A few days ago my friend Mike put up an Instagram post that really resonated with me and of course it featured the super hot actor/legend Keanu Reeves (I still need to see John Wick 3). This meme does a fantastic job of explaining why I had to do everything I could to not only escape a traditional 9-5 job, but stay away by any means necessary: it insulted my soul.
The key phrase to me here is “things that insult their soul.” It got me thinking about all the things in society that insult my soul. This might be a Part 1. We’ll see.
Limited Vacation Days
Unless you believe in reincarnation (the jury is still out on this one), the truth is that we probably only live once. If we lived twice I would just spend this life working myself to death so I can just be on vacation my entire second life (and this is sadly how we look are pre-retirement life and post-retirement life).
The average life expectancy in America is 78.69 years (as of 2016 according to WorldBank). This means you’re alive for 28,721 days, 20 hours and 24 minutes. That’s it. If you manage to live 10 years longer, you add 3,650 days to your life. Congrats.
The average person (sheeple) will spend almost 5/7ths (71.4%) of their lives (from 21 – retirement) working (with the exception of the average 2-3 weeks vacations + national holidays). While many sheeple don’t work weekends, they are still limited geographically on where they can go in those 2 days so they’re forced to “vacation” somewhere relatively close to where they live. If you live in New York, going to Los Angeles for a weekend almost isn’t worth it (as 14 hours will be spent traveling). Even your days off are still being greatly affected by your company. You’re tethered by an invisible leash!
The idea that a company or person is in control of how you spend your most precious, limited and disappearing resource (TIME) is insulting to my soul. I’m sure many of you have experienced asking your boss if you could use a few vacation days well in advance of the 2 weeks notice (which is also a joke in itself), only to be hit with the following responses:
“Do you really need to take those days off? Things are so crazy around here.”
“Sure you can take the days off but things are so crazy around here that you’ll need to stay on top of your e-mail.”
“Ugh <rolls eye> fine.”
To me it’s insulting that I not only have to ask someone that isn’t a direct family member “Hi, can I have some freedom?” but that these limitations are not only built into the corporate contract and culture but accepted by almost all of society. There has to be a better way to live and I am a huge proponent of society shifting towards 3-4 day work weeks or remote work culture. Create your own career people!
Corporations are Legal Pyramid Schemes
Sure there are some technical differences between corporations versus pyramid schemes (being that corporations usually sell or create something of actual value – perceived or real), but this doesn’t take away from the fact that the person at the top gets to reap all sorts of beautiful rewards while the little people at the bottom are killing their souls for scraps. “May the sheeple work 50-70 hour weeks, sleep in the office and accrue no overtime or bonuses! But here’s a meaningless award or trophy with no value except to trick the sheeple that they’ve been rewarded! Good sheeple. Now stay in line.”
If I am working, and especially if I am working hard and long hours for someone else, the only reward and trophy I want is either cold hard cash or hot sexy cryptocurrency. Gift cards, trophies, recognition, gold stars, titles without raises are all meaningless trash and laughable insults. This is why I love being an entrepreneur and have the ultimate respect for entrepreneurs: They’re doing things on their own terms without the stability of a steady paycheck (I haven’t had one of these in 3 years) but with a greater future reward in mind (and the present reward of freedom!). And if that reward never comes, at least it’s on their own terms. May we all be masters of our own destinies! Classic video below.
I’ve experienced being the victim of corporate greed myself when I was the 3rd employee of a start-up that got acquired after 6 years, only to find out that nobody in the company got a single dime on the acquisition … except for the CEO. He of course received a cool 7-figure payday as a bonus for the acquisition. “To hell with everyone else that poured their hearts, souls and sweat into the company. Thank you for your time and goodbye! P.S. Your stock is considered underwater meaning your shares have drowned and they cannot be resuscitated…like your souls.”
Having a Boss
Even a simple thing like having a boss insults my soul. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had great bosses during my 9-5 career (in case any of them are reading this…Mike R, Rekha, Dana S, Jackie M, Erica P, Doug B, Bob S, Yolanda L, James K, Seth I, Jay D, Mag M … thank you for being great bosses!)
But as I got older (into my 30s) and realized that my time on this earth is limited, fleeting and quickly vanishing and with no guarantee that I’ll be healthy and able for all of it, I no longer wanted to report to a boss. Instead I wanted to partner with good people. “There are good ships and there are bad ships but the best ships are partnerships!” While of course every company needs leaders that can guide the team and make the important executive decisions, I believe every employee of a company needs to be more vested in the success of a company whether it be shares that will actually have value during an acquisition, or every employee receives overtime for extra hours or bonuses for extra productivity. To work on a salary with no upside is so foolish. We’ll talk about math in a second.
To understand why having a boss insults my soul, you must read the definition of boss:
Working on a Salary
I will admit that the idea of a steady paycheck is extremely tempting, but if that paycheck doesn’t have aggressive CASH bonuses built into it, I am not touching it. Let’s do some basic math so you can understand how little a $100k salary in New York City really is.
After paying all of your taxes (and without making any retirement contributions), your weekly take-home paycheck is $1,416 (I rounded up – you’re welcome for the extra 14 cents). If you work a 40 hour workweek, you’re getting paid $35/hour. That’s not bad! But the facts are that many salaried employees work significantly longer than 40 hours. If you’re working 50 hours a week, you’re making $28.32/hour. If you’re working 60 hours a week, you’re making $23.60/hour.
