I find myself in the dubious position of being a ‘CV expert’, quite by accident. Not that my advice should not be trusted, but becoming an expert by accident comes with the problem of never realising when your knowledge would be useful to others. It might also just be the academic imposter syndrome at work, who knows. So after bringing hundreds of graduate students’ CV’s to a point where a recruiter would hopefully look twice, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the common pitfalls with those who do not get the opportunity to experience the wrath of my red pen. So here are a eight quick tips for the Aussie CV.
Continue reading “Tips for CV Writing in Australia – An Insiders View”
I wonder how many of you are familiar with the Biblical story of Jacob and Laban? As a child, hearing this story, I always had some serious questions for Jacob about his behaviour. I really thought he was stupid. The story, in a nutshell, was that Jacob wanted to marry his uncle Laban’s daughter Rachel. The agreement was that he would work for Laban for seven years before he could get her hand in marriage. After seven years, on the wedding night, Laban switched Rachel with Leah (the ugly older sister) without Jacob noticing until the morning after consummation. His love for Rachel was so great that he worked another seven years to get Rachel. Continue reading “Jacob and Laban”
“The Puritans turned work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.”
The puritan / protestant work ethic and the link made by Max Weber in 1905 to capitalism has all but upended this world. No, the book did not upend the world, the persistent idea that work is good has upended this world. See, I think I should make a clear distinction between terms by defining the word ‘work’. In my worldview work is not living. Work is slaving in order to survive. Work is not doing and engaging in self directed acts of meaningful labour, it is the exchange of your time and life force in order to enrich and support a system who’s only value to you is to sustain you enough in order to extract more time and life force from you. Work is evil. Through the ages we have had work manifest itself in different forms. Initially work was synonymous with survival. If you did not work, you did not survive. Think cavemen thoughts. We moved on from this basic system of only survival, we became more organised and complex in our groupings and some of us started to have ‘free’ time. Suddenly some people could focus their attention on things that before would not have been possible in ultimate survival mode. Now we could have teachers, and ministers, and philosophers, and soldiers. Our modes of food production allowed this to happen. Needs became wants and once greed took over there was no stopping this machine. Those with more power and soldiers decided that the easiest way not to work was to get others to work for them – forcibly. Slavery is born. Most ancients all the way from the Bible to the Greeks believed that slavery was in some way natural, the way things are supposed to be.
Today we supposedly know better. We had our revolutions and political changes against that system, and slavery died in the perception of the West. The only problem is, the slave owners realised they are not able to operate without slaves. Well, ingeniously, the current system allowed them to have the best of both worlds. Instead of having to look after the slaves, feed them, house them etc, they can now tell the slaves they are free – no political or ethical issues – and pay them less that what it would have cost to house and feed them. Now the slave has the illusion of freedom (which I might add is valuable, and definitely more ‘free’ than what it was).
A hundred years ago futurists were saying that at the rate of technological discovery and machination we would only have to work a few hours a week today. That obviously did not work out. Greed stopped us from wanting a sustainable lifestyles, to just wanting more and more and more all the time. The earth can’t sustain us, we are working her and ourselves to death.
Here is another blogpost that reflects some of my feelings on this subject: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/on-elevating-humanity.html
I wanted to call this post “on living well”, but that would cast the philosophical net a bit too wide. What is the one thing you would say you need to live well? Money, food, a house, family? Yes, we might need all those things, but the one thing that would make all the difference for me is self-sufficiency. When I say self-sufficiency I do not mean cutting myself off from civilization and starting a hippy co-op where I grow my own food (although the idea is not too distasteful), but rather being able to choose what I do with my time without the need to worry about money, food, a house etc.
Ooh, I can already hear the questions and recriminations. “But we have to work to eat”, “You are just lazy”, “What will you do with your time?”. Really? I was recently asked by a rich man, who just basically manages his money, what I would do with my time if I did not work. He stated that he would not be able to function if he did not ‘work’. If only the 1% understood the tedious, mind numbing, scull crushing work of a windowless 9-5. It is not really the work as such that is the problem, it is the loss of self direction that causes the most pain. The fact is that I can do my ‘job’ in about 5 hours a week, yet I have to sit at my desk, breathing recycled air, 5 days a week, 7.5 hours a day, because I cannot be trusted to rule myself. This is the sad reality of the modern working life. So no Mr. Rich man, I don’t want to sit at home and sip soy latte’s all day, I just want to work without the need to work (managing my ‘portfolio’ would be wonderful). I want to enjoy one job and do it well – not work my fingers to the bone for thankless corporations at two jobs just to cover basic living expenses. I don’t want to be in a situation where I cannot decide that I want to do something different because I cannot afford to lose my job. So maybe the word retire is the wrong word. I don’t want to sit back and rest from 50 years of work. I just want to have an alternative income which covers my basics. That way I can focus on meaningful work, and live well. Donations are welcome.
For those interested in early retirement the hard way, here is a useful calculator to help you plan: http://www.firecalc.com/