How to Make a Living Without a Job


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When my husband and I deserted our cushy life and city jobs five years ago to stitch together a living on our dream homestead in the sticks, we didn’t know there was a term for such outrageous behavior. Ah, but, there is.

Coined in 1996 by fellow ship-jumper and author Michael Fogler, “un-jobbing” is exactly what we are doing here in the Ozarks. Like Fogler, we freed ourselves from a life of merely making a living. Instead of being rattled from sleep by a screaming alarm clock (a totally unnatural way to awaken) to trudge to a corporate establishment, we rise with the sun. No longer exhausted from grueling days consumed indoors, my husband can devote boundless energy to designing and building all we need here, especially his favorite – human-powered devices for the self-reliant.

And I can grow food, sew, draw, write, delight in nature and volunteer at the local food producers’ co-op. Although not impossible, it was less fun to do such things when depleted from work, worry and driving. As crazy as it sounds, I found I had more money by not working. Having a job means buying clothes, gas and food, among other nonsense, away from home. Incidentally, the higher one’s income, the more damage done to the environment.

In his gutsy, concise book (only 106 pages), Un-Jobbing: The Adult Liberation Handbook, Fogler explains how he pulled all the areas of his life into alignment with his personal values, living more simply and consciously. In a light-hearted style, he chronicles his journey in search of the ultimate fantasy job, a high-paying, full-time career “with benefits package and security.” Fogler’s frustrating pursuit led him in an entirely different direction – home, where his heart is, enjoying a non-job-dominated life.



TaoBear
4/14/2021 7:21:31 AM

I hope everyone reading this has either caught up on the basic necessity of staying "connected" in the modern world, it will help keep you spry in the long run. Never give up and accept the bubble around you, keep your mind active and learning at all times. Side note, I recently bought the book used and am attempting to apply it to my life, at 45 (2/2021) I am trying this path out myself, wish me luck! I am not in an area as remote as the ozarks but I am fairly rural - something my CT misses is loving the adjustment to. I was moved to VT at the age of 10, I am still grasping all the things needed to live as self supportive as possible and the current political climate is attempting to keep rampant capitalism alive and mutation-speed growing. My previous employments sent me back to MA several times, I absolutely couldn't live there again. So I ask the world that happens along this post - when do we realize there's only so much space and cities are an inherent curse - we must spread the word that population, living space and supplies aren't keeping pace!! Why do you think the big companies even exist? They MUST provide for us. It's time to stop this path, turn it around or we're eventually going to be living like in "the 5th element". We romaticise, but we just don't do it. Why do we accept this as proper? We are not taught to put faith in our own hands first, and that has crept throughout or society. Spread the idea, remove the blinders, please. The ideals of the cities are going to spread even worse with a covid event and people moving to more rural areas then start applying their ideals of what comfort entails. I see the effects every day here, the idea is to live outside your comfort zone folks. Remember this and you will find less friction in your relocation.


