Might be losing my grip – how long to hold on?


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    Hi all,

    Just wanted to throw a question out to the community and get their thoughts/feedback.

    I’m a mid-level government-onion functionary… most likely over-employed & overpaid for what I do and how unskilled I truly am. Despite that, I made a pretty good run of things and have usually done fairly well for myself… but lately I’ve had a hard time staying focused on my work as most of what I do seems incredibly inconsequential (possibly even counterproductive) compared to the challenges that face us in the future, and I think some of the more observant members of my organization might be cluing into that fact.

    Also, I’ve felt the focus of my work (and perhaps the focus of governance at large?) shift from planning/thinking about the future to a “do-it-now-future-be-damned” mentality. Operational people/managers continue to make their way up the chain and thus there is more and more pressure to conform to a “don’t-think-just-do” style of work which is very unrewarding, not to mention the fact it raises all sorts of concerns in my mind to the quality of the work governmental organizations/agencies are providing people with tax dollars.

    Between these two realizations, as well as my increasing concern that I don’t possess ANY of the skills nor physical well being to tackle the coming storm that is discussed here at TAE, I’ve started to question whether or not I should think about bowing out of my current line of work at some point in the near future.

    The downside is that it would be an incredible upheaval of my lifestyle & finances, and may undo all the effort I’ve put forth in paying off all my debts. I also worry about the social stigma as well as the fact I might be letting loved ones down by making such a large/difficult-to-understand decision.

    The upside – I might actually feel like I’m starting to do something meaningful with my life. With the added time I’ve considered trying to find cheap ways of obtaining more hands-on skills like para-medicine, small engine repair, volunteering at organic farms, and perhaps teaching English in a foreign language as a back-up if I become desperate for work (as I haven’t seen too many jobs which my business degree / government experience would lend itself to which would allow me the large amount of free time I’d require to build those hands-on skills I mentioned previously).

    On paper (err, screen) it seems like a pretty obvious choice, but in reality it seems much more difficult. Hoping my situation will get some discussion going on the risks/rewards associated with sticking it out in “the system” vs. moving towards sustainable living.

    Stoneleigh, should you decide to comment, I’m hoping you can also expand on what you meant in your recent Alpha and Omega podcast where you spoke about governments increasing in power (possibly to the point of fascism), and perhaps reflect on whether or not it would be wise to try to remain part of that governing system or to try to get as far away from it as possible?

    I’m slightly worried I’ve become a fly in the ointment and might attract more attention by questioning/filibusterering initiatives here than by just walking away before things get out of hand…



    Learnable skills:

    1) Brevity.

    2) Moderation – that is, finding the middle ground between the obvious extremes.

    3) Relating – that is, realizing that your well-being relies on the well-being of others, and that those others aren’t as unappealing as you initially believed.

    4) Inquiry – when a stressful thought arises, ask “is that true?” in order to find your own truth and free yourself from learned lies. (For all four questions and turnaround possibilities, see http://www.thework.com.)

    5) Succession – it just happens; let it. (Read up on permaculture for more on this squandered gift, as well as observation and other learnable skills.)

    6) Patience. (See #4.)


    Variable, you’re not alone. It is very difficult to walk away entirely. Perhaps you could take a month or two of vacation to learn some new skills, or if permissable to work part-time. Most of us likely feel we are living in two worlds trying to cope with what is coming while being surrounded with people who are totally clueless.


    Welcome to the club.

    Short term … Emergency Preparedness

    Mid term … Get out of debt
    learn to accept change
    being prepared for changes brings opportunities, brings luck

    Long term …

    ( scenario)

    Do you want your grandkids to be standing in line getting his teeth checked by a potential employer to see if he is fit to be hired?
    Can you prepare your grandkids to be the one doing the checking of the teeth of the potential employees?

    Okay! Okay!
    I agree its not going to be the same system that was used by landowners when they went to the slave market to get their slave labor.

    Its going to be a modern version that utilize modern technology.
    It will not be sufficient for your grandkids to have worn braces on his teeth to look acceptable. The H.R. dept. will be mining all of the data bases to see if he/she is “one of the boys”.
    Its going to be a “closed shop.”
    The “entry fee” will be out of reach of most people. Only the most talented will be let into the system. (Yes, “brown nosing” is a talent. Can you say “Yes, Mam.” with a smile)

    If you want your grandkids to be “one of the boys” they will need to have the skills and the personality to be able to answer the question:

    Employer: What is two plus two
    Grandkid: What do you want it to be?

    We have a shitty system and its going to get worst.


    Hi Variable,

    Good call! Sounds like you need a bit of inspiration! Check out TED Talks. Also joining a powerful and supportive social group such as (for men) the ManKind Project, and (for women) the Woman Within can help us to get the support we will all need during these testing times.

    Best Wishes,



    My suggestions:

    Overall, I’d suggest you hang on and do your best to enjoy yourself until the logic of events forces you out. And there is no need to encourage your superiors to make this decision for you – which is the sense I have that you are doing now. 🙂

    * rather than focusing on the work to find meaning, focus on people and interactions. people are the same everywhere; perhaps you can find inspiration in that.
    * perhaps there’s a lateral move you can make to an area that’s more hospitable.
    * in the meantime, spend your vacation time and spare time doing things that you find interesting.
    * focus your salary on debt paydown.
    * each day, express gratitude that you have a well-paying job. thank the taxpayers sincerely every morning, and do your best to provide them good value however you can – working within the organization. If your only daily meaningful contribution is contributing to a positive atmosphere, that’s ok. and that’s healthier for you too.
    * you can watch others go up the chain, but you are not required to do so. perhaps – have compassion for them because they have been sucked in by the societal programming while you are undergoing the process to break free.

    Of course, once you’re debt free, you have a lot more freedom of action. You won’t need the same income to retain the same standard of living. In the meantime, you could make changes that involve getting rid of stuff that has an interest payment on it. Likely you’re already doing that.

    I think debt freedom is safest and at the same time, the most revolutionary act we can individually execute. You cannot be prosecuted for it, not even chastised, but if we all did it, we’d bring down the system.

    Just my two cents.


    Thanks for all the feedback everyone.

    I’ve actually gotten quite lucky and I think I’ve bought myself another 8 months of hiding within my labyrinthine organization and avoiding detection (at least of the negative kind, anyway).

    Hopefully I’ll be able to use that time to put away a few more dollars for a rainy day (or the coming deluge!), and perhaps enroll in a small engine repair course as to at least have some skills other than pushing pencils and papers around on my desk.

    Land is still well out of my reach, but if the Canadian housing market would hurry up and collapse… well, one day at a time I suppose!


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