Factor in rent (which likely takes up 40%+ of your salary), and you’re looking at a cool $14-$21/hour, slightly more than a Starbucks barista! And you haven’t even eaten yet or attended any happy hours, weddings, gone on vacations, did laundry, gone on dates, purchased Tinder Gold, etc.
A pay structure that caps off your income via a salary without any upside for the employee is so one-sided in favor of the corporation that it should insult your soul. The only way I would personally accept a fixed-salaried job is if I was paid vastly more than the market rate to the point where the corporation would look at my salary and think to themselves “can we really afford this?” If your salary is making them blink, you’re on the right track. If a company wants good people and wants people to stick around, pay them. If you consider yourself a good or hard-working employee, go out and get what you’re worth. Your company isn’t taking care of you? Find one that will. Just like a relationship! Or be like me and avoid them at all costs! Ha ha!
People that are blindly loyal to a company are the same people that will lose their job as soon as profits are down. And companies will escort you out of the building same day. I’ve seen this happen to too many good people and it’s because they put their destinies into someone else’s hands. Insulting!
Men Still Being Expected to Pay for the First Date in America
Now this one is going to be a bit controversial but YOLO! I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this one and here’s where my mind has ended up:
Men working and women being housewives used to be the tradition. This is why men paid for the first dates – they had the income that women didn’t/couldn’t have. In exchange, women would care for the home, the husband and the children (which let’s not lie – this is a tremendous undertaking by itself!) To me, this makes complete sense. But then something happened…
Women fought so hard for gender equality and equal pay and respect in the workplace (which I do think is a beautiful thing). A country is stronger (and more taxable) when everyone is producing! And while yes, we still have a long way to go in America before we have true equality (a number of things have to happen first which I’ll talk about in another post), compared to the rest of the world, we’re doing a damn good job!
So now we’re at a point in a society where women are doing really well financially (here’s an article about the truth about the gender pay gap). The glass ceiling is on it’s final breath, and women have (mostly) broken free of the tradition of men providing. Yet…we are still expected to pay for the first date. And god forbid we ask to split the bill or we can’t cover it! We all know the odds of getting a 2nd date plummet down to almost zero.
While this concept of “I want equal pay and I want you to pay for the first date (or dates until you’re my boyfriend)” insults my soul, I also understand that the American/Western society is still in a transitional phase trying to make sense of men and women being equals in a corporate setting so I admittedly still do participate in this tradition (enthusiastically in Thailand, reluctantly in America). Personally, I do enjoy treating someone to a nice meal, but I just don’t like the expectation of me having to pay.
The mindset of “I want that old tradition but I don’t want that old tradition” is inconsistent and therefore insulting to my soul.
I also jump back and forth between America and Thailand (where my dollar-based income is worth significantly more than a baht-based income) so I find myself comparing dating norms and cultures. To me, the Western man in Thailand paying for almost everything makes sense where the monthly average income is $800/month, but in America, not so much anymore.
And as far as splitting things, I think incomes need to be taken into account. If a woman is making $200k and the man is making $100k, the woman (in a relationship) should ultimately be paying closer to 2/3rds of everything. If they truly like each other and we consider genders to be equal (or have the desire to be equal), this just makes sense to me. Anyone who says otherwise is thinking emotionally and not logically or factually. Stay woke.
People Who Don’t Like Dogs
And finally, here’s light-hearted one that I think we can all agree on: people who don’t like dogs insults my soul. I dated a girl in Los Angeles once that was guilty of this inhumane offense to humanity. She was absolutely stunning. Beautiful face, perfect skin, balayage hair (my favorite), fun to hang out with…but…she didn’t like dogs. I realized this a few months into dating when her true colors started to come out and she admitted she didn’t want my dogs sleeping in my bed with us. I could understand this request if my dogs were golden retrievers or I had a twin bed but I have a yorkie and a shih tzu and my bed was king size. There was more than enough room for everyone. If anyone was leaving the bed (and my life) sweetheart, it’s you. Please do make sure to close the door gently.
Also, before my dogs were medical support dogs (and I couldn’t bring them into restaurants), I would tie them up on posts outside of restaurants (and of course I would keep a close eye on them the entire time). Well one day I must have made a mistake with the knot because when she came to meet me for lunch, she casually sat down and after 5 minutes finally said, “oh by the way, Flex isn’t tied up on the post.” I almost had a heart attack. I ran outside to double-check the knot and she was right – Flex somehow slipped out. Luckily for me he’s super trained and attached to his sister Raindrop so he didn’t move, but he could have! And that’s what killed me. When it comes to human error with dogs or babies, a matter of seconds can be the difference between life and death. I would expect the person I’m dating (or just any human) to do one of a few things in this scenario:
(1) immediately tie Flex up correctly
(2) grab his leash and summon me to come outside
(3) pick him up and bring him inside the restaurant, to hell with no pet policies
(4) urgently run inside the restaurant and tell me to fix the leashes.
To do nothing for 5 minutes and then casually drop the fact was so…careless and inhumane that I had to do the humane thing and break up with her…over the phone of course: “I am breaking up with you because you do not love dogs.” I’ve never heard someone get so offended by such an accusation but facts are facts baby-carrot!
So there you go. This might be a Part 1. I’m sure I’ll think of other things that insult my soul. But really anything that limits my freedom and anyone that doesn’t love dogs not only grinds my fears, but deeply insults my soul. I would love to hear what insults your soul. Leave a comment or you can e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed reading this, you can follow me on Instagram, @adamfrancisco & @befreemysheeple.