Papa GoodLife
12/19/2017 9:06:17 AM

For everyone asking how to do this kind of life, I suggest two books: How to Survive Without a Salary (icr the author), and Mortgage Free, by Rob Roy. I also would like to suggest to you my economic fuel theory. Every fire needs oxygen, heat, and fuel. The oxygen and heat can be provided through the work of the individual, and the fuel can be provided by societal (or natural) excess. Look around at things just laying there. Is there a way they can be refurbished, customized, or repurposed, and be resold? We produce so much waste in this world and we need more recyclers. The vast majority of things in our modern lives can be procured in this way, whether the end result is personal use or sale. Don’t overlook savings given by not working a “real” job. Quitting my contracting partnership of 4 years allowed me to save about $200 a month in gas, $200 a month in food, extra costs of having another vehicle, and cell phone (we now only need one). We sell things we’ve accumulated over the years which don’t really add anything to our lives except clutter, confusion, and the odd form of depression found when possessions don’t fill the hole we thought they would. We also do this with cast offs from others. We live in the immediate (read that as “original,” i.e. old house on a regular city lot) suburbs of a decent sized city in East Tennessee. We will put in a garden next year, but currently supplement our food with free produce being pulled from the local Trader Joe’s. It must be consumed quickly before it spoils, but this also allows us to make extra to sell or give away. We support our family of six kids this way. We have cable internet, which is provided very inexpensively to households with children in title one schools (our kids public schools are actually quite good, and we still school at home as well), but no tv stations. We seldom eat out (the South is not known for vegan/vegetarian food), and a night on the town for my wife and me happens once or twice a month, costing about $20. Find new ways to do things. No AC, and the summer is hot? Is there a discount movie theater? Does grocery shopping need to be done? Can you volunteer at an organization with AC? This can provide a temporary respite from the heat. Is your house cold in the winter? Perhaps part of the house can be closed off with blankets to retain heat in te one room used most often. Make it like a sleepover in a fort or tent inside your house (the kids will love it!). Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn the art of bread making, candle making, etc. All of these things that can be done while producing excess heat (and either enjoyed by the family or sold) are “free” ways to add heat. Remember that nothing is truly free, and nobody is purely self sufficient. There are so many people commenting on this, completely missing the point of the phrase. Self sufficient doesn’t mean nobody else is ever involved, it means one is not beholden to another for support. The thought of life being done on ones own, however, is ridiculous. Nobody has all the answers, least of all me, but the answers are out there—or rather, “in there.” We hold all the answers we seek, it is just a matter of finding them. If this is your dream, don’t listen to doubters from other bodies, and especially within. Find a dream, and give it life. We have started a YouTube channel called Project GoodLife (search the name and “travel Peru”) for our family, and maybe some good information (or at least inspiration) can be found there. Never give up chasing your dreams, whatever they are. We are our only real limit switches. Blessings, and happy day to all. ~Papa GoodLife


Papa GoodLife
12/19/2017 9:06:16 AM

For everyone asking how to do this kind of life, I suggest two books: How to Survive Without a Salary (icr the author), and Mortgage Free, by Rob Roy. I also would like to suggest to you my economic fuel theory. Every fire needs oxygen, heat, and fuel. The oxygen and heat can be provided through the work of the individual, and the fuel can be provided by societal (or natural) excess. Look around at things just laying there. Is there a way they can be refurbished, customized, or repurposed, and be resold? We produce so much waste in this world and we need more recyclers. The vast majority of things in our modern lives can be procured in this way, whether the end result is personal use or sale. Don’t overlook savings given by not working a “real” job. Quitting my contracting partnership of 4 years allowed me to save about $200 a month in gas, $200 a month in food, extra costs of having another vehicle, and cell phone (we now only need one). We sell things we’ve accumulated over the years which don’t really add anything to our lives except clutter, confusion, and the odd form of depression found when possessions don’t fill the hole we thought they would. We also do this with cast offs from others. We live in the immediate (read that as “original,” i.e. old house on a regular city lot) suburbs of a decent sized city in East Tennessee. We will put in a garden next year, but currently supplement our food with free produce being pulled from the local Trader Joe’s. It must be consumed quickly before it spoils, but this also allows us to make extra to sell or give away. We support our family of six kids this way. We have cable internet, which is provided very inexpensively to households with children in title one schools (our kids public schools are actually quite good, and we still school at home as well), but no tv stations. We seldom eat out (the South is not known for vegan/vegetarian food), and a night on the town for my wife and me happens once or twice a month, costing about $20. Find new ways to do things. No AC, and the summer is hot? Is there a discount movie theater? Does grocery shopping need to be done? Can you volunteer at an organization with AC? This can provide a temporary respite from the heat. Is your house cold in the winter? Perhaps part of the house can be closed off with blankets to retain heat in te one room used most often. Make it like a sleepover in a fort or tent inside your house (the kids will love it!). Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn the art of bread making, candle making, etc. All of these things that can be done while producing excess heat (and either enjoyed by the family or sold) are “free” ways to add heat. Remember that nothing is truly free, and nobody is purely self sufficient. There are so many people commenting on this, completely missing the point of the phrase. Self sufficient doesn’t mean nobody else is ever involved, it means one is not beholden to another for support. The thought of life being done on ones own, however, is ridiculous. Nobody has all the answers, least of all me, but the answers are out there—or rather, “in there.” We hold all the answers we seek, it is just a matter of finding them. If this is your dream, don’t listen to doubters from other bodies, and especially within. Find a dream, and give it life. We have started a YouTube channel called Project GoodLife (search the name and “travel Peru”) for our family, and maybe some good information (or at least inspiration) can be found there. Never give up chasing your dreams, whatever they are. We are our only real limit switches. Blessings, and happy day to all. ~Papa GoodLife






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