Why Don’t You Get a Real Job?

Because I choose not to.

You’ve been galavanting again. When are you going to join the real world and get a real job like the rest of us real people? You are getting a bit old for this and you are going to have to think about your future soon. Nomadic degenerate.

It’s an interesting argument. Why don’t I get a real job? Define a real job. By the definition that is implied, it is something appropriate and respectable that helps to secure one’s future in view of a comfortable retirement. However, the question, why don’t you get a real job is accusingly asked to anyone who does not stay static or have a pension plan. Thus if you are happily self employed as an artist or creative, it is not a real job. If you move every few months and have no base, you do not have a real life. If you do anything but stay here and be respectable, you are not a real person.

If you do not follow this advice, you are a lesser human being. You do not contribute to society and you are putting the strain onto others while you enjoy yourself. How do you expect to have any choice in the future if you don’t plan for it? How can you possibly hope for people to respect you?

I chose a skill, chose a school, chose a career path, and chose how my life might be in the real world. I followed the rules. Then I chose not to follow that path, not to choose a mortgage with fixed-interest repayments, not to choose a big TV, not to choose what hobbies I had at the weekend, and not to choose which channel I watched until one day in my retirement, I could go out and live in the world with my cruises and pre-packaged holiday tours.

For several years, I have moved every few months. I have not had a home base and when someone asks me where I live, I say right here in this moment. I prefer to say that I am homeless, but one has to ‘respect’ one’s audience. It disturbs many people to use the H word. People have negative connotations associated with this word and to use it in open conversation is taboo. The word actually means not having a fixed abode. I have no fixed abode. At times, I simply live where I lay my head at night. As for contributing, I work when I need to and I pay taxes wherever I am.

But how can I expect people to respect me?

I don’t. As a kid, I was terrified of everything, most of all people. It became so bad that rather than doing or saying anything that might seem out of place, I chose not to do or say anything at all so that people wouldn’t ridicule me. Life was somewhat frustrating. Now I simply do what I wish. I do not expect you to respect me. Do not expect me to respect you for following orders and adhering to rules. Whatever it is in life that you can have an opinion about, know this; your perspective is relative. If you stand in the other person’s flip-flops, you would see things differently. I am a vegetarian and I have been since I was seven years old by my own choice. I think vegetarianism is a correct choice in life and I think more of people who adhere to it. However, I can see why you might choose to eat meat and I would not be so bold as to force my opinion upon you or to imply that you are a lesser person for eating meat. We live and we must let live. I respect your opinion. Respect mine.

Your real life with your real job is not worse than my unreal life with my lack of a real job. Nor is it better. It is different. You choose a path to walk and you follow it. I do not choose a path to follow and I am walking all over the field. I’m crushing the daisies but I’m mixing with the field mice. Your path does not have to be predefined. You can choose to do whatever it is that you want to do. You simply have to be a little bit brave. To jump.

Sometimes our best laid plans don’t work out. Nor do our hopes and dreams. See this not as failure, but as an opportunity to learn. The human mind is incredibly adaptable. Think of all the setbacks that we suffer in life and then wonder with amazement at how we manage to drag ourselves out of sleep each morning and have the will to carry on. It’s because our minds engulf the world around us and shape us to fit our environment.

It’s OK to fail. It isn’t the end of the world.

Things in my life have gone wrong. Innumerably more have gone right. I don’t need scales to check this. I can simply accept it, and carry on. Why don’t I get a real job? I choose not to.

I choose not to choose and to wander through the field and to see wherever it is that life takes me. At times, I will stay in one place, I will work, I will do all the things that you request of me. It might just not be clear until after I have done them.

Where am I going? Forwards. To play with the field mice.

This post forms part of the ongoing series: Why Don’t You Get a Real Job?

By | 2014-01-09T05:05:08+00:00 January 24th, 2013|Thoughts and Inspiration|10 Comments


  1. nick gerrard 14/02/2013 at 09:21 - Reply

    Good points; agree completely. Also, in these days of economic crisis, it’s not easy to get a ‘real’ job, settle down, do the ‘right’ thing. A Uni degree means nothing anymore; look at Spain and the UK, millions of young people without the chance to work. They did the right thing, studied and stayed at home and now are told, ‘sorry, no jobs for you here!’

    • Jamie 14/02/2013 at 15:59 - Reply

      Very true Nick. I see a lot of university friends struggling through life and it seems sad to see people constantly battling. I hope that some of them can get the guts to step out of their lives and start chasing down their dreams.

  2. Paula Londe 09/02/2013 at 18:13 - Reply

    “Nomadic degenerate.” – i think we should get buttons or patches and all start wearing them. As with cultural and ethnic slurs, taking the word into your own vernacular depowers it.

    • jamie 10/02/2013 at 10:57 - Reply

      What a wonderful idea. I think I want mine to say, “Homeless and Unemployed,” with a great big smiley face!

  3. Alyson 05/02/2013 at 08:21 - Reply

    Love it! I’m so out of place, I don’t fit in at all and I feel so much better since I stopped trying. It’s soul destroying. Great post, I never, ever, wanted a real job, but somehow it was forced upon me. Now I’m Freeeee!

    • jamie 05/02/2013 at 10:18 - Reply

      Glad to hear that Alyson. Keep living and loving the adventure.

  4. gabi 05/02/2013 at 08:20 - Reply

    And now I’ve read it again, just to be reinspired before I write my guest post to you, and I watched the video of Photosynthesis. What a great song to go with your thoughts, which you so eloquently put in ” I respect your opinion. Respect mine.” Sounds Utopic. I’m going to write for you now. Thank you for creating this sacred space. For, it is. Gabi

    • jamie 05/02/2013 at 10:24 - Reply

      I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. However, I just had to look up what a dangling modifier is. As for ‘respect,’ I feel that it goes rather well with the video that you shared with me. We should all be allowed to live the life that we choose and not have others tell us how to live. I am not religious at all, but there is one idea that I particularly like from the bible; Live and let live.

  5. gabi 28/01/2013 at 18:38 - Reply

    omg i’ve fallen in love and gotten terribly confused. did you write this post or did i? the only real evidence that it’s you and not me is that you don’t have dangling modifiers, i do. you will love this post friend, it is sooooooo up your alley. but i warn you, you may think you wrote it, but you didn’t, i did, because you will see the dangling stuff.


  6. The Guy 25/01/2013 at 15:25 - Reply

    Such a fabulous and well argued point. We are some of the fortunate ones in life who are blessed with choices. You have a choice and made it. You do not take from others but work and give back.

    Long may it continue.

Leave A Comment