Name your price

The only stupid questions are those unasked!
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dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Name your price

Post by dorajar » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:04 am

"They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price." --Khalil Gibran

"You've got to own what you do, rather than work and let somebody else make the profit off of it. And you've got to fight in this culture to hang on to your own soul, to hang on to your own creativity. Once I got into this folk music world and understood what I could do and that it belonged to me, I looked back on my years of employment with absolute horror. It was bondage, wage slavery. Sure, if somebody else is making the rules every day, it's a little bit easier, and you can turn your mind off. But none of my parts -- my intellect, my curiosity -- was being served by that experience. When I got out in the world as a free man, I found that all of my parts were being used." --Utah Phillips

"That's when [Fry Pan Jack] told me - you know, he'd been tramping since 1927 -
he said, "I told myself in '27, if I cannot dictate the conditions of my labor,
I will henceforth cease to work." Hah! You don't have to go to college to
figure these things out, no sir! He said, "I learned when I was young that the
only true life I had was the life of my brain. But if it's true the only real
life I have is the life of my brain, what sense does it make to hand that brain
to somebody for eight hours a day for their particular use on the presumption
that at the end of the day they will give it back in an unmutilated condition?"
Fat chance!" --Utah Phillips

"I signed up with a temp agency, and much to my dismay they actually found me a job. It had been a couple of years since I'd worked in an office, so I thought I should prepare for it. I went to the YMCA with a friend and had him tie me up in a burlap sack and sink me to the the bottom of the pool. Just as I was about to suffocate, he yanked me up and gave me a lunch break." --Martha Kelly

How do you feel about work? What do you do? What would you like to do? How are you going to make it happen?

thrice
Posts: 14147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:28 am

Post by thrice » Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:49 am

Hopefully not digressing too much from your subject, but I think that an overly specialized and regulated society has done much to make us all "wage slaves".

By law, you cannot peddle so much as a pencil on the streets of Minneapolis (or most cities) without a permit or license. Clearly the days are long gone when you could find some patch of unoccupied ground, clear it, and plant your own food, or sling your musket or bow over your shoulder and capture your own protein. You cannot chop wood from a forest and sell it to people in the city for fuel and heat. You cannot dig gold from the ground, or pan it from most streams. So what does that leave you? You can either work for someone else, or compose some creative thing in your brain and either perform it, or convince someone to publish it in some manner for others to consume.

People may have skills, but are forbidden to use them. It's illegal to fix other people's cars in your garage in Minneapolis. Now granted, nobody wants a junkyard next door to them. And it is true that some crooked folks would use a home based garage service to strip stolen cars, or install stolen components (and they do). But there was a certain disorderly charm to the days when you knew a guy who could do this, or a woman who knew how to do that, and people knew and trusted them, and they were able to raise a little income on the side by performing the skills that they had personally acquired without needing the permission of some little beaurocrat to do so, or requiring cash, insurance, and zoning variances to operate a small and harmless home enterprise. With the proper references, I use individual service people every chance I get, and usually get good service and a price that beats the big time pros hands down.

It's something to consider. I noticed this when I was in New York years ago, and people simply put blankets on the ground with items for sale, and no one apparently bothered them. I see this at flea markets and farmer's markets, where people have trash and trinkets for sale, or produce that they grow on rented ground (a very popular occupation of our Hmong immigrants, who apparently refuse to abandon their self sufficient entrepeneurial ways). I felt it myself last week when I doubled my money on the sale of some merchandise that a retailer was liquidating, and was fortunate enough to find a buyer who specialized in that sort of thing. I have known people who have made a very respectable income cleaning up and selling things that they picked up on the curb on trash day, when others had discarded them.

Guess my overall point is that we have progressed far beyond the days of pure self sufficiency, but have gone too far in regulating people's own urges to support themselves to the point where too many simply throw up their hands and quit when they reach obstacles in our currently acceptable formula for success.
Last edited by thrice on Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

thrice
Posts: 14147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:28 am

Temps

Post by thrice » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:04 am

My daughter is working her first day for a temp service today. After a fruitless job search, I encouraged her to do so.

She had been very picky in her search, determined not to take any position that didn't interest her or didn't fall into a narrow band of categories.

There is a certain benefit to finding yourself in a position where you are just going to land wherever you land, and will have to make the best of a situation you have no control over. You tend to have unique experiences, meet interesting people (on a number of levels), and, if nothing else, get a damn good idea of what you DON'T want to do for a living, and the motivation to do the necessary prep work to ensure that you can do something that you DO want to.

dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by dorajar » Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:10 am

Huh. I haven't encountered that at all in my young life. Not saying you're wrong, just that I haven't seen it. To me it seems that the massive deregulation movement that started with Reagan and continued with Bushes 1 and 2 has done more to damage the average American (and their mortgages and stock holdings) than regulation has hindered them.

I'd like to be a fully self-supporting freelance web writer and actor. The only thing keeping me tied to my full-time job right now are the benefits (health insurance, 401K, etc.) and the free classes. I'm a sucker for learning, and having free access to any class the U offers (that I'm qualified to take) is such an amazing perk. I'm on year 2 of studying Arabic and after year 3, I hope to be fluent enough to do some traveling in the Middle East and write about it, possibly a one-woman show that I can perform and self-produce.

thrice
Posts: 14147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:28 am

Post by thrice » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:05 pm

dorajar wrote:Huh. I haven't encountered that at all in my young life. Not saying you're wrong, just that I haven't seen it. To me it seems that the massive deregulation movement that started with Reagan and continued with Bushes 1 and 2 has done more to damage the average American (and their mortgages and stock holdings) than regulation has hindered them.
I'm not fluent enough in high level economics to address the issues you raise. What I do see is a major move in the other direction, to hyper regulation, on the local and individual level. Did you know that it's illegal to put a "For Sale" sign in the window of your own car in Minneapolis? As I noted, I do see some rationale for controlling commerce so that neighborhoods and business districts are not awash in peddlers and people hawking stolen property. But I can't help but think that the people who don't want you taking in people's clothing for alterations in your parlor are the same ones who don't want you to have a basketball hoop in your driveway, because they think it's tacky.

dorajar
Posts: 3870
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:35 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by dorajar » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:25 pm

thrice wrote:
dorajar wrote: But I can't help but think that the people who don't want you taking in people's clothing for alterations in your parlor are the same ones who don't want you to have a basketball hoop in your driveway, because they think it's tacky.
Actually, I'd assume that it's the corporations lobbying for that particular restriction (if it actually exists...does it?), because they'd rather sell you more crappy new clothes that will rip in a month than have you fix the ones you bought last year...

thrice
Posts: 14147
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:28 am

Post by thrice » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:08 pm

Most of the laws regulating home businesses are local ordinances. While there are no doubt some restrictions that are orchestrated by commercial businesses seeking to eliminate competition, the vast majority of the ones I refer to are passed on the local level and would be well beneath the interest of major companies. Those kinds of city ordinances are generally the result of neighborhood busybodies pestering their local council member until they pass an ordinance just to shut them up. To see the difference, go to a small town or unincorporated rural area and you'll notice plenty of people with little signs advertising some small business they run from their homes. You won't see those in a city, because they're generally illegal to operate or advertise from a home.

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