Monthly Archives: October 2012

Can I work for “the man” and still be a semi-minimalist?


In every other blog about simplicity or minimalism I read, the blogger has either already achieved his or her goal of quitting his or her job; or aspires to.  For the last couple of years, (for as long as I’ve been reading minimalism blogs,) I’ve searched for my own wish to leave my job … what is that special thing that I’m supposed to be pursuing that will inspire me to want to do that full-time instead of what I already get paid to do?  I’ve read at least a dozen “finding my passion” types of books including some by Cheryl Richardson, Debbie Ford and Martha Beck  and it wasn’t until I read “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath that I started to realize that the reason I wasn’t finding some new “thing” to run to is that the “thing” I already have meets 7 out of 10 on my ideal work wish list (the book includes some combinations of skills plus Meyers-Briggs personality traits to summarize your ideal work/environment).

I then discovered Danielle LaPorte’s new book “The Fire Starter Sessions” and finally read someone who agrees that it’s possible to be passionate about the work you do, even if it’s for a big company.  (Not that she works for a big company … but it’s possible …)

So I’ve embraced (for now) the idea of staying where I am … a BIG manufacturing and distribution company where I will be celebrating my 18th anniversary tomorrow.  My work is challenging and rewarding; my management is supportive and encouraging and genuine; the people who work for me have opportunities to learn and grow and try new things; and I have a position that lets me help people both at work and at home.  And the really semi-minimalist part is that I don’t have to spend my brain power thinking about daily issues like income, medical insurance, and vacation pay.

Maybe someday I’ll be inspired by something that I love doing even more than what I do now and then I’ll think about moving on, but for now, I’ll simply stay put.

What do you think?  Do you dream of self-employment or have you found a niche working for “the man?”

Time of rebirth

Cheryl Richardson — one of my favorite authors — recently posted an article called “Birthing the New: Make space for what’s next” and it was life-altering for me.  When given the choice, I have moved every two years for as long as I can remember.  This means that in my adult life, I’ve lived in over a dozen different homes and my teenage girls were already at six plus before starting high school.  The economic slump has forced me to stay put and I’ve struggled for three years now with the feeling of being “trapped” by my surroundings.

I’ve gotten through these times by re-arranging rooms and furniture and painting and ripping up carpets, but Cheryl’s article really hit the nail on the head.  It’s not about moving things around, it’s about making physical and energetic space.  It’s not about organizing or re-organizing, it’s about clearing the clutter.

Understanding that it’s not where I am, but what I have that’s the root of the trapped feeling is more freeing than I can explain.

Fall — after a break

Franklin in the Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year and always a time of renewal for me.  It might have to do with going back to school, but now that we live in the South it’s the most welcome break from the heat and it includes the most beautiful fall foliage.

I haven’t had a lot to say for many months.  Summers are overwhelming trying to entertain and shuttle my girls while continuing to work full time.  (Oh, to have year-round school!)  School starts and life is anything but simple … so much accumulation of stuff … paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, calculators … and the start of marching band season.

I’m pleased that we’ve reduced our consumption over the years.  We’ve forgone the “back-to-school” outfits (I used to think that the first day of school would be less fun if we weren’t wearing fabulous new outfits down to the shoes!), but we needed new backpacks again this year and now both girls are in need of new athletic shoes.  Again, I’m pleased with the reduced consumption … both girls have literally worn out their shoes with actual use … something I’ve not done myself in my adult life.

I’ve long avoided commercial television, but this year I also cancelled all the magazine subscriptions and I notice less “need” for new stuff.  The girls have also outgrown my ability or desire to pick up things for them while I’m out … if there’s anything they need, they have to come with me and their time for shopping is scarce.

New for me this fall is budgeting — real budgeting — the kind where you set aside money in envelopes (electronic envelopes in the 21st century) and actually determine how much is enough.