Friday, November 13, 2009

She Works Hard for the Money

Most of the time I do - work hard that is. Let's face it, I got my first full-time job at 18 and haven't looked back since. There's something about clocking hours at work that's really nice. And not just because of the paycheck. Thinking back over the last twelve years, I'm hard pressed to think of what I did with a free weekend at my disposal. Even when I left the world of waiting tables for a nine-to-five gig what have I always done? Picked up a part time job.

These days I'll often log an additional 12-15 hours a week outside of my regular work week. And I don't mind in the least. The part-time work certainly isn't about the paycheck. Considering I've worked at various boutiques, bakeries, and bars, the "spare" change rarely makes it out the door with me. I have the wares and waistline to prove it. I find meaning and pleasure in working, simple as that.

I'm always floored, then, when I have a rare weekday to myself in which I may or may not roam aimlessly around the Capital City and see so many people not working. Who has time to go for a jog at 10:30 on a Tuesday? Who's drinking a bottle of wine with lunch at 2 in the afternoon? Why is that person hanging out reading a book in a park, for pete's sake! Do these people not have jobs?

No, seriously. Visit any major city and there are a bazillion folks just chillin'. Now granted, if they have a Macbook and a latte, they're probably currently unemployed. But that leaves a lot of others unaccounted for. Let's exclude the independently wealthy and retired...there are still a ton of people with the time and money to do, well, nothing. What are their stories? How did they manage to escape the rat race? Don't they have rent to pay?

In the last month alone I've had three friends who've left perfectly halfway decent (natch) jobs to pursue unpaid adventures both here and abroad. They ditched their stuff, packed their bags, and took off to the mountains or the valleys or - even scarier - Congress. And these folks are my age, with previous full-time employment. How do they do it? Maybe it's because I can't go a minute without health insurance, or the fact that saving for a rainy day isn't exactly my forte, but I cannot imagine what I'd do with my time if not for work, and lots of it.

I think Cartman says it best...


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