An experiment in personal development


with 2 comments

Last week, I came across this article on about the places in the world with highest average pay. Not surprisingly, the top 10 cities were in Europe: places such as Zurich, Geneva, Dublin, Oslo and Munich, among others, where the average net pay is somewhere in the $18-$22/hr range.

But, that’s not what got me. What got me was the average number of paid vacation days per year: 21 in Ireland, 23 in Switzerland, 25 in Austria and 29 in Germany. That’s not including holidays, sick days and whatnot. Compared to that, United States is a bloody forced labor camp with its average of 9 paid vacation days per year for most jobs where people have worked for less than 10 years. Now, these statistics are not exactly something I haven’t heard before, but this list put it all into perspective and reinforced my views about the work ethic in this country. It’s bloody inhumane. I realize that Europe is no paradise and has its own share of problems, both economic and social. But still…

There is so much to do in this life, so many wonderful things to experience and to learn. Life is short and time is of the essence. Adulthood lasts only a few decades, before it starts to turn into old age and life begins to fade away. It’s such a shame that most of us spend at least two-thirds of our lives working at boring, mind-numbing or stressful jobs, just so we can pay the bills and buy things that distract us from the fact that we’re all slaves to this system. Is this really what life is about? Working your ass off for some company that doesn’t give a shit about you as an individual, its only motivation being in making profit? Unfortunately, with the exception of the wealthy, privileged, or the lucky few who actually have jobs that they truly enjoy, that seems to be the case.

Well, I say screw that. We all have choices, even if they are not always obvious or easy to see. That’s what’s great about this country — there are infinite possibilities and unlimited potential to grow, but only if you’re smart, persistent and are willing to work hard and choose to pursue your goals despite your fears. The most difficult aspect of it all is fear — fear of the unknown and fear of failure. It’s what keeps most of us encaged, chained and bound. I have that fear too, I’m only human. But recently, I made a choice to let go of it and free myself, because I have an ever bigger and more terrifying fear — fear of living my life without attempting to do something worthwhile with it; fear of being an expendable cog in the machine, working for someone else’s profit and not being able to control my own schedule and personal time to grow and experience the world. Fear of turning 60 and realizing that I have wasted the last 30 years of my life on jobs that meant nothing to me and made no contribution to my spiritual, intellectual and psychological well-being, other than providing the financial means to survive and live my life the way I want to for two or three measly weeks out of a year.

Realistically, I have no delusions. It is very likely that I will fail on my quest to become independent and self-sufficient, instead becoming hopelessly broke and having to start from scratch. I may have to fall back into the rigid system of grinding through the soulless corporate machine. In that case, I’ll be crushed, but at least I will know that I gave it my best shot and did what I could. And I will be okay with that.

Until then, I think it’s time to start living my own life instead of spending most of it making money for someone else. This year will be the year of transition, and I deeply hope that all the pieces will eventually fall into place.

And I’d like to live in Europe. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon…


Written by vadimonkey

September 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

Posted in Life

2 Responses

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  1. Best of luck Vadim! It should be life changing to say the least, and hopefully for the better 🙂

    Khanh Nguyen

    September 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

  2. “It is very likely that I will fail on my quest to become independent and self-sufficient, instead becoming hopelessly broke and having to start from scratch.”

    Dude. Don’t shoot yourself down before you even start. If you believe you can do what you want to do, it will happen. Give yourself some credit. You kick ass. Look forward, not down.


    September 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

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