“I’m tired of having to be at work 8-10 hours every day and to do something I hate. I’m tired of being surrounded by unprofessional and unprepared people who seem to always be careless.”
Andrew turned off his phone and tried to sleep.
The brief conversation he had with the business manager made him think about how good it would be if things had been different. About how much he would have wished he could do something else, anything else, so that he no longer feels like he’s always stuck in the same situation.
Andrew was working for more than 7 years in the financial field after investing 5 years and 7000 euros in his studies. He was one of the best in the department of the company he worked for – FNCES International, a place with over 27,000 employees worldwide.
The more he worked, the more he realized that what he was doing should have been replaced and he would have liked to travel and experience more. Given that he worked 8-10 hours a day and always had to be in the office, his freedom to try new things was very limited.
Every time he tried to talk to someone about it, the people he was talking with thought he was crazy and shouldn’t change his job, since he was very well paid. Others were resonating with him, but they didn’t know how to help him because many of them were stuck in the same situation.
It was not a week when Andrew didn’t doubt his beliefs.
- “Do I have to be present in the same place, every day, to be able to do my job?”
- “Is this the only way I can contribute to the growth and development of a company?
- “Will I ever find a work environment that gives me more freedom?”
And the questions didn’t stop popping up.
Andrew seemed to be so frustrated with the job and the inability to do other things that he seriously thought he should change something.
He remembered that, many years ago, he had a friend who seemed to be doing all right by himself and disregarding the rules of society. He was the kind of man that many people envied or hated because he had the courage to be different.
Even though it was almost midnight, Andrew called his friend and was surprised to understand that things can be changed quite easily as long as you know what you want to do and are willing to follow what you want.
As soon as he closed the phone, Andrew wrote something on a sheet of paper and fell asleep.
He woke up the next morning and remembered that he had an important project at work that he couldn’t ignore. And it was so important that, for the next two weeks, he had forgotten everything else. He still felt that the place where he was working was not the place he was supposed to be in and had a feeling of uneasiness.
He was always working with the same type of unprepared people, and he felt that in his department there were not enough people ready to put into practice the complex ideas he had.
For the next two weeks, until he had completed (mostly alone) the project he was working on, Andrew woke up every morning at 5:30 and left home at 6:30 to get to the office at 7:00 (or even earlier). He worked almost non-stop until late at night and came home after 22:00 when he was almost instantly asleep.
On the day the project was sent to the client, Andrew was surprised to notice that the clock was not even 18:00 so he left home and thought about what he could do with the remaining hours. But he was so tired that he bought a beer and started thinking about a movie he could see.
It was Thursday night and when he got home at 19:10, he noticed the chaos that was present in the apartment. It hadn’t been clean for two weeks and Andrew couldn’t believe what disorder he had been able to sleep in all this time.
He gave up on the idea of watching a movie and began to clean up the apartment. He started with the kitchen and the sink that was full of dishes. He then went into the living room and tried to figure out which of the clothes thrown on the couch could still be worn and which were not. But he realized that he no longer remembered how long the clothes were there so he put them all in the washing machine.
He came to the bedroom to clean, but when he saw that the time was almost 23:00, he thought he must sleep. He sat for a few seconds at the office to rest his feet and began to think again about the life he was living and was unhappy with.
He thought he had to change something, so he quickly took the first paper he found to write at least three things to change starting tomorrow. But he couldn’t write anything and noticed the message he had written two weeks ago when he was talking to his friend on the phone:
“There are two types of slaves in this world: the free and the limited. It’s definitely a world of slavery, but it’s your decision to choose what kind of slave you want to be.”
The two types of slaves: free and limited
- Work 8 hours each day, generally from 9 to 5;
- Receive a small salary with which they are often satisfied;
- Work and nothing more, many of them have no interests or passions outside the job;
- Are comfortable and don’t want to evolve, being satisfied with the information that comes to them at random.
- Work when they want, following specific things they have to do;
- Shouldn’t always be told what to do because they always have a spirit of initiative;
- They are always interested in experiencing new things that are not necessarily related to the job;
- Are always keen to evolve and look for ways to work smart so as to make work processes more efficient.
The differences are visible with the naked eye, both in the two lists and in the people you may work with. Most likely, reading the two lists, you put yourself, more or less, in one of them.
Given that things are mostly this way, how do you go from being a limited slave to being a free slave?
There are three directions that can be considered:
- When you are a limited slave and you want to make the transition to being free;
- When you are a free slave but you work in an environment that limits you;
- When you haven’t yet chosen a side.
How to make the transition from being limited to being free?
Most of the time there’s no way. Being a free slave means having a set of skills that, most of the times, no one helps you develop.
You need to know how to focus and move forward toward goals. You have to be pragmatic and know how to use your time. You need to want to learn new things because you’re creative, not because you risk being fired if you don’t do it.
All these things are internal and a company in which limited slavery is promoted will not receive support in these directions.
The only possibility is to develop them yourself. And there are many obstacles here, such as:
- You will have to work on projects that you set yourself, outside the company, thus needing to sacrifice time and energy that you would have invested in other directions;
- If things go in the direction in which you desire, at some point you will become frustrated because you will become a free slave and there will be only limited slaves around you;
- You will have to make the effort of the transition, which, in fact, means changing your lifestyle.
From what I’ve noticed, it takes between 6 months and 2 years to make such a change and, most of the times, a change like this comes with a lot of frustration.
I don’t know if you understand the impact of such a change, but you will not only become part of another work environment, but you will also change many of the friends you have or it is even possible to get to the point where you want to divorce.
Being a free slave means seeing things completely differently from the way a limited slave sees them. And if your partner does not want to make such a change, at the end of your transition you will be a different man.
How do you get rid of an environment that limits you?
Here things are much simpler because you are already the kind of man I described above, who wants to learn, experiment and grow constantly. But unfortunately, you have come to a work environment where people are not like you.
Here are two things to do:
- Save money so you can resign and you can only live 6-12 months out of savings until you find the work environment you are looking for.
- Do as much research as possible and find out if there are such work environments in the city or country where you live. It will help you to be aware of the change you are about to make.
Choosing a side: limited or free?
Most of the time, choosing the side is not our decision.
Most of the time, we choose to do something because we are guided to that. And I bet you have friends who have been guided by their parents to choose a job in medicine. In such a situation, parents make the decision that their child must be a limited slave.
Thus, the industry and field of activity you are going to choose (if you are still under 20 and have not made the decision) are very important.
If you want to be a limited slave, the industry is less important than the field of activity. You can work in the medicine field and be a copywriter for a company that develops a magic pill that helps everybody lose weight without side effects. But as easy as it is, you can choose to be a doctor and have to go to the hospital 12 hours a day.
The choice you make about your career is often guided by the wrong people. Parents or teachers who have lost touch with reality and think in decades-old terms. And if you think that they, too, have been taught by their parents or teachers, you come to the conclusion that the information that comes to you is decades old, even hundreds of years old.
The guidance of parents and teachers is, in most cases, outdated and not worth considering.
If you want to be a free slave and have the freedom to work when and where you want, choose to develop your career in the following directions:
- Digital Marketer
- Writer / editor
- Customer support
- Social Media Manager
However, the list can go on but whatever you choose to do, make sure you are a free slave.
With love and optimism,