I read the ads on Craigslist and hardly ever do I see anything that I would really like to do. I wish I could meet someone who would know of a good, low-stress, decently-paying job who could put in a good word for me. It seems like the best jobs come word-of-mouth anyway.
The low-stress jobs that seem to suit me best usually involve some kind of domain of arcane knowledge that needs to be mastered. Lots of little details. A bit of creativity thrown in puts me in heaven. Add some repetitive, mindless work, either physical or not, and it adds up to the perfect job for me. Examples:
- Flower shop. Lots of little details about every kind of flower. Lots of mindless work processing the flowers. Creativity arranging the flowers.
- Web production. Lots of little details about HTML, browser bugs, scripting languages. Lots of mindless work assembling web pages. Creativity writing good code.
- Mental Health. Lots of little details about medications, side effects, diagnoses. Lots of mindless work helping people clean their homes. Creativity solving problems, trying to help people.
- My whale job. Lots of little details about what sounds like a whale and what doesn't. Lots of mindless work locating whales. The only creativity is in looking at the pretty colors of the screens, but my mind is free to think about things.
I was thinking about the plight of workers as we age after I spoke to my sister on the phone yesterday. She asked me how The Man was doing these days.
He goes through these phases where every day he trudges off to work certain they are going to fire him. He'll be working almost 24 hours a day and he'll be under a ton of stress and miserable and then something will go wrong and he'll feel full of dread that he'll be fired. Eventually whatever the issue is blows over and he's not fired and everything is fine again.
It's a terrible, stressful way to live and yet he feels stuck in it because he is over 50 and doesn't feel like there are any other options for him. He believes this is the last high-paying job he will ever have. Once this one tosses him out, it's all over. Wall-Mart or Home Depot will be the best he can ever hope for after this because the world has no use for men his age. And once that happens, he believes he will lose everything. His house, his retirement, the works. I hate watching him live in constant fear like this. It doesn't seem like the money is worth it.
I'm almost at that age of being considered worthless myself. Our world is set up so that you better do everything you can between the ages of 25 and 50 to make as much money as possible because it's downhill for most people after that. Maybe even before the age of 50.
During the years you are capable of working, this is what I think you should do:
- Save all of the money that you can. Live super frugally.
- Don't buy lots of stuff except maybe for stuff that will last a long time and truly enhance your life. For me that might include things like a good musical instrument or a trusty bicycle pr even a pick-up or a van, but not include lots of electronic gadgets or a vehicle that you could not live in or use to haul stuff.
- Don't go out much, or if you do, do it cheaply.
- Don't put stuff on credit cards that don't exist long after you pay for them. That means meals out, fashionable clothing, entertainment. Only use credit cards for convenience and pay them off completely. If you have to use them to buy something you can't afford to pay off, whatever it is better be really good and long-lasting.
I think I've kind of blown my good working years pretty much because of going on the hike. This gap in my employment may have shut me out. The gap may have advanced me 15-20 years to where I have to find jobs that old ladies in their 60s will do. What do they do anyway?
Anyway, with my good earning years possibly over, I feel like my fate is sealed. Poverty forever. Now I just have to figure out a way to manage within it. Unlike Tony, I don't worry so much about losing everything because I don't own anything. I just have to figure out how to survive with nothing. It seems there are ways to do it, and since I've lived on the trail, I think I can manage some of those ways if it comes to the point where Tony has lost it all, or kicks me out, whichever comes first
So, I'm looking for a low-stress job that can be part-time, temporary or full-time. Preferably above minimum wage. And I'm also looking for opportunities to meet other people who can lead me to such jobs.