oscar Wilde from Lady Windermere's Fan.

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